President's Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
A Heart of Service
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” according to Mahatma Gandhi. If that is true, then Associate Professor of Communication, Coordinator of e-Learning and this year’s recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service Amber Narro is in a continuous loop of lost and found.
“Service is certainly my favorite responsibility at Southeastern,” she said. “I incorporate it into every aspect of my job and life. It is part of who I am at my core, and I embrace the opportunities Southeastern has to make it a major part of my career.”
Narro’s service on campus began with student organizations. She has worked with the Communication and Media Studies’s Press Club for nearly a decade and has accompanied multiple groups of students to the Southeast Journalism Conference. She has also served as the president and vice-president of the conference, as well as co-chair of its Best of the South competition with its approximately 600 annual entries.
As president, she steered Southeastern to host the 2010 conference, and under her tutelage, Southeastern students won the Journalism Championship in 2013.
Narro has also served on multiple university committees, including the university’s Active Alumni, Website Refresh and Rock n’ Roar committees. She chaired the Department of Communication and Media Studies’s Curriculum Committee, leading the effort to revamp the curriculum while accomplishing the state’s requirement to adjust each degree plan to 120 hours.
Narro also served as liaison between the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association. This year, she is part of the University Planning Council.
For the past decade, Narro has coordinated a study abroad group to England, providing approximately 100 students with the opportunity to learn history, theater and communication in London.
“In addition to duties of teaching and preparing activities in London, I also coordinate a day trip to another country. I want the students to understand how small and culture rich other countries are, and how close they are to each other,” she said.
Narro’s service extends beyond the university as well. For 15 years, she served on the Board of Directors for Options, a local non-profit agency that supports adults with developmental disabilities. As a past president of the board, she worked with the organization during a time that was just as financially challenging for state-funded organizations as it was for universities. She chaired the Options Telethon Committee for many years and helped raise over $100,000 each year since 2004.
“Amber Narro has a heart of service,” said President and CEO of Options Sylvia Bush. “She has been advocating for people with disabilities since she was in elementary school, and she champions Options in the community by giving formal presentations on our behalf.”
“People with disabilities are my favorite population. They allow me to appreciate what I have as they demonstrate dedication, effort and a positive attitude,” Narro said. “I strive to demonstrate this attitude in my work.”
In addition to Options, Narro’s work extends to others in need. After the 2016 flood, she organized approximately 200 students, staff and volunteers through “Lion Strong” efforts to help local residents gut flooded homes and begin the flood recovery process. She compiled lists of homeowners’ needs and entered the information in CrisisCleanup.org, a website accessed by disaster relief organizations, to help coordinate cleanup efforts.
Narro also serves on the board of Hammond’s Smokin’ BBQ Challenge, which funds local non-profits, is a board member of the Ginger Ford Fuller Center for Housing, is the finance chair for Junior Auxiliary, and is a member of both the Greater Hammond and Ponchatoula chambers of commerce.
“As a colleague of mine, I have seen first-hand the tremendous amount of service Dr. Narro has given to our university,” said Graduate Coordinator of the Organizational Communication Master’s Program Joe Burns. “Her desire to work with students, the community, Faculty Senate and distance education shows a strong interest in the future of not only our students, but the university as well.”