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CSSE manager of academic programs named Auburn Employee of the Year

By Joe McAdory

Published: Apr 26, 2022 7:38:00 AM

Clint Lovelace is manager of academic programs in computer science and software engineering. Clint Lovelace is manager of academic programs in computer science and software engineering.

What’s a good day at work for Clint Lovelace? When he makes a positive impact on the lives of students. “What courses should I take next semester?” “I’m struggling in school. Help me.” “I’m struggling with a family issue. Can we talk?” “What classes best prepare me for a career beyond Auburn?”

Students enter his office on the third floor of Shelby Center and leave with direction. It’s no wonder the manager of academic programs in computer science and software engineering (CSSE) was named one of four Auburn University Employees of the Year for 2021-22.

“Every day is different,” said the Valley, Alabama, native who is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration. “There are days where everything is great. There are days when a student is in crisis, and we find a way to fix it. It’s not always academics. I tell students when they first visit, we offer holistic advising – from orientation all the way through graduation. We will talk about their academics, but also their physical, mental and emotional needs. Typically, students come to their advisors first when there is a problem. Even if you can’t fix it, they develop a trust in you.”

Auburn University Employees of the Year are chosen from a pool of monthly Spirit of Excellence award winners. These employees:

* Go beyond the call of duty to improve service, quality, and the respective department’s image;

* Exemplify professionalism and dedication to excellent service by putting forth extra effort;

* Perform “outstanding contributions of significance;”

* Achieve specific or sustained accomplishments that exceed normal expectations;

* Initiate or bring a job to a successful conclusion;

Lovelace received the Spirit of Excellence Award in August 2021.

“His role is critical to the academic success of our students, and their satisfaction with the advising and other services they receive from Clint is evident in the feedback the department administration receives from them,” said Hari Narayanan, CSSE department chair. “Clint has also voluntarily taken on additional duties as the department’s corporate relations liaison, student organization advisor and course scheduler. Despite the different hats he wears, and the high volume of work associated with each, Clint consistently demonstrates excellent performance year after year without complaint and represents the department well in the various college, university and administrative and professional staff committees on which he serves.”

Despite the everyday challenges of meeting students’ needs, Lovelace – and other advisors across campus — had another hurdle to cross when COVID-19 temporarily forced remote advising sessions.

“In that environment, you continue to tell students that you are here for them, even if you’re not together,” he said. “That time helped me understand more that students’ focus is not just on academics. There are other things going on. You must keep that in mind. It might not be the coursework. It might be something happening at home. Being able to address the whole student, the whole picture, makes you grow as an advisor. COVID pushed that though because we had a lot of students who went through isolation and depression. During that time, some of them lost family. They were dealing with that, while trying to keep up with school. It was tough, but we worked hard to keep them on track and keep them positive.”

CSSE is the college’s largest department with approximately 1,500 students, and Lovelace credits his team of student services coordinators, Matthew Morris and Michael Covington, for opening their doors to meet students’ needs.

“The hardest thing is making sure students receive the attention they deserve,” he said. “They need to feel heard. We tell them, the Auburn Family, that we are here for you and care about you. We have an open-door policy, so anytime students have things going on and want to stop in, we are here.”

Media Contact: Joe McAdory, jem0040@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

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