Thursday, August 19, 2010
Kay and Billy Rhodes

Kay and Billy Rhodes

Kay Rhodes Receives Tri-County’s Staff Excellence Award


(By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Kay Rhodes, the admissions liaison for the Nursing department at Tri-County Technical College, was honored Thursday (August 19) with the highest award given for staff excellence at the College.

Rhodes, an Anderson resident, received the Presidential Medallion for Staff Excellence at the annual faculty/staff fall convocation. The medallion, along with a cash award made possible by the Tri-County Technical College Foundation, goes to a person who has demonstrated over and over a strong belief in the purpose and mission of the College.

For the past five years Rhodes has served as Tri-County's Health Education Division-dedicated admissions counselor, helping nursing students to stay on track with scheduling the classes needed at Tri-County and for admission to Clemson.

"Kay is the student's initial point of contact, and she has really made an impact here," said Dr. Lynn Lewis, dean of the College's Health Education Division. "She's nurturing and encouraging. She guides the students into making smart choices early, makes sure there are no barriers from a curriculum standpoint, and aids in helping them to transition as smoothly as possible. She truly has revolutionized our ability to advise students at Tri-County and to encourage them to the BSN degree and beyond."

This one-to-one, consistent advising is key in student success, said Dr. Lewis. "It makes a big difference with our pre-nursing students. They can be realistic and successful."

"My co-workers have made nursing a very desirable major at Tri-County Technical College," said Rhodes. "The reputation for student service that our program has earned interests students from all over South Carolina and Georgia. They come to Tri-County to hear the nursing admissions story because they want to be a part of our program and its success. I am blessed to be a member of this College and this department. I'm not a nurse, but take great pride in helping young people navigate the process to make it their graduation goal. I am pleased and humbled that I was chosen for this award."

As part of her role as admissions liaison, Rhodes has grown the cohort group of students ready to start the BSN completion program at Clemson University (through the LPN to Professor program) from four initial students to 54 this May.

Rhodes developed the current admissions process for the department that includes the notice of completion and competitive admission, and manages both of these processes. She also notifies students, via e-mail, of acceptance into the clinical portion of the program. She developed the New Nursing Student Orientation and the Updates to Nursing Guide to make sure that all nursing students receive the current information. This fall the updates will be available online with face-to-face question-and-answer sessions.

Rhodes has taught College 103 and Col 105 classes on her own time and later volunteered to work with the Learning Excellence Initiative (LEI) whose classes are designed to improve students' learning through examining and refining their first-year college experience. Rhodes facilitated the LEI Smart Start orientation this summer.

Co-workers praise her caring and compassionate attitude toward students, her attention to detail and her dedication to being a team player.

"Kay makes my job easier and I'm not sure what we would do without her," said Nursing Department Head Janet Fuller. "She is thoroughly deserving of this award and she has become an integral part of the Tri-County family with her can-do attitude and willingness to work for the betterment of the College. Kay is an outstanding ambassador for the Nursing program and the College," said Fuller.

"She has helped hundreds of students to navigate the maze of nursing entry program and always does it with a positive attitude and smile. Customer service comes first with Kay," echoed associate degree Nursing instructor Shelley Burgins.

"She brings to this role her job experience as an educator which enables her to be a great communicator, as well as a good listener with our Nursing students and staff. Kay is committed to ensuring that our nursing students achieve their goals," said associate degree Nursing instructor Jackie Rutledge.

Rhodes joined the College in 2004 as a WIA counselor. Prior to that she was a counselor with the S.C. Vocation Rehabilitation office. She also worked for Onslow County Schools for four years. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Winthrop University and a master's degree in Human Resource Development from Clemson University. She is a member of the S.C. State Employees Association and is a volunteer with the YMCA.

She and her husband, Billy, live in Anderson.

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