Staff Senate Names Marcelle Heerschap Outstanding Supervisor

Posted: March 12, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Beau Cribbs

Marcelle Heerschap
Marcelle Heerschap
Photo by Evan Cantwell

The latest recipient of the Outstanding Supervisor Award has been announced, and in listening to the staff in the Office of Student Academic Affairs, it is easy to see why the Staff Senate chose to honor Marcelle Heerschap, dean of student academic affairs and advising, this year.

University Ombudsman Dolores Gomez-Moran recently said of her supervisor, “Marcelle has a brilliant mind, and therefore is a lover of good ideas. Thus, she is extremely flexible in letting people explore and take new initiative.”

Student Academic Affairs Office Manager Teejay Brown echoed these compliments. “She has the ability to manage the diversity and various personalities in our department,” he said.

Brown added that Heerschap is honest with her employees, gives praise and recognition when it is due, and is approachable when employees need assistance.

Heerschap said the award was “a very pleasant shock,” and added, “Out of all the awards they give, this one means a great deal to me because it comes from the staff.”

First coming to Mason in 1999 as dean of Admissions, Heerschap left Mason briefly, but returned in 2004 when she was appointed to the position of associate dean for student academic affairs and advising. She became dean in July 2006. Heerschap earned her BA in education and psychology from Brock University in Canada, and her MA in counselor education from the University of South Florida.

As dean, Heerschap manages the University Transitions Programs, the University Scholars Program, the Academic Advising Center, Pre-Health Professions Advising, the Office of Postgraduate Fellowships and Scholarships, and the Freshman and Transfer Centers. She also chairs the university-wide Academic Advising Council and is a member of the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia Impacting Student Persistence Committee.

For Heerschap, “It is important (as a supervisor) to empower people and give them an opportunity to do their jobs as well as they can. I need to be sure to reward (the staff) for a job well done.”

Heerschap explained that a professional attitude is also imperative. “There are two sides to the obligation, though. In any environment like this, the staff needs to know what the expectations are. That way, I can try and find out what people do best and work to the strengths of the staff.”

According to many letters of nomination, this twofold approach is not lost on the employees in the Office of Student Academic Affairs. Freshman Center Director Elizabeth Bernard said, “Marcelle is willing to have fun and do nice things for her staff, but we still recognize that there is work to be done. She maintains a good balance and still holds high expectations for all of us and the office.”

This balance shines through as Heerschap laughed in explaining how the staff let her know of her award. “They set up a pizza party without me knowing about it and invited the president of the Staff Senate to come and present the award to me.”

Heerschap admitted that although the award itself was “a big surprise,” she was very impressed with the fact that the close-knit group of coworkers didn’t let her in on the secret. “Nobody let it out of the bag,” Heerschap said with a smile. “It really meant a lot to me.”

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