Russell Weldon | Ensuring Learning Resources to Students Who Need Drives Me

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 22, 2020
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Russell Idon shares what drives him to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
I lost my dad back in 2010. I had always respected his work, in that he had owned his own pharmacy in a small Alabama town for over forty years. I watched night and day as he helped the community he served with long hours, straightforward advice, and genuine empathy and concern for his customers. I think back to his advice and his life often; he wanted to serve with everything he did professionally and carved out a place in the heart of my little hometown as he did it. The entire community knew Mr. Jimmy, and as his son, I knew the man behind the reputation was just as serious and dedicated to those around him as he appeared. So in choosing my professional path, I found my way to a role where I would follow my Dad's example. I began my work at Auburn University in the Bookstore learning about an industry that had a lot of similarities to that of my Dad's profession. There were serious challenges of accessibility, affordability and choice but huge benefits to finding the right solution for those I would serve. The world of course materials selection and management has become my chance to work for change and find a way to serve all those around me. We've now achieved savings for Auburn students of almost $10 million dollars on the outright costs of their instructor's selected materials over the last decade. I've led the initiative to become an academic champion that prides itself on serving faculty as a resource while advocating strongly for the student in the same conversation. This conversation introduced better outcomes to campus through one of the largest and fastest growing inclusive programs in the country. Faculty find that having extra resources and help to jumpstart their semester produces superior results. I act as a personal liason for over 300 faculty every term as they integrate into the LMS and as their students face technology questions. Faculty don't have to be technical experts to succeed in a digital classroom, because I'll be behind the scenes waiting. I have helped exceed expectations in service by being available for students however and whenever they need help. Students have mentioned repeatedly that it is refreshing not to have to wait until the next business day to get help. I work to communicate with students so their success is never in jeopardy, even if that means non-traditional hours and methods. I've also learned that having personal service and complete transparency around the mission goals of affordability and accessibility for students has brought them into a greater relationship with our store and with campus. I have had countless emails from students telling me they appreciate being able to talk to someone on campus, and someone they know cares about their issue. I've even received emails from students about all kinds of campus needs, even requesting advice on decisions about their major. It turns out that Dad prepared me with everything that I would need.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?