University announces October Employees of the Month

Thu, 12/01/2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the October Employees of the Month. They are as follows:

Name: Sandy Patchen

Title: Administrative associate, Public Safety Office

What that means: Patchen has been with the University of Kansas for more than 50 years. After serving many years in the Provost Office, in 2008 she joined the Public Safety Office where she provides administrative support to PSO senior management, serves as liaison for all departmental hiring interviews and exams, and assistance to visitors. Patchen uses her strong organizational skills and great sense of humor to deal with the ever-growing needs of the department. She understands the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week nature of the office and works to support all units so staff can focus on their primary responsibilities without worrying if administrative tasks will be handled properly.

Notable: The Public Safety Office is aware that their department is not one that most people want to interact with on a daily basis; however, despite this, Patchen has a strong desire to develop positive working relationships with all members of the university community. Her many responsibilities require her to work directly with all departmental units. She is equally comfortable working with office staff, administrators, front-line police officers and outside contractors. She is a model for how a team member should interact with others.

Timely and successful hires are critical to the success of the Public Safety Office, and Patchen has worked to coordinate the schedule of interviewees, investigators and members of interview boards across two campuses to facilitate the best and most thorough opportunity for interviews and screening.

Patchen ensures that employees have what they need and have the proper resources to manage their employment experience at KU. Leaders in the Public Safety Office attest they could not survive without Patchen’s diligence and attention to detail to ensure all components of the HR process are completed.


Name: Kristin Rennells

Title: Office manager, Department of Physics & Astronomy

What that means: Since Rennells joined the department about four years ago, she organized the office and delegated responsibility throughout. Any problem that arises in the department, Rennells is often the first to hear about it and the first to either suggest a solution or forward it to those who can find a solution.

Her abilities extend far beyond the office.  She is the liaison to professional staff as well as postdoctoral researchers and faculty.

Notable: Rennells helps all foreign visitors, students and faculty obtain all necessary documents. She organizes all departmentwide events, be it the yearly picnic, banquet, local, regional and national meetings, as well as the department’s graduate recruitment weekend when prospective students visit from all over North America.

Rennells’ help and leadership in organizing lab and office spaces, their maintenance and construction cannot be overly praised.  She helps new employees get settled, find furniture and in general find their way around KU and Kansas.  In addition to her nomination, 12 letters of support were submitted from faculty, students and staff within the department. They noted how Rennells’ work allows department staff and faculty to more effectively do their own jobs, that she truly cares about the success of her colleagues, and, through her efforts, “has succeeded in completely changing the dynamics of the department.” 

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