LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced Employees of the Month for September and October 2023. These staff members have made outstanding contributions to the KU community.
Winners of the Employee of the Month awards receive the following:
- A surprise visit from the provost or her designee
- A certificate of award
- A biography featured in KU Today
- A $750 gross monetary award.
Nominate an employee for this award by completing and submitting the online or paper Employee of the Month nomination form and returning it to HRM by email or fax to 785-864-5790. More information is available here.
Name: Matthew Farrier
Title: Landscape worker senior, Facilities Services
Matthew Farrier has been working with the University of Kansas since October 2019, and since then he has taken every opportunity available to learn and grow in his role, reflecting the university’s values. As a landscape worker, Farrier is responsible for landscaping arboriculture and works as part of the grounds crew for the university.
Farrier is a strong communicator. He is patient and ensures he is fully understood regardless of the situation, especially regarding safety, and this has been a huge asset to his team. His line of work is often strenuous and requires that he and his team wear a variety of PPE with which to operate heavy machinery. It can be very difficult to communicate effectively in this situation as the PPE can often hamper hearing and vision, but even without words, Farrier is always able to convey exactly what he means. He never takes chances with safety, going above and beyond to make the campus as safe an environment as possible for not only the students he serves, but also his co-workers and the many staff and faculty who work at the university. He emphasizes the importance of knowledge of safety protocols and leads by example.
Farrier’s care for his co-workers and the students he serves is evident in the time he puts into his work. He consistently shows initiative and passion for learning more about campus horticulture and arboriculture to expand his capacity within his role and give back to his team and the KU community. Matthew is actively pursuing both an ISA Arborist Certification as well as a CDL Class B license to operate an Altec bucket truck with no incentive except the love of learning itself and for the benefit of his team and the university. A colleague has this to say about him: “Matthew takes great care when it comes to the health and future of the trees across campus. Take a stroll down Jayhawk Boulevard, and you can see his work firsthand.”
Name: Dan McCarthy
Title: Assistant director, Jayhawk Academic Advising
Dan McCarthy supports advisers and students across many programs, including the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the School of Education & Human Sciences. He has been working with KU since 2005, initially as an adviser. In his current role, McCarthy serves as a leader and mentor, working closely with the Jayhawk Academic Advising team. McCarthy’s advising roots are deep on this campus, and through the years, he's taken on many roles within the advising community, solidifying his reputation.
McCarthy has always been a uniquely talented adviser. He easily establishes rapport with students and actively works to support their academic goals and to amplify otherwise marginalized voices. He is identified by those he supervises as kind, funny, intuitive and empathetic. McCarthy elevated his initial role of student adviser within weeks of hire due to his willingness to find solutions for complex situations, never turning anyone away. He consistently volunteered for new opportunities, taking on new roles within the advising community including programming, presenting, teaching, tabling and providing guidance to his peers. McCarthy now leads the team, providing guidance to fellow advisers and striving to make everyone feel welcome.
McCarthy personifies the best of his department. He takes the time to get to know his students and faculty members on a personal level. He looks at the whole person rather than just the requirements needed for graduation or checkboxes on a job description. He has celebrated students’ successes and cried alongside them when they've struggled and is very understanding of the needs of students and employees alike. McCarthy is an excellent leader and collaborator, but most of all, he genuinely cares about the students and staff at KU. His colleague has this to say about him: “Everyone in the School of Journalism & Mass Communications would be ecstatic for Dan receiving such a well-deserved award, and the folks in Jayhawk Academic Advising surely would, too. I know his advising team would be overjoyed. I cannot think of a more deserving person for this honor.”
Name: Maria Losito
Title: Communications coordinator, KU Undergraduate Biology Program
Maria Losito has been with KU for two years, and she is responsible for the program’s social media as well as various outreach and communications with faculty, staff and students. She also assists faculty and staff with media and audio/visual issues in the classroom and helps organize departmental events. Losito has stepped into this role with ease and style, becoming a vibrant member of the team with her contribution of creative ideas and innovative ways to connect with students.
Losito has been instrumental in creating community throughout the biology program. Her creativity, work and diligence has led to the creation of new departmental events, such as the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em March Madness Tournament. Losito’s contributions include creating sketches for the redesign of the outdoor space at Haworth and the creation of several pieces of art for the BioCenter for Collaborative Learning. She helped create graphic branding for the program and has incorporated these elements in a variety of ways, from fliers for prospective students to designing T-shirts, as well as creating lapel pins for their biology honors graduates. With little input from the leadership team, Losito started successful Instagram and Twitter pages for the unit, publishing content that allows faculty to share their research with incoming students. The introduction of these communal spaces and new ways of building interest in the department have helped students, faculty and staff to form new connections.
Losito has developed a new identity for the biology department. She drives team initiative and keeps everyone on track to succeed. Losito is easy to work with, always open to ideas and is excited to help in any way she can. Her nominator had this to say about her: “She is a wonderful colleague, and her creativity is both inspiring and motivating. She’s reliable and personable and is part of the reason the program is so successful.”
Name: Michael MacFarland
Title: Kansas Union information technology manager
Michael MacFarland oversees the information technology needs for KU Dining, KU Bookstore, Building Services and everyone else who falls under the KU Memorial Unions umbrella, and he has been with the university since 2017. MacFarland is a force for good in the union, always willing to help no matter who is having a problem. He goes above and beyond despite having a full schedule, and he takes the time to ensure staff feel heard and are offered solutions to quickly get them back on their feet.
MacFarland is known to be a friendly and dedicated employee and regularly resolves issues with his humor and tenacity alone. Over the past year he has helped KU Dining transition their point-of-sale system over to Grub Hub Ultimate and assisted in replacing 15 of the registers. Despite having many growing pains and delays occur during these projects, MacFarland was able to keep internal and external staff engaged and up to date on progress. He is described as always eager to jump in and research issues, ready to tackle anything placed before him.
As MacFarland’s colleague puts it, “It’s mostly all of the little moments that show how truly incredible Mike is.” He has impressed many of his fellow associates with his diligence, successfully navigating his multifaceted position while operating as a one-person team. MacFarland is patient and committed and is known to thoughtfully act in the university’s best interest. Another co-worker said, “I feel incredibly lucky to have Mike as a colleague and a member of the union team. He works so hard for this building all while making people smile, laugh and feel special in their roles here. I couldn’t think of a more deserving person for Employee of the Month.”