She’s a smooth operator, the heart of Women’s Studies

Behind every smoothly running operation is an operator. Such an “operator” can be found in Linda Chesser, administrative manager and adviser for the Department of Women’s Studies.

As the only staff member for the growing Women’s Studies program, Chesser must tackle a myriad of tasks as she works side by side with faculty and students to help the department accomplish its goals.

“Linda’s the heart and soul of the Women’s Studies department,” said chair Noel Sturgeon. “She works not just for the students but for the university as a whole.”

It is for this drive and heart that Chesser is receiving a 2005 President’s Employee Excellence Award.

A WSU employee for 12 years, Chesser puts her all into ensuring students enjoy their time at WSU and, more important, that they know where they are going.

In addition to advising students, she handles clerical work for five faculty members and seven graduate assistants, supervises time-slip workers, manages the program budget, organizes scheduling of classes, produces publicity for the classes and courses, manages the webpage, organizes public events and still has time to answer the phone.

It’s enough to make your head spin, but Chesser does it with a smile.

Despite her many tasks, Chesser’s main focus is with the students. Beyond advising women’s studies students, she is ready and willing to help students who are undecided or new to the university.

“I think it’s important to help the students,” she said. “They come in the school as freshmen and you see them walking around in a daze. It’s nice to help them out.”

Chesser does just that. This school year she advises 47 Women’s Studies students and 10 undecided students. She advised 25 to 30 incoming students last summer during student orientation.

“She is centered on what makes WSU a place where students are going to succeed,” said Sturgeon.

“It’s a complete honor for me to know the students and department are behind me,” Chesser said of receiving the award for employee excellence. “I’m just taken aback by the whole thing — I love it here!”

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