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Arts and Sciences' Bates honored by professional secretaries group

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 15 - December 11, 1997

Robert C. Bates, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was honored as the Executive of the Year 1997-98 by the New River Valley Chapter of Professional Secretaries International (PSI).
The award honors an executive in the New River Valley for "outstanding service, support and encouragement in the secretarial profession." PSI members nominate candidates for the award in a written supporting statement of the executive's merits. Winners are then chosen by committee. Barbara Harris, Bates's assistant, nominated him for the award.
"Since becoming dean, he has made it a personal goal to help the classified staff members of the college to organize themselves and take responsibility for their own self improvement and professional development," Harris said in her supporting statement. "He has guided and taught us how to lead ourselves. Over the past two years, he has provided financial assistance to the support staff organization, CASSA, for social gatherings and educational workshops given by college faculty members to the support staff throughout each semester.
"He has encouraged staff members to attend leadership development programs to strengthen their abilities to lead. This year he implemented a grant program whereby individual support staff members can apply for financial assistance to workshops, conferences, etc. Through his efforts in helping us to learn to lead ourselves, he has improved morale among the staff and helped our floundering CASSA organization to become an active, exciting group.
"Most important, Bob is a leader by example. He listens, guides, is tolerant of mistakes, and does not dictate his agenda to those still learning. His office door is as open to his support staff as it is to his faculty."
Bates joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1972 as an assistant professor of biology and has been a full professor since 1985. He was appointed associate dean for research, facilities, and graduate studies in 1987 and was named dean in January 1994.