Santa Fe College Employee Lara Zwilling Receives Prestigious Award

Santa Fe College’s Lara Zwilling was honored with the Dr. Charles Dassance Student Development Award for Outstanding Service Advancement in Student Development.

Counseling Coordinator Lara Zwilling is one of the “go-to” student development and student affairs officials at Santa Fe College. She coordinates counseling efforts, supervises an effective counseling center staff, and collaborates College-wide, while participating in many difference making roles.

Coordinator Zwilling also acts as a front line “doer” providing direct service to students. She continuously trains staff and faculty year-round in critical higher education concepts and is always working to reduce student victimization and provide care and support to students in need. She makes a consistent positive impact on students and contributes to student success, collaborates with many areas of the College as a team player, and is fully supportive of the student affairs mission.

Ms. Zwilling is always advancing best practices to impact and benefit our students. She has a high degree of commitment and incredible work ethic and attitude which allows her to leverage her expertise and be successful. In the preceding year, for example, she transitioned the Counseling Center from an advisement and support role to a comprehensive Center providing full clinical mental health services. This required College Presidential approval. With this change, all counselors are licensed mental health professionals. The staff themselves have also benefitted and are now covered with malpractice and liability insurance.

As another example of best practices and student focused improvement, a weekly student run “Students in Recovery” group was formed overseen by the Counseling Center and now meets weekly. Lara also provides direct support to our students as the staff advisor to “Santa Fe Pride” which focuses on services for the LGBTQ student community.

Like many College officials, Ms. Zwilling is a multi-tasker. Her list of responsibilities is large and she is known as being effective and a collaborator in all of these.  She is a team player.

Coordinator Zwilling takes seriously these roles:

  • Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) / threat assessment team Co-chair
    • Helped the College adopt formalized Board of Trustee Rule and Procedure in 2013.
  • Trauma Response Team (TRT) Co-chair
    • Providing a team to respond if a critical or tragic incident impacting the emotional / mental health being of students. Held scenario based team training this fiscal year.
  • College trainer
    • Provides professional development on topics such as dealing with disruption, de-escalation, VAWA, Title IX and front line safety. She has trained hundreds of staff, students, and faculty. She has been so effective, she has presented on these topics with police and safety and risk partners to the statewide AFC conference and to region and commission conferences.
  • Special Events coordination
    • Partnering on week long extensive efforts such as “Safe Santa Fe” and “Safe Spring Break Events,” and Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness Day.
  • Title IX / Discrimination issues investigator
    • Complex time consuming and critically important position.
  • Numerous hiring committees and chairing some.
  • Disciplinary Admissions Committee member.
  • SF College liaison to the University of Florida Crisis Response Team.

All of the afore mentioned reasons are why Lara has won this award. Congratulations Lara!

For More Information Contact:  Ed Book at x5883 or  ed.book@sfcollege.edu

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