In room 178 of Fresno State’s McLane Hall, the room is a constant buzz of activity as students, staff and faculty step in and out of the doors of the dean’s office of the College of Health and Human Services.
Through all the excitement, one aspect remains constant – and that is Sue Shaw, who has been with the dean’s office in one position or another for the past 18 years.
Dependable by nature, Shaw has always been at the center of the organized chaos – putting out fires, getting tasks completed and ensuring things run smoothly not just for the dean, but for the college as a whole. The task is a tough one, but she has consistently done it all with ease, grace and a positive attitude – followed by a friendly smile.
After nearly two decades with the College of Health and Human Services, Shaw will embark on a new role on campus that takes her away from the academic setting and more in an administrative role.
In her new position, Shaw will serve as a project manager with the Division of Administrative Services for the Office of the Vice President of Administration, under the direction of Debbie Adishian-Astone.
It will be a welcome change for Shaw, who says the new challenge will come with its own set of rewards.
“It’s a totally different area of campus that I’ve never worked in before,” said Shaw. “But what I look forward to most is learning new things and being able to contribute to campus in a different way and getting to know more people.”
No matter where Shaw goes on campus, one thing is certain – she is proud to work at Fresno State and with a University whose staff and faculty she considers a home away from home.
“I just like being in an educational setting, especially one like Fresno State where the environment is so positive and diverse,” said Shaw.
Although she’s called Fresno home for many years, the agricultural nature of the Central Valley does not differ much from her upbringing in New Zealand, having grown up in a small farming town an hour away from Whakatane. She, along with her parents and three siblings, lived and worked on a dairy farm. When she was 15, the family packed up and moved to Australia.
From interacting with administrative support staff and seasoned faculty to eager students, Shaw has always exuded hard work and perseverance – all facets instilled in her at a young age.
When staff and faculty were asked to describe Shaw, words like reliable, caring, consistent, thoughtful and proud were among the many positive words. But for Shaw, the ability to help others in her current role, has been the most rewarding aspect.
Shaw arrived in Fresno in 1997 with husband, Ben, whom she originally met in the coastal town of Santa Cruz. Ben, a pilot, ended up taking a job in Fresno at the time thinking their stay in the Valley was only temporary, but now over 20 years later, they are proud to call Fresno their home, along with daughter Ariana (14), son Jett (10) and new puppy, Ace.
For Shaw, who always wanted to work in the education field, a job opportunity at Fresno State was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. In December 1997, she officially became a part of the bulldog family – serving as the administrative assistant and later administrative support coordinator in what was then the Department of Nursing.
Three years later, she joined the dean’s office of the College of Health and Human Services and in her nearly 18 years with the dean’s office, Shaw has worked under the direction of three different deans, including Dr. Ben Cuellar, Dr. Andrew Hoff and now Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau.
“Each dean I’ve worked with has allowed me to grow and learn – and has had more faith in me than I’ve even had in myself,” said Shaw. “I’ve always felt my role was to support them and help them and the college be successful.”
For four years, Shaw has worked closely alongside Dean Jody Hironaka-Juteau and says among the many things she’ll miss about the college, is the opportunity to work for Hironaka-Juteau.
“I’ve been able to learn so much from her as a leader and her ability to be open to challenges and not being afraid to tackle difficult situations as they arise,” said Shaw. “Oh – and also her sense of fun and spontaneity. She’ll whip a song out of nowhere!”
Hironaka-Juteau says the feeling is mutual.
“Sue’s departure is a huge loss,” said Hironaka-Juteau. “Her strong technical skills and genuine care and support for others have contributed greatly to strengthening and shaping the College of Health and Human Services. Her contributions will continue to be felt for years to come. ”
Even with a packed schedule – with each day a new adventure she says – Shaw makes it a point to stay connected on campus where she’s participated in Administrative Academy and currently with the President’s Leadership Academy. The chance to continually learn and grow has shaped who she is.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in New Zealand, Shaw always envisioned returning to college for her master’s degree. It was a journey that was a long-time coming, but she’s now proud to say that in just a couple of short months, she’ll receive her master’s degree in Education (Higher Education, Administration and Leadership pathway) from the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at Fresno State.
It is just one more achievement in a long list to check off for Shaw, who is looking forward to exciting changes in the horizon. However, the College of Health and Human Services will always hold a special spot in her heart.
“I’ve loved it here,” said Shaw. “I really have. I’ll miss everyone here, but will value the friendships I’ve made. It’s such a great college to work for. I can honestly tell you that when I started here, I did not plan on staying for 20 years – yet here I am! Where did the time go?”
Please join the College of Health and Human Services on March 23, from 2-4 p.m. in McLane Hall, Room 193, as we thank Sue Shaw for her 20 tremendous years of service to the college. Messages to Shaw, whose last day in CHHS is March 23, can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.