LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the May and June Employees of the Month:
Name: Sean Hadley
Title: Lab safety specialist in Environmental Health & Safety
What that means: In that role, Sean Hadley provides support and assistance to the EHS Lab Safety Program manager in carrying out the campuswide laboratory safety program specific to general lab safety, chemical hygiene and biosafety. Hadley is part of a lab safety team conducting laboratory safety assessments, monitoring, auditing and compliance assurance inspections. Over the last couple of years, Hadley’s position has evolved into the coordinator of EHS efforts in information and training development on the EHS website and the EHS Blackboard training site.
Hadley recognizes that mere compliance is not the path to safety excellence, and he consistently "upsells" EHS customers. Customers may request access to a particular training module, and Hadley ends up working with them to build a Blackboard page with all the courses they will need.
Hadley employs a range of skills and experiences above and beyond normal job responsibilities to make the university Blackboard Safety Training initiative a success: Twenty-plus years of experience in university safety management; hands-on education experience as a grade school teacher; technical expertise in web-page development and experience in online training development.
Hadley has taken it on himself to acquire a skill set that is critical to the success of the EHS department, even though it is outside of his job duties, and has helped build a remarkable catalog of training materials. These materials include exercises, tests and certificates of completion integrated into a seamless module that is easily navigated. Hadley has accomplished this while fulfilling his job duties.
Hadley has never been known to refuse to help anyone. He is a gentleman and is respectful to everyone. He has taken the initiative to continue the development of the Blackboard system because of the benefit to both EHS and KU. Hadley understands that helping the university excel in any area will raise all areas.
Name: Beth Kelley
Title: Administrative associate for the University Honors Program
Notable: For the program, Beth Kelley provides support for the various reception, clerical and scheduling needs of the unit. Her position is a "key ambassador" as she is the first contact for students, faculty, staff and the general public.
Kelley is responsible for managing the front office, answering calls, scheduling meetings, managing calendars, purchasing supplies, overseeing and directing of work for student hourly positions, and assisting with UHP co-curricular and academic events. She also oversees classroom technology to ensure that UHP instructors have the technology they need to teach their courses.
She possesses all of the attributes of a consummate professional: She is caring, sensitive, responsible, personable, respectful, helpful and just an overall outstanding employee. Her interactions with people are professional, collegial and always conducted in a caring and supportive manner. She engages in effective and productive communication. She treats every individual with courtesy and respect, keeps her composure under stress and accepts constructive criticism in a productive and respectful manner.
All of Kelley’s interactions are predicated with a sense of helping others. She is the pivotal force that provides the glue to the Honors Program. Kelley ensures that events have been planned thoroughly and that all who are invited feel welcomed. She is also the person who really has the pulse on how students within UHP are doing — so much so that Kelley has been able to reach out and connect with students at extremely critical periods in their lives. At least once or twice a semester, Kelley is sought out by students in a time of crisis because they know that they can feel safe with her, and that she and the program stand behind UHP’s beliefs: to be of service to students while challenging them to launch extraordinary lives.
Kelley brings warmth and love to Nunemaker Center and to the students and faculty whom the program serves. UHP is equated with being open, inclusive, accepting and caring. Kelley exemplifies these attributes daily in her interactions with all those who she serves.
Name: Catherine Johnson
Title: Director of the Americans with Disabilities Act Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility in Human Resources Management
What that means: Catherine Johnson’s office processes all employee, faculty, student hourly, temporary employee and faculty accommodation requests. She works with departments across campus to ensure accessibility standards are maintained and that anyone with a disability can have equal access on campus. Johnson works with the Office of the Provost and other offices around campus to help create policies and procedures that are inclusive of those who may have a disability.
Notable: Johnson became the director of the ADA Resource Center in January 2016, and since that time she has reinvented and shaped the office into what it is now. Johnson worked hard to overhaul the Hawk Route, the accessible route to travel through campus by updating signs, creating interactive maps, audio descriptions and videos. She created the Lunchtime Conversations on Equity and Inclusion, which brings together a wide variety of campus members and individuals from the community to discuss inclusion and access-related topics. Johnson brought Haben Girma, a disability rights lawyer, to KU for the annual Disability Employment Awareness Month. She has created new policies and formed partnerships that have helped create a better environment for students who have disabilities, staff who have disabilities and even for visitors to campus. Most recently she worked to create the Event Accessibility and Accommodation Policy, which articulates the requirements for KU-sponsored events and events on campus to be meaningfully accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Johnson has her juris doctor and is a national expert on disability issues with unparalleled expertise on the ADA, yet she has great humility. Every employee who puts in a formal request for a reasonable accommodation request is treated with the same level of respect, confidentiality and fairness. Johnson never takes the easy route. She goes above and beyond to ensure that any employee request is worked as expediently as possible. Johnson shows great integrity, determination and grit in her efforts to ensure that anyone who has a disability can come to the KU campus and enjoy equal access to live, work, learn and play.
Name: Mary Olson
Title: Assistant director for Parking & Transit
What that means: In that role, Mary Olson oversees the business office and is responsible for programming and maintenance of the parking management software.
Notable: While Olson has designated responsibilities within Parking & Transit, she is known as a true “jack of all trades” among the staff within the department. Whether something is her responsibility or not, she will roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty to help any way she can. Though hardware, like computers and cameras, in the parking information booths, garage gates, pay stations, and enforcement vehicles are not her direct responsibility, staff often go to her first because they know she will not hesitate to help with a smile. Olson is quick to travel to a booth to troubleshoot issues, get in a truck to figure out what is wrong with the equipment, or stand outside in the rain with an umbrella at a garage gate to load software. Olson is willing to do any task.
Those who work for Olson attest that she “is the best supervisor I have ever had the pleasure to work for,” “she has inspired me personally” and “she has shown…such gratitude and care that I don’t ever want to leave.” She respects her employees and works with everyone to make sure the team is successful, making sure they know the who, what, when, where and why so that her team can provide the best recommendations to faculty and staff for parking. She has worked with cashiers to set a rotation schedule to distribute work to prevent cashiers from feeling overworked or mistreated. She is described as a “mother hen,” especially to student hourly employees in Parking & Transit. Students from 20 years previously still keep in contact with Olson.
Olson is a master of communication. She has a way of being empathetic and warm while also conveying a message that may not be well-received. She is a “customer service goddess” as she’s able to creatively solve problems and turn a tense parking situation around. She will patiently teach, train and answer questions as she does not want to turn anyone away.