By Leigh Thomas | May 11, 2020
Chemical Engineering Professor Ed Gatzke has received the Outstanding Faculty and Staff Partner Award from the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support. The award recognizes a member of the UofSC faculty who has demonstrated significant support for the division, the division’s programs and services and the overall quality of campus life.
Gatzke was nominated by Chris Lewandowski, assistant director of the CEC Career Center Satellite Office. Lewandowski says that Gatzke has served as a faculty partner to the office for many years, actively assisting in the development of a career-focused grant proposal to the National Science Foundation that has secured a pathway to engage at-risk, often first generation, students who may not have the same support as other students. The NSF initiative connects them to mentors and facilitates engagement across a variety of needs, such as housing, health and financial security, faculty and peer mentoring, academic success and career development.
“Dr. Gatzke routinely engages with our office, finding ways to collaborate for the betterment of our students," Lewandowski says. "He is committed to helping students make meaning of what they want to do with their lives, and his passion for students really comes through.”
Gatzke also co-teaches Chemical Engineering 202, Preparation for the Chemical Engineering Workplace, alongside staff from the career center. The course provides targeted career development for engineering students, focusing on resume development, interview skills, long-term career topics, professional attire and how to make small talk and elevator speeches.
Gatzke says that a student's biggest job at university is to go out and find a job that leads to a career. "Some students have never been told how to do these things, and it can really hold them back in interviews and professional settings,” he says.
Also an advisor for the Gamecock Toastmasters, Gatzke serves as a mentor to participating students and teaches networking and professional speaking skills. He got involved with the group, whose mission is to help students develop communication and leadership skills, after surveying companies that hired the college’s graduate students. The survey results indicated that the college produces great students who can do technical work, but need better oral and written communication skills.
Gatzke is deeply committed to student success. Of the award, he said, “It demonstrates the importance of student career development and helping them progress beyond technical knowledge.”
The Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support invites nominations for Division Awards each spring. All Student Affairs and Academic Support employees are eligible to nominate their colleagues and to be nominated for awards themselves.