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Monday, April 1, 2013


Mayes gets a congratulatory hug from Worth Pickering following the AUA Award announcement. Photo by Chuck Thomas
Lisa Mayes Honored as Administrator of the Year

In keeping with her leadership style, Lisa Mayes wasn't entirely comfortable being the focus of attention the afternoon of March 27 when the surprise announcement was made that she had been chosen as recipient of the 2013 J. Worth Pickering Administrator of the Year award.

Her selection for the honor came as no surprise, however, to those who work for and with her, a number of whom wrote letters supporting her nomination.

Mayes, who joined the Old Dominion staff in 1989 as an office services specialist in the development office and holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from the university, currently serves as assistant dean for planning and administration for the Office of Academic Enhancement, home to undergraduate students, especially first-year and transfer students. Academic Enhancement coordinates the academic services designed to ensure student success and enhance undergraduate retention.

After working as a classified employee in the Office of Institutional Research and Planning from 1991 to 2004, Mayes joined the faculty administrator ranks in 2005 as director of continuance and instruction. She joined University College in 2007.

Those who wrote in support of Mayes' nomination for the Administrator of the Year Award praised her for a number of roles she has played in recent years - everything from her role as the Academic Affairs representative for the planning, construction and opening of the Student Success Center, to her leadership in the development of the Peer Educator Program, to her membership on numerous committees throughout the university.

A number of themes were repeated across the letters of nomination, chiefly her administrative style of leading by example and her advocacy for students.

"Ms. Mayes' dedication to students and their success comes across in every project or task she takes on," said Tisha Paredes, director of assessment. "She can often be heard in meetings asking, 'How will this impact our students?'"

Paredes further noted that in her role as assistant dean, Mayes has served on many committees and been involved with multiple projects at ODU, including: Foundations of Excellence, SACSCOC Reaffirmation, Quality Enhancement Plan, WEAVE Assessment Reports, Strategic Planning, Enrollment Management, and Student Success.

"She works effectively with colleagues across campus to promote the services of the Student Success Center and is respected by many for her ideas and knowledge of student success," said Sandra Waters, assistant dean for Advising and Transfer Programs.

Brian Kurisky, who also works with Mayes in his position as director of Advising and Academic Support Services in the Honors College, spoke about her leadership. "Lisa is not an administrator who seeks out praise for her work, as that is not her nature. She is a leader who is quiet and leads by example. She can often be found working late in the evening attempting to find additional resources for our students."

Kurisky added: "She reaches across the invisible silos to bring all voices to the table so that we can help our students succeed."

In addition to the support expressed by her colleagues, Mayes was lauded as a deserving candidate for the AUA award by employees she supervises, as evidenced in the comments below:

"Lisa creates a positive, supporting working environment which inspires those around her to work harder and reach higher. She is successful in her own right, yet immensely more successful through her investments in others. Lisa's contributions to Old Dominion University and those who work here make her a more than deserving candidate for this award."

- Lanah Stafford, administrative resource analyst, Academic Enhancement

"It is so powerfully apparent that she gives so much to help keep this division afloat. Her individual and collective contributions to improving the quality of our students' and her colleagues' lives, have on many occasions made the difference between success or failure, leaving or staying, or having someone to turn to during rough times. She is always there to let her staff know that they do not have to face their journey alone - whether it is personal or professional."

- Jacqueline Hines, director, Student Support Services

"Mrs. Mayes has been my boss for four years; I probably would not be in school still if not for her. My freshman year, I was put on academic probation for my GPA dropping under a 2.0 and Mrs. Mayes was my professor for the University 110 class. During this class, she gave all of the students probably the best knowledge and advice on how to get back on track. … I truly view Mrs. Mayes as my school mother. She always makes herself available whenever I need to talk or get advice, even if just for a little bit. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty of being an instructor, a mentor and a great advocate."

- Ryan Willard, Academic Enhancement

The AUA's Administrator of the Year award is named in honor of J. Worth Pickering, the association's first president and one of its founding members, who holds the title of assistant vice president for institutional research and assessment.

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