Four administrative staff members were presented the BG Best award at Administrative Staff Council’s April 2 spring reception. Though from different campus areas and involved in different aspects of campus life, all demonstrate “exemplary commitment to the core values of BGSU,” according to their nominators.
Honored were Becky Jaynes, manager of the Technology Store in the College of Technology; Tawn Williams-Nell, interim bursar; Richard Rowlands, research compliance officer, and Deborah Smith, executive assistant to Dr. Heinz Bulmahn, dean of the Graduate College and vice provost for research. Each received a $100 cash award and “the bird”—a Zuni owl statue.
In addition to their commitment to the core values, each embodies other of the criteria upon which the award is based. These include having implemented a new program or idea to benefit the BGSU community; improved the quality of programs or services on campus; shown an outstanding commitment to BGSU by their voluntary involvement in campus or community activities, and provided excellent customer service to the BGSU community.
The last standard was particularly cited by Jaynes’ nominators. As the person responsible for locating and stocking every item needed by students and faculty in the technology college, she is in charge of a warehouse stacked floor to ceiling with goods of every sort, from pilot headsets to X-acto blades. Not only does she purchase and keep track of every item, she “saves students a lot of time and money,” according to her nominators, by ordering supplies in bulk and assembling lab course packets so students don’t have to shop multiple vendors to obtain the equipment necessary.
“Faculty depend on her to keep their labs supplied with the appropriate consumable materials and their research projects on track,” they added. And she does all this good-naturedly and with personal attention to each customer. “Students and faculty would be lost were it not for her,” said her colleague Linda Swaisgood in presenting the award.
Jaynes “respects and acknowledges equally the worth of students, faculty, administration and staff,” her nominators said.
“Everybody wants her as a member of their search committee because she has such valuable insight into human nature and is especially adept at identifying people’s strengths and weaknesses,” they wrote. In addition, “she has routinely assisted with the college’s Family Campaign activities and is a leader in promoting college spirit.” With her “excellent communication skills, organizational skills and excellent problem-solving abilities,” they wrote, the word that best describes her is “quality.”
As interim bursar, Williams-Nell also demonstrates excellent customer service, her supporters said. Stepping into the role when former Bursar Nancy Colsman moved to the PeopleSoft implementation project last September, Williams-Nell was confronted with four imminent, large changes to the way the office’s activities were conducted, including the end of “bursaring” of campus purchases by faculty and staff and a different method of disbursing certain financial aid refunds, along with personnel shifts resulting from the PeopleSoft move. “Tawn has taken all these projects head-on,” said presenter Lynn Huber.
In addition to getting “up to speed” with all the projects under way, “she has spent many, many hours here after work and on weekends to insure these projects are being completed,” her nominators wrote. She has had to update and train the staff in her office in the new procedures and has coordinated with numerous other offices on campus, as well as communicating with students, staff and faculty.
Despite the challenge of the tremendous workload and the new set of issues she faces, “she continues to have a positive attitude and an open door to anyone who has a question, needs help or just wants to say hello,” according to her nominators. “She is a leader in all aspects and someone we all look up to.”
Dr. Montana Miller, popular culture, composed a poem to nominate Richard Rowlands, who ensures that research projects involving human subjects are in compliance with all regulations. She wrote:
From tenured professor to graduate student/ We’ve all got our research in mind./ But who’s to make sure that we’re ethically prudent/ Collecting the data we find?/ Protecting our subjects, we know, is essential/ But HSRB forms confuse…/ Is our study “anonymous,” or “confidential”?/ These terms aren’t the same; which to choose?/ “Exempt,” “expedited,” or “full board review”?/ What risks might participants face?/ Must written consent be obtained, and from whom?/ Is an Internet site “public space”?/ In our quest for approval, we wonder and worry/ And fret that this process will stall us/ From starting our projects—we’re in such a hurry!/ One man offers guidance and solace:/ South Hall 201 is the kingdom where Rich’s/ Experienced, competent hand/ Is a steadying force, smoothing over the glitches/ To help us achieve what we’ve planned./ By phone, fax and email, he keeps every ball/ In the air; from Pop Culture to Science,/ He knows every field, and he counsels them all,/ Gently steering us into compliance./ I’ve watched him run meetings; I’ve heard him receive/ Call for help from all over the campus./ So efficient is Rich, it is hard to believe/ How much work every IRB stamp is./ I notice each day the profound contribution/ He makes—and I only wish more did./ If research is valued at our institution,/ Then Rich should be richly rewarded.
In spring 2004, the Graduate Council charged an ad hoc committee to research the issues and benefits of electronic submission of graduate student theses and dissertations (ETD). From that first step, Smith has taken a leadership role in the process, first of forming a recommendation, which was to mandate electronic submission, and then to develop, coordinate and implement the new initiative, which went into effect in fall 2005.
According to Bulmahn, her nominator, “We pride ourselves on being student-friendly and helping our students make progress toward their degree. Deb mentors them as they go along.”
“In the spirit of customer service,” he wrote, “Deb created a Web site for ETDs and their submission. She created a set of templates to aid graduate students in the correct formatting of their manuscripts, as well as making updates to the Thesis and Dissertation Handbook and Graduate Catalog to conform with the new requirement.” She has continually worked to refine the process and provide training, both individually and through group sessions.
The ETDs benefit graduate students and the University, Bulmahn said, in a number of ways, from increasing students’ knowledge of digital libraries to enhanced sharing of information.
This year, Smith became one of the founding members of the Ohio Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association, serving on the executive board. “Her involvement in the state organization is evidence of her willingness to build inter-university collaborations,” according to Bulmahn, and her ongoing efforts have enhanced the graduate learning community.