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Frank Shushok recognized for mentorship in writing and research

January 6, 2016

Frank Shushok Jr.
Frank Shushok Jr.

BLACKSBURG — Frank Shushok, Virginia Tech's senior associate vice president for student affairs and associate professor of higher education, was awarded the 2015 Research & Publication Award from the Association of College and University Housing Officers—International (ACUHO-I).

ACUHO-I exists to develop exceptional residential experiences at colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions around the world. According to the organization, this award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge related to the campus housing profession through their work in research and publications.

“Anyone who knows me well is aware of my abiding belief that the way colleges and universities enact the residential experience matters a lot for the kind of education students receive,” said Shushok. “For ACUHO-I to suggest I’m helping colleges and universities do this better with my writing and research means the world to me.”

Shushok intentionally works alongside those he leads, focusing on one-on-one mentorship. Jamie Penven, associate director for academic initiatives, wrote one of Shushok’s numerous nominations for this award.

“The majority of Frank’s publications are co-authored,” wrote Penven. “This is not by happenstance. Dr. Shushok thrives in community. By mentoring others in the writing process, Frank is cultivating the next generation of scholar-practioners. Recognizing him with this award not only acknowledges his individual scholarly contributions, but also honors his selfless investment in mentoring tomorrow’s researchers.”

Shushok provides leadership for five departments within the Division of Student Affairs: Housing and Residence Life, Career Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Dining Services, and Student Conduct.

“Frank Shushok is an extraordinary educator,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo. “His work is focused on student-learning and, as such, he considers how every environment best maximizes the learning and development potential. He has been the curator for transformative learning in our residential community.”

In addition to his work on campus, Shushok is the executive editor of About Campus, a bimonthly magazine with a readership of more than 10,000 that is dedicated to educators who want to thoughtfully examine the issues, policies, and practices that influence the learning experiences of college students.

“I became a writer and researcher because I was mentored,” said Shushok. “Good research and writing makes good educational practice. Good educational practices raise all sorts of important research questions.”

Over the summer, Shushok hosted the About Campus Writers’ Retreat at Virginia Tech. He addressed attendees with the following introduction:

“If I’ve learned anything through my years working in higher education, it is that creativity, innovation, and possibility are given the best chance in the context of community,” wrote Shushok. “But even more important is our hope that you find space to listen to your life, pay attention to your learning, and hear the lessons you have to share with colleagues working in higher education.”

Shushok received his Ph.D. in higher education policy analysis from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s degree in history education from Baylor University.

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