Outstanding Service Award

Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings

Jennings brings blend of warmth, professional expertise to her role

With more than 65 faculty and graduate students teaching first-year composition courses, General Studies Writing (GSW) is the largest program on the Bowling Green State University campus. Nearly 4,000 students a year come into the office or reach out by phone or email. Senior Secretary Kelly Jennings is their first contact, expertly answering questions and directing them to the appropriate information, person or resource they need to enroll and complete their required writing courses.

In recognition of Jennings’ contributions to the success of the program and to the University as a whole, she received the 2019 Classified Staff Outstanding Service Award, presented by Classified Staff Council at the annual spring reception May 15. Along with it came a $1,000 check and a plaque bearing her name, to be permanently displayed on the second floor of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

Jennings’ manner sets a welcoming tone for all who come through the door, said her nominators.

“To those interactions, Kelly brings a warm, affable presence, which is essential for our ability to work with students and faculty and administrators across campus,” wrote Dr. Daniel Bommarito, GSW director. She is eminently competent, organized and professional, ensuring tasks are completed accurately and efficiently, he said.

In Jennings’ role as GSW senior secretary, she is the front end of the operation, but she is also part off the back end, serving as a building representative for East Hall, designated budget administrator and University Academic Support Council representative. She participates in the daily logistics of the program (which is changing its name to the University Writing Program), sharing information with colleagues across campus.

“Kelly’s unwavering commitment to and stewardship of our writing program, department and University community are a cornerstone of life here in East Hall,” Bommarito wrote. “The first-rate professionalism that informs all of Kelly’s work is met with her equally warm, caring and generous spirit. In short, Kelly embodies the virtue of service each day and makes all of us around her — from undergraduate students to graduate students to faculty — better at our jobs, more joyful and more motivated to achieve the pedagogical mission of the University.”

Knowing the program as well as she does, with 15 years’ experience, Jennings is able to carefully assist the new graduate assistants, many of them novice teachers, said Dr. Kitty Burroughs, associate director, “assuring their smooth transition, not only to their graduate studies in the English department, but to their new teaching assignments.” She has also provided invaluable assistance to Burroughs and Bommarito, who are relatively new to their leadership roles in the program, earning their deep appreciation.

She is also flexible and accommodating of change, her nominators said. Not only is the GSW program changing names, it is merging with the Department of English and encompassing the English for Speakers of Other Languages program. Jennings has taken on additional responsibilities as secretary for that program as well.

“In doing so, Kelly has exhibited a flexibility and masterful capacity to learn new processes, adding to her already substantial profile of duties,” Bommarito said.

In addition to her official duties, Jennings is a frequent volunteer for BGSU events such as the All-Campus Picnic and fundraisers. A Falcon Club member, she is often at athletic events, cheering on the students.

“Her BGSU spirit is loud and proud — and those around her benefit from her energy,” Bommarito said.