by Taylor Bryant

October continues to be a winning month for the University of West Georgia. In addition to receiving USG Institution and President of the Year and being ranked No.1 in Division II football, UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero accepted the Leadership Development and Diversity Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities at the AASCU annual conference in Austin, Texas on Saturday, October 25. The award was given in recognition of efforts made possible through Engage West!

Dr. Kyle MarreroAASCU’s Excellence and Innovation Award program honors member institutions for excellence and innovation in several major areas of campus life and leadership that are mission focused.

“At UWG we have a bold vision, a new strategic plan, and dedicated faculty and staff,” said UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero. “The Engage West! initiative, through its comprehensive suite of programs, works to equip, develop, and support these dedicated faculty and staff to create a culture of high performance and evidence-based leadership. It transforms culture and focuses individual efforts to accomplish the goals of the institution and, in doing so, creates an engaged environment. We are thrilled at the national acknowledgement by AASCU. People are now watching to see what transformational effects this initiative will have on our institution and, ultimately, on student success.”

Engage West! is a series of programs designed to facilitate cross-divisional and departmental communication, leadership development and training, strong employee relationships, and maximum operational effectiveness – all with the goal of increasing student success and creating a best place to work, learn, and succeed. As a part of the initiative, the university holds Leadership Development Institutes, a one-to-two day retreat held every 90 days, to engage and train more than 200 university leaders, managers and supervisors. Engage West! also encompasses a presidential committee on campus inclusion, a university-wide award and recognition program, and an annual employee engagement survey.

“State colleges and universities have remained committed to their missions of student access and success, and regional and economic progress, and continue their dedication to advancing the quality and distinction of their institutions during the most challenging of times,” said AASCU President Muriel A. Howard. “We believe the innovative and collaborative approaches for which these universities are being honored will inspire not only their AASCU colleagues, but all of higher education.”

Criteria for the winning entries in the awards competition required evidence of top-level administrative support, connection with an institution’s mission and strategic agenda, evidence the initiative contributed to significant institutional improvements or programming, and evidence the initiative was grounded in research and incorporated best practices.

Other winners include:

  • Student Success and College Completion Awards: Cleveland State University (Ohio) and Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, Ky.).
  • Regional and Economic Development Awards: Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Washington State University Vancouver.
  • Leadership Development and Diversity Award: California State University, Long Beach and the University of West Georgia (Carrollton, Ga.).
  • International Education Awards: California State University, Fresno and Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville, Mo.).

AASCU is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a culture centered on learning and teaching, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.

Posted on October 28, 2015