LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced its Employees of the Month for October 2013-March 2014, who are under consideration along with April-September 2013 honorees to be named the Employee of the Year at the annual recognition ceremony, which will be at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, in the Kansas Union Ballroom.
In addition to recognition of the Employee of the Month honorees, service pins are given to five- through 15-year honorees, and gifts are given to honorees with 20-50 years of service. Honorees, faculty and staff, and family members are invited to attend a reception that follows.
Previously published: April, David Wanner and Jim Hartzell; May, Ronald Wroczynski and Penny Kellum; June, Laurie Funk and Andrew Hause; July, Sandra Lollis and Ken Nelson; August, Kevin Lee and Robert Mills; September, Michele Arellano and Ash Shadrick.
University Unclassified Employee of the Month for October 2013
Name: Cathy Johnson
Start date: 1997
Current title: Business manager for Transportation Research Institute
What that means: Johnson handles all financial transactions for the Institute, including preparation of budgets for proposals, editing the financial section of proposals, clearing and posting of all charges to contracts, credit card billing and posting, purchase orders for equipment, student grants and salaries, travel arrangements and reimbursements. Whether a research funding proposal is large or small, Johnson and her team have always been helpful. She has provided guidance on writing the proposals, contacts for input to the proposals, and helped with estimating the funding for the proposals.
Notable: Johnson is an extremely dedicated employee and has the ability to stay calm and fix any problem. Staff and faculty have noted they see Johnson in her office many evenings after 5 p.m. and on weekends. She is a true professional who takes pride in doing the right thing. She takes her position seriously and is able to deal with all the unique personalities one finds at a university setting. She is the type of person that figures out a way to help a faculty member or student to do something that cannot be done as initially conceived, but determines how it can be done another way. Johnson goes to great lengths to make sure their needs for payroll appointments, tuition sponsorships, purchasing and travel arrangements are met with ease and in a timely manner.
University Support Staff Employee of the Month for October 2013
Name: Jeff Worth
Start date: 2007
Current title: Electronics technologist for the Department of Physics & Astronomy
What that means: In his position, Worth supports faculty, staff and students in the department by designing, maintaining and repairing electronic instrumentation and modifying existing equipment. He also maintains the nanoscience cleanroom and provides training procedures and tests for all personnel before they are admitted to the cleanroom. Jeff instructs graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, technicians, research assistants and others in the maintenance and use of electronic instruments throughout the department's labs.
Notable: Worth is an extremely dedicated employee and has the ability to fix any problem with significant savings to the university. When a $150,000 surface profiler in the department was in need of repair, causing the delay of various research projects, he was able to fix the profiler. While he was extremely busy with several other projects, Worth decided to spend some time in early mornings or late afternoons to step-by-step diagnose the problem. What the vendor couldn’t do in three visits and with $25,000, he was able to do in about a week with $30. Worth did an excellent job in supporting research mission of the department and KU over the past year. In particular, he identified and fixed an alpha stepper and the X-Ray diffractometer in KUCR's imaging lab which has been down for several years. By fixing these pieces of equipment Worth has not only saved researchers invaluable time but also several tens of thousands dollars for KU. This last year he was been a great help as an instructor when he took over a sick colleague’s job and set up physics demonstrations in a wide range of classrooms. He not only did this for classes but also helped the Society of Physics Students bring physics demonstrations to four local grade schools.
University Support Staff Employee of the Month for November 2013
Name: Delmar “Moe” Henley
Start Date: 2003
Current title: Facility Services Worker Zone 5
What that means: Henley does maintenance work for the student-housing department and is able to do anything from relamping to plumbing work. He is always willing to answer the phone when needed, even over holidays, and can be counted on in any emergency.
Notable: Henley is always willing to help and always willing to learn new skills and try new things. He is a go-to guy in any situation, from relamping to clogged sewer lines. He is talented and can solve any problem. An example of this was over the summer when there was a plumbing problem in Stauffer Place. The crew had been trying to fix it for several hours and called Henley’s supervisor to get advice. He told them to call Henley. Henley was called after hours and went over. He had it fixed in 15 minutes. He is always willing to help, even though this was out of hours and out of zone.
University Unclassified Employee of the Month for November 2013
Name: Dr. Pavika Saripalli
Current title: Chief of Staff at KU’s Student Health Services
What that means: She leads the medical staff at KU’s Student Health Services, doing both medical and administrative work, to make sure the needs of all other medical providers are met. She has been a huge factor in the accreditation process for the health center, working overtime to review policy details, editing as needed and making sure all details are in place.
Notable: Dr. Saripalli took over as chief of staff in response to an urgent need and has guided the medical staff through a tough time. Throughout this time, Dr. Saripalli has been a stabilizing force, providing objective leadership in a compassionate manner. One example of Dr. Saripalli going beyond is the special attention she has given a student with challenging medical and psychological issues. Dr. Saripalli worked with the patient and helped find resources both on campus and in the community. She stuck with the student helping her until the student no longer qualified for care at student health. She always stays within the SHS policy guidelines but is very compassionate and gives excellent medical care.
University Unclassified Employee of the Month for December 2013
Name: Anne Sawyer
Start date: 2007
Current title: Executive assistant to the Dean at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
What that means: Sawyer manages general office operations of the Dean’s Office and supervises support staff. She also serves as secretary to the College Assembly and provides administrative support to the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion & Tenure, the College Academic Council and the Committee on the Evaluation of Chairs & Directors. Dean Danny Anderson, the College Dean’s Office collectively and the large network of departments that make up the College (almost two-thirds of the campus) all depend upon her in some different way, and she not only helps all staff be successful, but she always goes the extra mile to listen to a concern, solve a problem, and remind everyone of the value of laughter in keeping a balanced perspective.
Notable: The College participated in the establishment of the first Shared Service Center beginning in summer 2012, and Anne has played a central role coordinating meetings, tracking communications and helping ensure that the right people were prepared for the next step throughout the entire process. She embodies the spirit of being able to lead from the position one occupies. Her influence in the process of launching the SSC has been significant, and she is Anderson’s “ghost writer” and collaborator in reviewing and revising all communications about the SSC for the College. She brings intelligence, enthusiasm and commitment to the task of accomplishing its mission.
University Support Staff Employee of the Month for January 2014
Name: Regina Sherrill
Start date: 2009
Current title: Office manager for the International Student Services
What that means: Regina is responsible for the daily management of the International Student Services. She also assists the director and other staff members, monitors the departmental financials and maintains the departmental personnel files. She is challenged to work with many staff and students, every type of personality and position, representing many diverse cultures and language groups. She is the “go to” person in the International Student Services Office for every detail that requires interface with numerous and complex university systems from payroll to purchase, to facilities to budget.
Notable: In August as ISS was preparing to receive more than 350 new international students for orientation, Sherrill planned out the physical space for all of the stations that were needed, including areas for waiting in lines and the flow of traffic in the ballroom. The night before the event she received a phone call saying the data ports on the wall needed for the IT stations were not functional and could not be functional for the event. She spent the night redesigning the placement of all stations to put the IT stations where the working data ports were and still kept the traffic flow functional. At the end of the day, the ISS staff agreed that the event had gone smoother than ever before.
University Unclassified Employee of the Month for January 2014
Name: Lois Weldon
Start date: 1981
Current title: Research aide at the Beach Center on Disability
What that means: She works in the role of administrative support for Ann and Rud Turnbull. She has been responsible for the production of many products of the Beach Center. She has contributed to the development of countless presentations, published works, website pages, conferences and other dissemination products and events.
Notable: Weldon is the person who receives the telephone calls of parents and other members of families affected by disability. These individuals are seeking individual help and problem solving. They are the ultimate beneficiaries of the Center’s work, and Weldon makes sure that they are made to feel welcome to ask for support, and she ensures that they are referred to the appropriate staff member and that the staff member timely responds to their requests. She is a “first responder” and sets the welcoming tone for those whom the center serves.
University Unclassified Employee of the Month for February 2014
Name: Michael Hulet
Start date: July 1998
Current title: Senior network administrator for Information and Telecommunication Technology Center
What that means: He provides advanced computer hardware, software and network support for the operational and research needs of the center.
Notable: A specific example of Hulet’s abilities is his involvement with the implementation of a new computing facility in Nichols Hall through a grant from NIH. He and Dan DePardo designed the room initially for the proposal and then again when the grant was awarded. They interacted with both the KU administration and the contractors who executed the proposal. This $4.6 million effort was an exercise in change management and flexibility. Hulet worked the budget and design to squeeze in a new generator for the entire Nichols Hall facility. He added an ADA elevator when the stair lift initially proposed would not work. He was able to balance changing bids and prices from contractors throughout the effort and got KU the most for its research dollar. As a result of Hulet’s efforts, today there is a new computing facility that meets the needs of not only ITTC, but that of other departments at KU and KU Medical Center.
University Support Staff Employee of the Month for February 2014
Name: Laura Sellers
Current title: Central Crafts & Special Services supervisor for the Department of Facilities
What that means: As the Facilities Services project manager for Commencement preparations, Sellers is responsible for coordinating all FS Shops and preparation work in advance of this critical university event. She is directly responsible for setup of the stadium for graduation and procession. She has to identify which trades are needed to make sure everything is set up and ready for this significant annual special event. Sellers coordinates with other departments, frequently making worthwhile suggestions and readily developing ideas and solutions to problems.
Notable: She and her crew were particularly challenged this past year by a period of rain during the setup, but they adapted and innovatively covered chairs and equipment and then dried and toweled them all off to make sure the event went without a hitch, and many compliments were received by senior staff. She coordinates and communicates well, following up with customers so they know the status of their move or event setup. Laura and her staff do a great job communicating across lines to help others, including the recycling staff, athletics, individual colleges and schools for events, Student Housing, and virtually every office on campus at one point or another. During the hot summer days when furniture arrived for Jayhawker Tower C, Sellers worked right along with her staff to make sure the semi-trucks were emptied on time and furniture was assembled and ready for move in day.
University Support Staff Employee of the Month for March 2014
Name: April Huston
Start date: 2010
Current title: Cashier at the Hawk Food Stop in Strong Hall’s Rotunda
What that means: Huston handles cash, serves products and provides guest services, as well as not established duties like recording sales and items produced, monitoring waste, maintaining equipment, assisting with inventory and purchase orders.
Notable: Given the location of the Strong Hall Hawk Shop, Huston is often the first person that a visitor to the building interacts with. They ask her questions that have nothing to do with the Hawk Shop, but she does her best to answer and if she can’t answer the question, she sends them to 133 Strong Hall to get help. Huston is a good ambassador for KU: she makes everyone feel valued. She treats students, faculty, and staff with respect and kindness.
University Unclassified Employee of the Month for March 2014
Name: Daphne Johnston
Start date: 1988
Current title: Associate director of International Recruitment and Undergraduate Admissions
What that means: Johnston coordinates international student recruitment and the admission of undergraduate international students by developing and applying policies and processes, supervising international recruitment and admissions staff and day-to-day office management. She also works with KU academic departments and professional schools on recruitment and admissions matters, and she collaborates extensively with domestic and international constituencies beyond KU.
Notable: One of Johnston’s more recent accomplishments has been her role in helping to restructure and bring about a new office. ISS decoupled international admissions from international student services, added in new recruitment functions, hired three new recruitment staff after creating new positions, designed and moved into a new office, and moved to a new system for managing applications, as well as a new system for managing client (applicant) information and communications. Johnston performed beautifully, keeping staff upbeat and engaged, helping to predict potential issues and pitfalls so that they could be proactively resolved, and she helped interrogate past practices and policies so that they could be updated to enable this new operation to leverage new staff, resources, and technologies to enhance international recruitment and admission efforts. As a result, international freshman admissions for fall 2013 were up over 9 percent, and incomplete application numbers declined nearly 20 percent. IRUA expects to see a record of new international undergraduate student enrollment for fall 2014.