LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the July 2018 Employees of the Month. They are as follows:
Name: Laura Diede
Title: Interim director of the Center for Online and Distance Learning
What that means: While serving as interim director, Diede also continues to perform her regular responsibilities as assistant director of the center, and her staff agree that she is performing both exceptionally. In those roles, she is in charge of course evaluations for online courses, test proctoring and the captioning of online course videos, and as interim director, she is now supervising the instructional design and media production for online/hybrid courses. Diede additionally works with departments and schools on campus to identify new online courses, certificates and degree programs.
Notable: In her role as interim director, “She is admired for taking on this additional administrator’s responsibility while maintaining a calm and trustworthy demeanor. Because of this our department has been able to move forward and continue to grow as team,” staff members say. At the time Diede took on those responsibilities, she was in the middle of launching a new evaluation program for online courses. All summer she worked at learning the new system and customizing it to KU’s needs. The course evaluations have been a success, and even instructors of face-to-face courses are asking Diede to conduct their class evaluations.
In her dual role, she now supervises 11 full-time staff members and five part-time student workers. In addition to all the work Diede is doing for both roles, she makes everyone she supervises feel listened to and cared for, no matter how busy she is. She takes the time to find professional development opportunities for staff members, which align with their interests and the goals of the department. Diede has also asked for department input regarding how best to use resources and services. She values the “voices” of department staff and considers all opinions before making commitments.
Diede has a very strong work ethic, staying until late at night and working on weekends and vacation time to get work done. Although she is doing the work of two people, she stays on top of all of her work and completes everything before it is due. She is a role model for her staff.
Name: Sharon Riley
Title: Organizational development coordinator, KU Libraries
What that means: Riley’s work includes staff development, organization development, training design and delivery, KU Libraries learning management system administration, coaching and talent management, analysis of work engagement, analysis of processes and data, and providing leadership guidance for faculty and staff. The work Riley performs aligns with what she does best, which is helping people be their best.
Notable: In the last year, Riley worked on her own to attain ACC (Associated Certified Coach) Certification through the International Coach Federation and created a coaching service for faculty and staff that has been very successful as a method of development. Riley took over and grew the Libraries Strengths program. She volunteered to learn facilitation training and has brought that effort back to KU Libraries. She has performed 20 facilitation events for various aspects of KU Libraries, ranging from diversity to strategic plans. Riley took staff mentoring, a program that was stagnant, to a new level. She created a group of mentors who she could go to with each new hire.
Riley has taken initiative in the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in KU Libraries and at the university level. She developed a Diversity 101 training and frequently is involved in bringing in speakers from across campus for staff and faculty in KU Libraries.
Riley has made herself a go-to person when it comes to those who need help the most. An employee at KU Libraries who worked with Riley said, “The coaching I did with Sharon … is the reason why I am still at KU Libraries… Sharon guided me through some tough questions. It was hard, challenging, and at times frustrating, but she stuck with me and kept me focused on what I thought I needed to do. I am forever grateful to her and her coaching skills.”