Summer Quarter 2009
I am nominating: Norma Leon
Years of Service at Cal Poly: 12
Department: Student Support and Equity Programs (SSEP)
Position: Coordinator of Undeclared Services and Academic Advisor
Why are you nominating this person? Why do you think he/she deserves the award?:
I think Norma Leon richly deserves to be recognized as our STAR because she is a STAR every day. She exemplifies the very core values and themes of the Student Affairs division. She has 12 years of professional experience in the Division and I was amazed to find that she has never been a recipient of the STAR award. She began her Cal Poly Pomona career as a student, worked on campus while enrolled as a student and has not left. Cal Poly has made a significant impact on her and she has stayed on as a professional staff member for the past 12 years. Norma does not approach her role as work, but rather she takes her role as a mission, to guide and to assist all students to not only succeed in college, but in life.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies, with specific examples, a Student-Centered Philosophy: Norma provides an environment, which is her office, a place that is conducive to students feeling comfortable and she puts them at ease. She is a good listener, along with her open communication and friendly approach, she allows students to open themselves up to her. Norma works with students from the stand point that each student is an individual and that they are at different development stages; she takes a holistic approach in working with students.
However, this is not to say that she allows students to just ‘settle’ and be comfortable, she challenges, with appropriate guidance and support. She motivates her students to empower themselves to take risks so that they perform at their full potential.
This person is also an advocate and an ally for her students, especially for the undeclared students, the often times ‘forgotten’ and misunderstood population. Norma serves on a number of committees on campus such as the Academic Senate, the Enrollment Management & Advisory Council (EMAC), and others to provide exposure and to educate others about the needs and issues of the undeclared students.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies, with specific examples, Integrity:
For those students who may not know Norma well, they may take her sense of honesty as being a "tough" person, but she does not "sugar coat” things; her honesty and constructive feedback is a way that she gives students a ‘reality check’, which we all need at one time or another. Her honesty and integrity helps guide students to put things into perspective so that they can learn to grow and develop.
As a staff member, she is usually the first person to share her honest opinions, and often times insights that others may not have thought about or afraid to say. Her openness and honesty in her thoughts and ideas have helped to push all of us in the department to ‘think outside the box” on many occasions.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies, with specific examples, Interconnectedness:
Interconnectedness is clearly demonstrated in her teamwork attitude not only among the staff members in SSEP, but campus wide. As mentioned before, Norma is currently on the Academic Senate, which she represents the staff perspective. Additionally, she also serves in a number of other roles such as the President of Latino Faculty, Staff, and Student Association (LFSSA), the Enrollment Management Advisory Council (EMAC), the University Advising Task Force, and the Orientation Advisory Council.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies, with specific examples, Passion:
When it comes to passion, this person exudes through her interaction with students. This individual is a very caring and compassionate person. She displays eagerness and excitement and is open to trying out new ideas. She is a passionate individual who is driven to guide students with much dedication and devotion to ensure that students succeed.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies, with specific examples, Quality:
When it comes to quality, this individual can be described as our "quality assurance" person, especially when it comes to creating or editing forms and or handouts. As a communications major, she has a flare for creating something amazing from practically nothing. And when she puts something together, she does it with much care. She is also open to sharing her ideas with others on how things could be improved to help ensure that we are all doing our very best quality work.
Please share how your nominee exemplifies, with specific examples, Richness of Diversity:
Norma’s demonstrated commitment to diversity is exemplified through various involvements as an E-board member with LFSSA where she’s had to collaborate with other affinity groups on organizing and putting on the annual Unity Luncheon.
She believes that differences in people and the diverse views we have should be recognized and others should be allowed to share their thoughts, whether we agree with it or not. She is often an advocate for those whose views or preferences are not often considered ‘popular’ or ‘mainstream’.
In what ways does this person enhance or contribute to the Cal Poly Pomona campus community?:This person has been a seasoned professional and is committed to her mission in serving students at Cal Poly Pomona. Her involvement in the various campus committees and in the Academic Senate is to assure that she voices concerns of staff and works towards the best interest of our students. This recognition is the least we can do to acknowledge her many years of dedicated work and passion for her role as an Academic Advisor.