April 19, 2011

Alicia Ruiz wins A/P teaching support award

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Alicia Ruiz is the recipient of the 2011 Excellence Through Commitment Outstanding Administrative/Professional Teaching Support Award at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Chancellor Rita Cheng will host Ruiz and other honorees, including faculty, staff, and graduates, at an Excellence Through Commitment Awards reception today (April 19). The reception is at 5:30 p.m. in Morris Library.

Ruiz will receive a certificate recognizing her contributions to the University, and a marked reserve parking space on campus for one year.

As director of communications and outreach for the SIU School of Law, Ruiz coordinates collection and dissemination of news about the law school through various media, and is responsible for the law school’s outreach materials, including the website, bi-weekly internal newsletter, monthly electronic alumni news, and “Annual Report,” which highlights activities at the law school during the year. Ruiz also works with faculty to promote their programs to students and external constituencies, and with local bar associations, courts, agencies and the University’s Division of Continuing Education to schedule and plan continuing legal education programs for area attorneys.

Ruiz also completes internal and external reports, including the American Bar Association annual survey and accreditation materials, in addition to various other surveys including U.S. News and World Report. She also works with Applied Research Consultants to create and administer senior exit surveys to assess law students’ experience and satisfaction.

Ruiz, who lives in Murphysboro, has been the law school’s director of communication and outreach since November 2006. She began her University service in 1994 as assistant ADR project coordinator with the law school’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Clinic. She was an assistant public defender in Jackson County in 1996-97, before returning to the law school as program coordinator with the Illinois Agriculture Mediation Program in February 1997. From August 2000 to November 2006, Ruiz was the law school’s assistant dean for administration.

Ruiz, who is originally from Benton, earned her law degree from the SIU School of Law in 1994, and a bachelor’s degree in English-Rhetoric from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991.

Dean Cynthia L. Fountaine wrote in her nominating letter that Ruiz “is involved in almost every aspect of law school administration and has done an outstanding job in representing the law school and the University in many ways.”

Fountaine said Ruiz’ efforts enhance the law school’s academic program and provide support for teaching. Ruiz “goes above and beyond in being responsive to faculty needs,” Fountaine said.

Ruiz has been invaluable in working with the media, and in developing a marketing program for the law school “that puts our best foot forward to appeal to all of our constituencies: students, alumni, members of the University and Carbondale communities, and the national and international legal academy,” Fountaine wrote.

W. Eugene Basanta, the Southern Illinois Healthcare Professor of Law and director of the law school’s Center for Health Law and Policy, wrote that Ruiz handles a number of projects, including the annual Southern Illinois Healthcare/SIU Health Policy Institute, “in a timely, thorough, and professional fashion with her typical good judgment, positive attitude and team spirit.”

Ruiz “clearly makes a difference each day here at the School of Law,” Basanta wrote.

Kristy A. White, an administrative assistant at the law school, wrote that Ruiz is “detail oriented, conscientious and thorough.”

Barbara Smith, a publications assistant at the law school, wrote that Ruiz’s creative and organizational skills are an asset. Ruiz gives “100 percent to the faculty and staff that need assistance with any type of publications, outside marketing or communications,” Smith wrote.

“Alicia has a wonderful sense of humor that she shares whenever she can,” Smith wrote. “She truly cares about people whether it be students, faculty, staff, and is willing to help them in any way she can.”