LAWRENCE — Two staff members in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Kansas received the first Staff Excellence Awards from the College.
The honorees are Liz Coleman, executive program associate in the Department of Chemistry, and Erin Herschell, program coordinator in the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center. Coleman and Herschell were recognized as the first Staff Excellence Award winners at the College’s Staff Appreciation Reception on Nov. 21. They also receive a cash prize.
In nomination materials, Coleman was described as the “consummate professional,” who manages work efficiently and addresses complicated issues quickly and independently. She is known in the chemistry department for working well with colleagues and helping the department feel welcoming to all. She steps in when needed and without asking to make sure the department runs smoothly. This was especially helpful during recent staff transitions when longtime staff colleagues retired and a new chair assumed leadership of the department. In sum, “Our department simply would not be the same without her.”
Herschell was recognized for managing a complex array of tasks and constituents for the Child Development Center. Her position involves coordinating the efforts of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and staff to provide services to about 60 preschool-aged children and their families. She is also the primary contact with school districts, insurance companies and the state licensing board. Amid all this complexity, nominators said, she excels in managing difficult situations and regularly puts in place new procedures or processes to anticipate future challenges. One nominator said, “Often, I reflect on how lucky we are to have Erin as the program coordinator in the CDC. She is a shining star.”
In total, 23 staff members in the College were nominated for the award by staff, faculty and students. The nominations were reviewed based on nominees’ work ethic, excellence in job duties, contributions to a positive and collegial work environment, and promotion of values such as adaptability, customer focus, inclusiveness and innovation.
The other nominees were as follows:
- Heather Anderson, assistant director of communications and recruitment, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Liz Barton, senior undergraduate academic adviser for behavioral neuroscience and psychology, College Advising & Student Services
- Megan Belaire, graduate academic adviser for chemistry, College Office of Graduate Affairs
- Lindsey Deaver, associate director, Undergraduate Biology Program
- Adam Dubinsky, research analyst, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Lisa Hamblen, senior undergraduate academic adviser for environmental studies, geography & atmospheric science and geology, College Advising & Student Services
- Edward Healy, senior academic adviser, University Honors Program
- Kirsten Hermreck, graduate academic adviser for psychology, College Office of Graduate Affairs
- Diana Koslowsky, administrative officer, School of Public Affairs & Administration
- Morgan Mathews, retention and data support manager, College Advising & Student Services
- John McCluskey, assistant technical director, Department of Film & Media Studies
- Joseph Meinecke, lab and studio coordinator, Department of Visual Art
- Sylvia Meulener, administrative and communications assistant, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
- Kate Pleskac, graduate academic adviser for economics, College Office of Graduate Affairs
- Gloria Prothe, office manager, Department of Mathematics
- Terri Rockhold, administrative associate, Department of American Studies
- Bonnie Schafer, administrative associate, Psychological Clinic
- Kayla Wegley, undergraduate coordinator, Department of Physics & Astronomy
- Ramia Whitecotton, facilities manager, Lindley Hall
- Lori Whitten, administrative associate senior, Department of English
- Megan Wilson, senior graduate academic adviser for political science and women, gender & sexuality studies, College Office of Graduate Affairs
The Staff Excellence Award and Staff Appreciation Reception were developed through recommendations of the College’s Staff Advisory Board. The awards process and reception were managed by the College Staff Awards and Recognition Workgroup:
- Morgan Baumann (workgroup chair), data and records coordinator, University Honors Program
- Margaret Brumberg, business manager, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Amanda Contreras, undergraduate program administrator and office manager, Department of History
- Denise Farmer, student success coach, College Outreach & Online Programs
- Cindy Sexton, assistant to the chair and office manager, Department of Psychology
- Susan Teague, business manager, Department of Chemistry
- Lindsay Wrigley, laboratory coordinator, Undergraduate Biology Program
- Amanda Burghart, executive assistant, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
The College is the heart of KU, educating the most students, producing the most research and collaborating with nearly every entity at KU. The College is home to more than 50 departments, programs and centers, as well as the School of the Arts, School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures and School of Public Affairs & Administration.
Photo: Pictured (left to right): Erin Herschell, Interim Dean John Colombo and Liz Coleman.