Hileman receives 2011 Leonard Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award at UVa-Wise
Red T-shirts, key chains, sweatshirts and books are among the fixtures students expect to see when they enter the UVa-Wise Bookstore. Sheila Hileman, the recipient of the 2011 Leonard Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award, has quietly become a fixture there as well during her decade of service.
Hileman, the bookstore’s assistant director, has developed a solid relationship with the students, faculty and staff since she began work in 2001. Faculty need only inform Hileman of the textbooks and number of copies they will need each semester and they know the items will be on the shelves when needed.
Students share a quick laugh with Hileman as she calls many of them by name when they drop in to purchase a snack or a new set of headphones for their iPads. Some just stop by to say hello.
“Sheila is always a mentor, friend and confidant to our students,” said Jean Good, mail services manager at UVa-Wise. “Not only does she build relationships with her student staff, but she extends her friendship to others within the student body. “She encourages our students to excel in their academic ventures as well as in their personal and professional lives.”
The students make the hard work worth it, Hileman said.
“My favorite part is interacting with the students,” she said. “It’s all about the students. We really get to know them well during their four years here.”
Hileman was one of the first host parents for athletes at UVa-Wise. Although some of her “sons” and “daughters” have graduated, many keep in contact and drop by for a visit when they return to campus.
“They are my kids and they will always be my kids,” she said.
Hileman knows the retail market and she understands the value of good customer service. She asked the Information Technology team to install a computer in the bookstore to allow students quick access to their new schedules and to the list of textbooks and supplies they will need for their classes. She also takes textbooks and other items to the college’s Abingdon campus in order to make things convenient for the student.
Changing technology and new retail methods keep things lively for the bookstore staff, Hileman said. The emergence and popularity of electronic books and e-readers mean big changes in the future for bookstores and for books in general. Hileman is implementing a new textbook rental program to give students more options when it comes to acquiring books. The new rental program begins in August.
Winning the Outstanding Contribution Award came as a surprise to Hileman. She was busy in her office when Stephanie Perry, human resources director, phoned to give her the good news.
“I’d been on vacation and had just got back to work when the phone rang,” Hileman said. “It was Stephanie Perry and she told me about the award. I was very stunned. I had no idea so I kept asking her if she was sure.”
Each year one classified staff member at UVa-Wise is selected to receive the award along with colleagues from the University of Virginia. Letters of nomination are accepted from faculty and staff, with an awards committee making the final decision on the winner.
Hileman, who receives a $1,000 cash award, will be honored along with other award winners in a ceremony in Charlottesville.