Leadership, attitude hallmarks of Stafford’s excellence

Dr. Laura Stafford, director of the Bowling Green State University School of Media and Communication was recognized with the 2016 Faculty Senate Leadership as a Chair/School Director Award on April 14.

Stafford, who received $1,000 and a commemorative plaque, has been instrumental in her two years as director, leading curricular revisions in the school’s three undergraduate departments with the goal of boosting enrollment and retaining majors.

She also has facilitated the creation of three new graduate certificate programs, an applied master’s degree in Media and Communication for adult learners, and a pathway for undergraduate students to matriculate smoothly into graduate courses as part of the 4+1 program.

As if Stafford’s professional accomplishments don’t stand out on their own, Dr. Alberto Gonzalez, professor and chair of the communication department, said her personality traits also make her a deserving recipient.

“The most remarkable qualities that Dr. Stafford brings are an abundance of optimism and realism,” said Gonzalez, who nominated Stafford for the award. “Her optimism fuels our forward progress while her realism guides the use of our time for maximum efficiency. She seems to have an innate balance between what we would like to get done and what we can get done.

“Dr. Stafford is always of good cheer through victories and setbacks. She is transparent in her decision-making, even-handed in balancing the interests of the three departments and always a fierce advocate for the instructional and research needs of students and faculty in SMC.”

Many faculty members cite Stafford’s calm and fair demeanor as well as her preparation and strong advocacy for the department’s programs as key to being a role model for teaching, research and service.

“Laura Stafford is a true professional in every way, but it is the personal care and attention she gives all of us that truly bonds us together as a department,” a contributor wrote in a letter composed by a selection committee.

Another nominator pointed out that Stafford’s leadership has been invaluable to the telecommunications department during the transformation of South Hall into a state-of-the-art media and communications center.

“I believe that Dr. Stafford’s leadership style embodies the core values at BGSU,” Gonzalez said. “She treats faculty with respect, she meets opportunities and challenges with creativity and innovation, and her energy, scholarly productivity and administrative attention to detail model her pursuit of excellence.”  

Stafford arrived as a professor at BGSU in 2013 after stints at the University of Kentucky, where she was chair, and Ohio State University. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985.