Perimeter College wins service award

Ask Georgia Perimeter College President Dr. Anthony S. Tricoli what he thinks about the college receiving the state's top service award, and he'll tell you that it's all part of GPC's "big plan."

The college's big plan is to move GPC among the top tier of institutions in the nation, Tricoli said.

Another step in that direction was completed on Tuesday during the Chancellor's Customer Service Awards ceremony held in Atlanta. The University System of Georgia named GPC the Customer Service Institution of the Year gold medal winner and awarded Tricoli the Customer Service Leadership silver medal.

"I came here today to say that I am proud of you," Governor Sonny Perdue said during the Sept. 15 ceremony. "Think about this vital role you play in changing someone's life. What you're doing is saying come on in, we're faster, friendlier and easier, and we want to help you reach your goal of earning a higher education. Customer service is not rocket science, it's caring and helping and that's the culture we're trying to build in our state."

In 2006, Perdue created the Governor's Office of Customer Service to improve the quality of essential services in Georgia. The Chancellor's Customer Service Awards were created to honor employees and institutions that have gone "above and beyond" their normal service responsibilities. Last year Tricoli was named the USG's gold medal service leader. Tricoli credits service, quality of education and affordability as some of the reasons GPC has topped its record enrollment in each year of his three year tenure. GPC is currently the third largest of 35 institutions under the USG banner.

"I was humbled by the award last year," Tricoli said. "However, receiving the award for the top institution in Georgia's higher educational system is most rewarding of all. This gold award indicates that all of us who work at GPC are being recognized for providing outstanding service to our students, and since service is a key ingredient needed for the success of our students, it is our most valuable action every day in the classroom, in our offices and on our playing fields. There is no greater satisfaction than GPC receiving the USG's top billing for service to students. Our faculty and our support and professional staff deserve all of the credit for this outstanding recognition."

GPC earned this year's gold medal in part because of the college's Transfer Admission Guarantee agreements that allow students seamless guaranteed admission to more than 35 four-year institutions in and outside of Georgia. According to Linda Hansel, customer relations specialist at the Governor's Office of Customer Service, GPC was also recognized because the college established a new Customer Service Department and an Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning to provide opportunities for students to apply classroom learning as service to their community. Both new offices are the only ones of their kind on any USG campus.

GPC instituted cross training of admissions staff resulting is faster application processing and improved financial aid processing, Hansel said. Web-based services for students and employees were developed and implemented in house to provide innovative and improved web-based communications services for employees and students.

In fall 2008, GPC participated in the Governor's Office of Customer Service Workplace Satisfaction Index survey, making GPC the first USG entity to participate in the state-wide effort.

GPC recognitions at the ceremony also included honorable mention awards to Lisa Fowler, assistant vice president for enrollment management and student success, and Frank Nash, director of GPC Alpharetta Center for Customer Service Team and faculty member Tamra Ortgies-Young for Customer Service Individual. GPC Director of Customer Service Fran Mohr was a finalist in the Customer Service Champion of the Year category.

"I'm impressed by the quality of the winners but I'm not surprised," said USG Chancellor Erroll B. Davis. "It is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people."