Winner of Deborah Hobson York Citizenship Award champions grad students

Sharon Pereira

Over the coming weeks, YFile will feature short profiles of the winners of the 2011 President’s Staff Recognition Awards. This year’s recipient of the 2011 Deborah Hobson York Citizenship Award is Sharon Pereira, student affairs officer, Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Sharon Pereira A part of the York University administrative team since 1990, Sharon Pereira (right) is known as a passionate champion of graduate students on campus. Winners of the Deborah Hobson award are typically known for their energy, spirit and commitment to student services, so Pereira’s win comes as no surprise to those that know her. She is praised by colleagues as the “calmest person they know,” someone who is always considerate, professional and compassionate in her dealings with students.

They say that Pereira has a special ability to calm the most distraught students quickly, supporting them administratively so that they can focus on their academic careers. Her support is unique in that she provides not only a listening ear, but concrete action plans to tackle the most difficult issues.

Colleagues note that her institutional knowledge is invaluable – and that many departments rely on it intrinsically for their day-to-day dealings with graduate students. Her work realigning the petitions process in the Faculty of Graduate Studies has resulted in 90 per cent of petitions being resolved in-Faculty, therefore providing resolution to students more quickly.

Always open to new ideas, Pereira frequently asks for input from those around her about how to smooth out processes. She works closely with her staff to produce the optimum student service experience. “Sharon redefines the possible for graduate student services at York University by nurturing an ethos of excellent student service for graduate studies across campus,” says one of her nominators for the award. “She is continually re-examining administrative processes in her areas of responsibility to improve service and reaching out across campus to provide leadership in graduate student services.”

The winners will be honoured, and their achievements celebrated, at an awards dinner on April 17.