April 20, 2017

Polly Schurer, who has served as the graduate studies coordinator since 2009, has been awarded the Outstanding Coordinator for Graduate Studies award for 2017 by the UMD Graduate School.  

“She truly is an academic affairs coordinator,” Dr. Bradley Hatfield, professor and chair of Kinesiology, said. “She has an awful lot to do with the culture of the department, with announcements, with social activities. She’s kind of the glue that holds all the various pieces of the department together.”

Having graduated with a sociology degree from UMD, Schurer taught K-12 school for seven years. She transitioned to academic affairs career when she decided to pursue a masters degree in student affairs administration at Michigan State.

As a graduate studies coordinator, Schurer supports graduate students with various administrative tasks, helping them apply to the program, building their work and study schedule and making sure they achieve program milestones along the way.

“Some of the highlights would be really getting to know the students on a personal level, just in a way being in the journey with them, just helping them get through it, and just trying to serve them the best that I can, in any way that I can,” Schurer said.

Aside from excellence as a graduate studies coordinator, winning an Outstanding Coordinator for Graduate Studies award requires a willingness to work on projects that go beyond the everyday scope of work. Schurer’s tasks as a coordinator extend beyond kinesiology’s graduate program. She is also deeply involved in the department’s undergraduate program and faculty affairs. 

“Just being a good graduate coordinator doesn’t do it,” Dr. Stephen Roth, associate dean for academic affairs, said. “She helped restructure kinesiology’s website. She updated student communications, for both prospective and current students. She has amazing costumer service, helping students with all kinds of issues. She’s organized. She’s timely. She’s just a super pleasant person to work with.”

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