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2013 Meritorious Service Award Winner
Denise Ellis, Lead Cook, Dining Services
Denise Ellis knows how to multi-task. At times she is wearing 4 different hats. She has been witnessed making 130 box lunches, prepping for a lunch for 750, and getting three Greek houses out-going lunches ready, all at the same time, on time. Her work ethic and loyalty to UND and her beautiful, yet yummy food, has brought recognition to UND. Many departments from around campus have sent thank you notes of gratitude for the awesome cooking they've experienced. She has the ability to stage banquets, lunches, and retail sales with ease and professionalism. Denise is always willing to stay late or come in early to make sure the job get done. Even when she is not scheduled to work the weekend in catering, she makes a point to be sure that the catering is prepped and that the cook working knows where everything is and what still needs to be done. She knows all our student workers by names and loves to take the time to teach them something new and always lets them know that we are grateful for their help. She enjoys meeting all the students when serving the front line and does so with a smile. We have many families coming through the department and she will stop everything to explain where things are and personally show them what to do.
Kristin Ellwanger, Administrative Assistant, Department of English
A departmental faculty member commented that from his vantage point he knows how critical it is that day-in and day-out they trust the judgment and talents of someone so key to running the department, and whose competence insures our ability to serve students. Kristin is often the first person that students, visitors or faculty make contact with. She prioritizes that service, especially when it involves students. She always gives her entire attention to any issue involving students – overrides, paperwork that needs to happen, and contacting the registrar if something is preventing registration – are kinds of things she deals with immediately, usually right as the student is standing there. She serves as the intersection of a widely divergent group of tenured and tenure-track faculty, part-time and full-time lecturers, GTAs, graduate and undergraduate students and office staff. Kristen, more than anyone else, is the person who holds this sometimes unwieldy conglomerate together. She hears it all – complaints, rivalries, annoyances – but she passes none of it on. As a result, our department is a professionally congenial, pleasant place to work. An example of her commitment to Encouraging Gathering, Kristen, redesigned the work space of the department's main office to create a place for graduate students, undergraduate students and faculty to gather and talk. With little or no budget, she scoured furniture closeouts, budget sources, and UND's Surplus property to create a more aesthetically pleasing and welcoming office and student lounge within the existing space.
Cheryl Sevigny, Police Officer, UND Police
Dedicated, dependable, hardworking, always looking for ways to improve, and always willing to lend a helping hand, were just some of the words used to describe Cheryl. She is always eager to sign up for different courses around the state in order to progress in her field. She takes part in many community events that are directed at getting the community involved in fund raising activities and developing relationships. One activity she has been involved with for several years is the "Shop with a Cop" program in which Officers meet with children at a local store and each child is given an allotment of money to go around and shop for their family members and themselves. Afterwards they all go to a local restaurant to help the kids wrap presents while eating a meal. She has also been involved in the last few years with the Polar plunge. This is a benefit that helps raise money for those who are physically and mentally challenged. A big tank of water is placed outside in the middle of winter and volunteers, who have gathered donations, take turns jumping into the cold water as part of the donation. A more recent event that this award winner took upon herself was to put together a benefit dinner for a co-worker undergoing a medical condition. They were able to raise over $3,000 to help cover medical expenses. These examples are all done in her free time. Cheryl assists the UND student population in many ways also. She is part of the "Adopt-a-Cop" program and is the liaison Officer with Johnston and Fulton Halls. With this program she works with the Resident Hall directors and resident Assistants in setting up and putting on programs to educate the students about different crimes that occur on campus. During winter storms she is often called to drive around and pick up essential University Employees and bring them to work. Days, Nights, Weekends and Holidays are just a normal days to her.
Terri Lang, Project Coordinator, School of Medicine, Center for Rural Health
Terri is one of those rare individuals that never stops until the work is done, and not just finished, but done to perfection. She has mastered the art of giving presentations in her subject area. She has a statewide presence as well as a national presence which serves the University well and embodies the University's values and mission. She is constantly educating North Dakota stakeholders on news ways of looking at their populations to determine if they meet shortage areas designation. These designations can mean the difference between getting additional federal resources or not. Some of the Western North Dakota communities, with their population surges, are in danger of losing their health professional shortage area designations. She has visited with colleagues in other parts of the country that deal with population surges to determine a strategy to help our Western counties access the resources needed to recruit healthcare professionals which will allow them to better service their populations. Doing statistical analysis was something Terri never thought she'd doing, but she has learned the programs and once again, excels in this area inputting data and analyzing results, something over and above her original job expectations. Another office project involved student rotations. Terri was a key member of the team ensuring that students had appropriate housing and that their stipends were paid on time. Her supervisor stated that throughout the nomination application a common thread emerged which is her willingness to help others.
John Dietz, Lead Electrician, Facilities Management
Johns' supervisor wrote, "He is always tactfully honest, patient with even the most difficult people, and tolerant of nearly every type of situation. As lead person, he delegates work on the many different jobs we do. He follows up with the customer to see if they are satisfied with the completed work. He does the majority of estimating for electrical work on campus and is timely and efficient. He orders material ahead of time so that it doesn't hold up projects. There have been several incidents across campus where there has been faulted underground cable. It involves back-feeding, grounding, and switch expertise to get the power restored. Sometimes he was out on campus from dawn until dark and then back to work as usual the next day. This past year he worked on converting three large generators for emergencies. He worked with engineers and contractors late into the evenings or early mornings so as not to disrupt departments on campus or the housing areas with electrical outages. Several years ago John came up with idea of quick disconnects for the show power at the Chester Fritz Auditorium instead of direct tie-ins. With direct tie-in, we had to have an electrician on site twice for a performance. With quick disconnect, only one hook-up and no call backs, which saves time and money for all involved.
Judy Heit, Administrative Secretary, School of Medicine-Student Affairs and Admissions
For over 20 years Judy has worked at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. During this time her main goal in everything she does has been to do whatever is necessary to help the medical students. Her first dealing with students starts when they are in the process of applying for entry to medical school. When these young people become medical students, her dedication to doing whatever is necessary continues. She is oftentimes the first line of contact and if she is able to give the answer to the questions or complete a request, she takes care of it speedily. This past year, a totally new way of working with the applications changed. Judy "jumped on the horse and took the reins" and taught herself all the workings of this new computer program and the capabilities of it. This was no small task. This application process is real time consuming and requires a lot work. Students respect her for all she does for them and even years after they graduate, if they are in town, will stop by to say hi. Two years, when the class of 2013 was second year students, they selected her as their recipient of the annual medical school Portrait Award. Judy is someone that the student's feel has gone over and above what is expected of them in their job and really puts the students' best interests first.
Lori Shafer, Budget Specialist, UND Television Center
Several nominators commented on Lori's dependability, passion, commitment to students, and expertise. They also made mention of that fact that she is perfect for the job. She has a great approach towards her job. Despite serving in two full-time positions because of budget constraints, she remains positive. When working with others, her infectious laughter can often be heard just outside the room. Her cheerful attitude is noticeable to anyone who talks in the door. In her role working with interns, she exhibits a strong, caring approach. If she is busy, she will always take time to help students who need her assistance. Whether the student needs help enrolling in a course, making a difficult decision or just wanting to talk, she takes the time to make each student feel important and valued. She really feels it is her goal to "serve" students. She is extremely creative. Her supervisor wrote, "I am always assured that when Lori is working on a task, it will be done well, highly detailed and easy to understand. I can't imagine what our department would be like without her contribution". She consistently uses good judgment advising our management team. She is a member of the department's cabinet and no major financial decision is made without her input. She is respected for her accuracy, judgment and dependability. One nominator wrote, "Longevity in a position can mean different things for different jobs. For Lori, it means a love for the job, her coworkers and the satisfaction of doing a great job every day. We are lucky to have her. I can't imagine anyone else filling her shoes.
Joan Jensen, Service Supervisor, Dining Services-Old Main Marketplace
Joan was nominated by two of the customers she serves for the Exceptional U Award for what they perceived to be extraordinary customer service. Joan engages well with customers and co-workers always addressing everyone by name. Some of the customers served by the business unit are foreign. More often than not, these students will take the time to wait in her line at lunch, no matter the length, because she has taken the time to get to know them. She understands that they are a great distance from home and feels that knowing little about their situation makes them more comfortable dealing with language and cultural barriers. Her supervisor comments that she is the mother of the unit's staff, which consists of mostly student employees, because she keeps an eye on them and keeps the manager's informed if they have taken on more than they can handle. This allows the management to have an open and honest discussion with the student employees about their needs and they appreciate our concern for their well-being. Because of the nature of the service industry the unit is there to provide an excellent experience for the customers and also to foster an environment of cooperation and integrity amongst our co-workers. An example of Joan's customer experience, environment of cooperation and integrity could be seen when she helped dig through eight garbage bags of food and such, to help a distraught young lady who was certain she'd thrown out her credit card, and she did it with a smile the whole time.
Yvonne Holter, Administrative Secretary, Humanities and Integrated Studies
Yvonne was hired to do the basic clerical and office management work for the department. In reality, writes her supervisor, her work and her spirit extend far beyond her assigned duties. She is utterly devoted to excelling at her tasks, being an invaluable resource to the faculty and students she encounters daily. She remains unwavering in her commitment to ensuring that this department carries out its mission of providing excellent interdisciplinary education to first year students. As one faculty member recently shared "her devotion in all these areas has been nothing short of astonishing. She is genuine to the core. Solid gold." Yvonne knows each of our students by name long be we as faculty have committed them to memory. Alumni routinely seek her out when they return to campus to reminisce about their most memorable moments as first year college students. For all the students, she is a surrogate mother, savvy advisor, wise counselor, and genuine friend. She helped a student who was not coming to class and who happened to be in the military. She thought by talking with him and explaining in terms that would be expected in the military, he might relate. She did and he did. She has served as an effective mediator in the rare situations where disagreements have occurred, and she prepares for and facilitates all curriculum planning efforts with confidence and skill of a boardroom CEO. Without her, one faculty member quips, Integrated Studies would be "disintegrated." She has the analytical skills of a CPA, the programmatic savvy of an MBA and the problem-solving proclivity of a NASA engineer.
Tammy Anderson, Senior Assistant to the Dean and business Manager, College of Engineering and Mines
Tammy is always the first in the office (and to my knowledge in the college) and the last one who leaves. She is there to help faculty, staff and students in areas above and beyond her job responsibilities. She is eager to learn new skills and does not let any opportunity for professional development go without taking an advantage of it. She is always willing to grow and assume new responsibilities. Because of this, her job description and title have changed to reflect the important and growing role she plays in the college. Since joining the office she has never missed a deadline. Tammy gets the job done in time with the highest level of quality one might expect. She has served as project manager for many projects to enhance the physical environment in the College. While project management was not originally part of her job description, she completed all within budget and according to schedule and quality expectations. She has served on Staff Senate for six years including the Senate's executive committee. She volunteers for UND's commencement ceremonies, the annual Founder's Day banquet, Welcome Weekend and various other activities. Her supervisor wrote, "It is expected that an assistant will help make Dean more productive by saving them time during the week (some people say approximately 8%). I can tell you that she has been successful in exceeding this goal by far.