Kelly Woodward, coordinator of alternate text and note taking in the Services for Students with Disabilities office at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2013 President's Award for Excellence.

The President's Award for Excellence is presented annually to up to five Virginia Tech staff employees who have made extraordinary contributions by consistent excellence in the performance of their job or a single incident, contribution, or heroic act. Each recipient is awarded a $2,000 cash prize.

Woodward is credited with the recent tremendous success of the university’s note-taking program. The number of students with disabilities who use a note taker in class has increased more than 70 percent in the past three years. Woodward ensures that each of the more than 350 students requesting a note taker receives one.

“Kelly recruited enough volunteers and changed the procedures so that now there is an all-student volunteer note-taking force,” said Robyn Hudson, assistant director of the program. “Virginia Tech’s program continues to grow because of the values of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) that Kelly taps into.”

Last year, 357 volunteer note takers provided more than 8,000 hours of service, which is an estimated cost savings of $64,000 annually to the university for not having to hire note takers. Woodward also developed an accessible Scholar site with unique features that ensure timely uploading and delivery of notes in a confidential and convenient manner. This system resulted in a more streamlined process, a reduction in the use of paper, and a reduced workload on program staff.

Woodward also coordinates Braille services for visually impaired students.

“Kelly’s work allows Virginia Tech to provide cutting-edge services that are virtually unprecedented among other universities,” Hudson said.

Susan Angle, director of the program, said, “Kelly has brought the level of service provision for students with disabilities into a whole new dimension, and in the process, she has educated the university about diversity issues and the importance of access for all.”

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Written by Catherine Doss.