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group photo with staff members from UT at SACSA

Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) Award Winners

The Division of Student Life is proud to announce several members of the Volunteer family received honors and awards during the annual Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA) conference earlier this month.

Dorian L. McCoy, an associate professor of higher education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, was awarded the Ted K. Miller Award for Excellence in Assessing Student Learning and Development.

“It’s a fairly prestigious award so I am truly humbled to be a recipient,” said McCoy.

image of orange and white cake

photo courtesy of Abigail Brumfield, Office of the Dean of Students

He joins an immensely impressive group of predecessors, such as Laura Dean and Ralph Johnson, who are highly successful in the student affairs profession.  McCoy continues on to say “To be in their company is truly humbling and I recognize that it is a significant recognition and I am just humbled.”

McCoy explains that UT historically has had a large footprint in SACSA, with more than 35 faculty, students, and practitioner-educators attending this year’s conference. Over the years, UT has continuously been a leader in the association.

Tanisha Jenkins, director of Multicultural Student Life, presided over this year’s conference as SACSA president, a position that several UT associates have achieved over the last years. Past presidents include former Dean of Students Melissa Shivers, former University Housing staff member Matt Varga, and Knoxville Ph.D graduate Ellen Neufeldft.

Luke Sciulli and Madison Merrifield, graduate assistants in University Housing, finished first in the case study competition with a focus on creating the best environment for a student identifying as transgender on a small liberal arts campus.

“Winning the case was confirmation that UT is preparing us well to help students,” said Sciulli. He said this also confirmed that student affairs professionals need to find ways to help LGBT students no matter their role on campus. Fellow UT students

Graduate Assistants holding certificates at SACSA

photo courtesy of Aaron Dixon, Center for Student Engagement

Karis Hill, a graduate assistant in the Center for Leadership and Service, and Olivia Stevens, a graduate assistant for the Dean of Students, also competed in the case study competition and finished second.

Other accomplishments include:

  • Jheri Wills, graduate research assistant in Multicultural Student Life, served as the first SACSA Presidential Intern and chaired the Graduate Student Symposium.
  • Chris Ndiritu, former graduate assistant in University Housing, chaired the Undergraduate Symposium.

SACSA is an independent, regional, and generalist association designed for the professional development of practitioners, educators, and students engaged in the student affairs profession.