Debbie Findlay of Greenwood, advising coordinator in the College of Communications, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences, was the recipient of the 2018 inaugural Staff Appreciation Award in honor of Mark Horn, selected by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s Student Government Association.
The award recognizes an outstanding staff member as chosen by university students. It is named after Mark Horn, longtime administrator at the university who retired in 2014.
In the nomination letter from a student, which Horn read aloud during the annual staff meeting Feb. 28, Findlay was lauded for her positive and caring attitude toward the students she serves.
“When I first met with Mrs. Findlay, I had two options: Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and this campus. She met with me, explained my options, and she’s the reason why I chose UAFS,” the letter read. “She took time for me. I thought she was invested in me, and never worried about being steered in the wrong direction and had faith in her.”
“Without Mrs. Findlay, I would not be graduating this May, and I most certainly would not have had the experience I’ve had the last two years,” the letter continued. “She is more than just a staff member at UAFS. She is, in my opinion and my experience, part of the beating heart of this campus.”
Findlay first came to UAFS in 2001 as an academic advisor in the Student Advisement Center before becoming a benefits specialist in 2006. She left to work at the Arkansas Tech – Ozark campus in 2006 as a counselor for their Career Pathways program, serving low-income and single-parent families. She returned to UAFS as an academic advisor in 2008 and moved to her current role as advising coordinator in 2010.
In that role, Findlay was instrumental in transitioning to a new faculty advising model in the College of CLASS and coordinates the college’s advising, registration, retention and graduation process for seven arts and social sciences programs. She also provides faculty training and advising assistance and participates in program recruiting within various campus and community events.
“What an amazing honor to have received this award from our students,” Findlay said. “It’s an incredible feeling knowing that the work I do can have a positive influence and does impact the lives of others for the better. I’m extremely blessed and frankly, quite humbled by this recognition, because at the end of the day, it’s really about those I serve. It’s how I do what I do and most importantly, why I do it. Students matter.”
Findlay holds a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation science from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.