In 2017, The University of Tulsa adopted the TU Commitment as a recognition of the powerful role our faculty and staff play in the development of our students in an accepting environment as engaged members of the community, empowered individuals and life-long devotees to self-discovery and intellectual curiosity.
To recognize staff contributions to the campus community, the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) has implemented award categories for individuals and teams.
Submission for the Commitment Cup (teams) or Pillars of the Commitment (individuals) can be made online by clicking here.
The Commitment Cup is awarded to the team that best exemplifies the TU Commitment. Nominees are vetted by SAC with the winner chosen by the President from a list of selected finalists.
Pillars of the Commitment
Pillars of the Commitment are awards granted on a quarterly basis to individual staff members.
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Pillar Award Winner - Quarter 2 (2021-2022) - Sheila Givens
Q2 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council recognizes Sheila Givens as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Sheila has been employed by TU for 30 years (in May 2021). As a non-traditional transfer, commuter student, Sheila relied on University resources and the work-study program to gain familiarity with the campus and the community. She completed her MBA at night while working for almost 10 years in the College of Business, ranging from academic advisor to Assistant Dean. Sheila has served in different capacities within the Provost’s office for the last 18 years. Over her soon-to-be 30 years at TU, she has implemented several initiatives that support students throughout their undergraduate journey. Sheila’s standard response is, “If I can’t help, I will figure out where you need to go for assistance!” Sheila operates under a single goal at work – to identify areas where we can improve the student experience. Her favorite time of year is graduation because there’s nothing like seeing students beam with pride as they walk across the stage in their regalia.
Pillar Award Winner - Quarter 1 (2021-2022) - Sharon Greene
Q2 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council recognizes Sharon Greene as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Sharon began her career at TU having moved to the area from Southwest Oklahoma in 2013. TU was her first job interview and was lucky enough to be chosen to work in the ENS Dean’s office. It has been nothing but a blessing for her! She works with an awesome staff, wonderful faculty, and truly amazing students. She enjoys seeing people succeed and excel in their fields of academia and research. She is always learning something new. She tells people that she works at the best spot on campus: The Engineering and Natural Sciences Dean’s office! She loves helping people and her job gives her every opportunity to provide service to whoever may walk through the door.
In her spare time, she loves music and reading. She actively volunteers at her church, and serves on the board for the women’s mission organization; she loves to cook and spend time with her family.
Selection of testimonials:
- Sharon has been such a helpful problem-solver for us, and an advocate for connecting faculty and students. She has always been quick to respond to students, has looked for creative solutions to unexpected problems and has always put students first.
- Our Office Assistant is on maternity leave. Sharon is volunteering to help us in Stephanie’s absence. Although Sharon has to learn many new things about Stephanie’s job, she is always willing to help. This means Sharon has to spend her time and energy figuring out how to deal with all sorts of daily issues Stephanie used to help us with. She has helped me with purchase order submissions, accepting order receipts, and most recently, trying to help me transfer personal money to a department account. She has done this without any complaints and with a smile. She is always polite and pleasant. I greatly appreciate this quality.
- Sharon fulfills (and excels at fulfilling) a vital role in the College of ENS Dean’s Office. She is the principal and front line interface between faculty, department chairs and the Deans and Associate Deans. Accordingly, she is very familiar with all the goings-on in the College. Recently, the administrative assistant in my department lost her husband and was forced to take leave to cope with all the consequences of this sudden and overwhelming change in her family situation. Sharon, of course, was aware of this and immediately volunteered to help out in any way possible, offering to assume our assistant’s work duties during her absence while she attended to these pressing family matters. In short, I believe stepping in to help out in a time of need such as Sharon did is emblematic of what this award is all about.
Pillar Award Winner - Quarter 1 (2020-2021) - Dave Kobel
Q1 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council recognizes Dave Kobel, director of access for The University of Tulsa’s Student Success Center, as a Pillar of the TU Community! David started working at TU in 2007 as an instructor of English in the English Institute for International Students, moving to the role of assistant dean in International Student Services in 2012. In 2019, Kobel became assistant director of the Center for Student Academic Support (CSAS) and took on new responsibilities in the areas of student accommodations and success coaching. He now leads Student Access (formerly CSAS) under the Student Success Center and manages a team of amazingly dedicated student advocates and coaches.
Working at TU has allowed him unique opportunities to utilize his education and experience in teaching and cross-cultural communication and tremendous chances to grow as a student advocate and team leader. When he is not working, he enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking, photography, gardening and going to live music (when it’s safe to resume, of course!). Most importantly, he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and two dogs, Pablo and Frida, in an early 1900s home located in one of the oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods in Tulsa.
Here’s what faculty and students had to say about Dave:
- “Dave Kobel became assistant director of CSAS after I had been at TU only a few months. I was still trying to establish myself at TU and find my way around both the campus and my new position. Dave guided me in finding how to use my talents to best help TU students. He showed me how to take the raw material of our STEM Boot Camp presentations and make them even more pedagogically effective for the age group. If I had questions about student services at TU, or general services in the TU area, Dave was always knowledgeable and able to point me in the right direction. His 13 years of experience at TU make him a capable administrator. But, his natural compassion for employees in our department who have had to deal with medical and personal issues while still maintaining a strong focus on the university’s mission, has made him an excellent administrator and an asset to the university.”
- “Dr. Kobel has helped shape my TU experience thus far to be the best it can possibly be multiple times. The greatest thing he has ever done, though, is help me navigate my way through getting the correct housing accommodations so as to maximize my time at TU. He’s one of the friendliest faces and biggest helping hands on campus, and I will always commend him for that!”
- “Dave is a kind, compassionate, smart leader who cares for his team and his students. He develops his team by pushing and challenging us gently, and is also patient with us as we learn and grow. Dave gives us the opportunity to learn from him and to teach him! With his students, Dave cares deeply for them and will help them in the best way he can. He consistently uses best practices with students to help them grow in their academic, professional, and personal endeavors.”
- “I shared an office with Dave at the English Institute in the summer of 2012. As a new teacher, I needed a lot of help and guidance which Dave provided. I remember one time when I caught some students using hand signals to cheat on an exam. Dave guided me through the accusation process and helped me cover all the bases. Later when Dave was an assistant dean at ISS, he continued to be helpful with any problems. I think the key to Dave’s success is that he always leaves you with a feeling of confidence.”
- “Dave Kobel has been a TU colleague of mine for almost 8 years. I can say that every time that I have called Dave he responds enthusiastically to how he can help me and the student I am working with. In his current role in the CSAS office he is handling a delicate case of an international student who I believe is on the autism spectrum. The student’s interaction with faculty, staff and fellow students were not always positive because of his lack of social ques. I know that he has talked with the student many times and has really tried to help this student.”
- “Dave goes above and beyond to help his students. Seeing the way he helps them and inspires them to succeed motivates me to work that way with my students and make sure that they are confident. He does this with every student he works with; it’s truly inspiring to watch.”
- “Dave has been one of my go-to people since I have started working at TU. We collaborate in regards to shared students, trainings and committees. You will always find a kind word, an ease-of-mind and possibly a joke when you are interacting with Dave. He goes above and beyond for the students he works with!”
- “Formerly, I worked with Dave when he was an Assistant Director in ISS, and, currently, I work with him in CSAS. In both capacities Dave has provided me with crucial positive support. On more than one occasion, when I have been worried about some work-related concern, Dave has been there to listen, to offer constructive suggestions and advice, and, especially, to help me stay calm. Dave has a remarkable ability to reassure people when they’re in need of his calm assurance, I believe, and the university is stronger for this. There would be several stories I could recount when I went into his office feeling flustered and came out feeling like I could figure out whatever challenge had perplexed me. Since his move to CSAS, I think he is positioned
to provide this support more than ever to a wider audience of students and coworkers. I am sure that I am not the only one whose life and work he has positively impacted in this way.”
- “I believe I can speak on behalf of all international students on TU. Dave Kobel has been the person who has always been there to support us. He is always interested in our well being and available to help us in any way! I know he is no longer working at ISS, and how much do we miss him! Whenever we were planning a cultural event with AIS or LASA, he was always willing to help in any way possible. As an AIS advisor, he was the best. He was there at every single event helping out. A picture of Dave carrying papa john’s pizza boxes to the New U just popped into my head. We are all so thankful for all the support that he has given to our community of international students.A more personal story that I share with Dave would be that he was always interested in getting more and more international students to come to TU. I remember that whenever he had trips to Colombia, my home country, he would offer to bring me some stuff from home. Also, he went to my school and was willing to meet my little sister there. Whenever he came back he would tell me about his trip and asked me about other students at my school who would be interested in coming to TU. He once also asked me to participate in some interviews and videos to help students understand more about scholarship opportunities on TU. He is a person who deeply cares about the TU and its development.”
- “I have worked with Dave Kobel when I started at TU. He has always been a dependable and caring individual. There are nice people and there is Dave. My experience with him has been positive and uplifting. Focused on students and how to help them. Always offering a caring word and giving you the best place to eat around town. He is an employee who deserves recognition.”
- “This is my dissertation year for a PhD in English literature, so I’ve had to produce a 200-page document, which I found more than a little daunting. Seeking help to keep on track with a workable rate of production, I asked at the counseling center and was hooked up with Dave Kobel for weekly accountability meetings. He helped me lay out a timeline with target dates for completion of chapters, which I plugged away at, so that now I am wrapping up the final bits and pieces, getting ready to turn it all in a couple of weeks from now. Dave helped me with my word-count, as well as providing advice for triangulating with my dissertation advisor regarding the content for my project. Some of my colleagues used a writing group to maintain production rate as well as for mutual moral support, and I have done that in the past, as well, but I found working one-on-one with Dave to be even more effective in my case (and I will be thanking him on my dissertation acknowledgment page).”
Pillar Award Winner - Quarter 2 (2020-2021) - Janet Cairns
Q2 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council recognizes Janet Cairns as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Janet Cairns is director of academic and learning technology and applied assistant professor of education. In her position in TU’s Faculty Resource Center, Janet is able to explore her enthusiasm for academic technology and passion for teaching. She finds working with faculty and students extremely rewarding, helping them effectively use technology in their teaching and learning. She is grateful to have a position in the Department of Education teaching education technology to future teachers, where she “practices what she preaches.” When not at work, Cairns enjoys training and showing her Belgian Tervuren named Hutton, hiking and camping in the mountains of Colorado, gardening and coaching youth volleyball. Cairns is a proud Tulsan who grew up around TU thanks to her dad who coached volleyball and taught mathematics at TU for over 50 years.
Selection of testimonials:
- “Janet has risen to the occasion since the pandemic has started. She had limited staff and resources but never failed to answer my questions, tested my system, and trained me so that I could help other faculty so that we could get the online teaching going. Till today, I email her about trying to get my hybrid classes to a better place. If we do not reward her, then when? She demonstrated that she could support the faculty in a time of crisis and I for one am very thankful.”
- “Janet is a great help during these virtual classes. She always responded immediately to fix the technical problems.”
- “Janet Cairns has assisted my students and me more times than I can count. She has assisted me in person, in the classroom and in my office, both virtually via Collaborate. She has made me feel comfortable and enjoy using HARVEY for recording lecture videos, creating HARVEY tests with Lock Down Browser, grading online, and resources that she has created and made available, just to name a few. She has responded to my requests for help with 5 minutes of my making the request!”
- “Besides working with faculty 24/7 on using all the tools that Harvey has to offer, along with having an open office for faculty to visit to ask questions about making videos and web pages, as well as spending time with departments to work specifically with departmental technology needs, Janet has time to teach a technology seminar for elementary education majors. My story comes from students in her class. They shared with me their amazement of how instructor Cairns gives 100% of her time to help them with their projects. Projects that take hours to create and align with state and national technology standards. These projects require students to work diligently to complete and challenges even the most technologically advanced student. Janet stays in the computer lab until all students are done with their assignments/questions each week, sometimes ending past the 6:00 pm hour. She doesn’t teach technology; she teaches students. She teaches with enthusiasm and with an energy level that surpasses even the best of our regular faculty. Janet Cairns supports everyone at TU, including students. Few others at this university fit this statement.”
- “I would like to highlight the tremendous and remarkable job that Janet Cairns has done during this unusual Covid-19 year. When the quarantine suddenly began, Janet Cairns and her team acted very expeditiously and effectively to train the entire faculty with their transition to virtual teaching and testing ensuring that teaching could go on. Thanks to Janet and her leadership, we, the faculty, were able to successfully finish the spring 2020, summer 2020 and fall 2020 semesters. That was only possible due to her daily support and constant help and training. So, in short, the university has been able to deliver classes this past year in great part due to her efforts.” … She trained, helped, and supported us to do our teaching job. I can’t imagine what this year would have been without her help. I don’t recall any instance when I have contacted her with a question or request that she has not quickly jumped to help me. I am very thankful and I think that, indirectly, our students are grateful as well.”
- “I have never had an IT person so quick and happy to help with anything. Janet has helped me with lots of technical glitches for many years and such a prize is long overdue. She almost always responds to my distress calls within a half hour, identifies the issue, tracks down a solution, and is friendly and personable in the process.”
Pillar Award Winner - Quarter 3 (2020-2021) - Shelley Faust
Q3 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council recognizes Shelley Faust as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Shelley Faust, department assistant II for Student Success Coaches, began her career at TU in 2018 as the department assistant in the Housing office. She soon realized that her passion was for the students. With the creation of the student success coaches in 2019, she jumped at the chance to support the start-up team as well as the student community. She strongly believes that every student has the potential to be successful especially when given the right tools. Faust has been given the opportunity to be the project lead on recent student call campaigns. She works closely with Dean of Students Casey Reed, assisting with student-retention efforts. Faust truly believes that the success of student retention rests upon every member of the TU faculty and staff: from the diligent custodians to the president of the university.
Working in the Student Success Center has allowed her more opportunities to connect with students, staff and faculty. Engaging in conversations with the students and the coaches has led to her own personal self-discovery and has re-ignited an interest in research and discovering new and efficient processes.
When not working, Faust enjoys spending time at her happy place (her family’s cabin in New Mexico), hanging out with her three young adult children and dreaming about being empty nesters (someday) with her husband.
Selection of testimonials:
- “Throughout the development of the Student Success Team, Shelley has sought out ways to improve processes and procedures to better serve students. She has developed a process for tracking data that allows for us to see real-time details about the effectiveness of the Student Success Team and also maintains the Student Success Team email, which students frequently reach out to with questions. Shelley has been leading the charge on outreach to students as they are referred to succes coaching. She is also currently working on contacting students who decided not to return to TU in order to understand more of those students’ needs and how TU can improve culture and services for students to feel a sense of belonging. Shelley is a joy and a wonderful, indispensable part of our team. She makes our work possible and believe she deserves public recognition for her dedication and work!”
- “Our staff volunteers have already called 911 TU students and our latest call campaign just kicked off Monday. The timing coincides well with the inclement weather and the students and parents have overwhelmingly expressed their gratitude for the check-in. This is the work retention dreams are made of. Shelley Faust, department assistant in Student Success, coordinated the entire project. She collected edits to the questions from the last campaign based on previous caller feedback and current trends, front-facing staff are seeing, solicited volunteers, rerecorded the detailed video training, and provided written instructions and an updated list of resources for referrals. She also makes a lot of the calls herself. If you have a chance to thank her in the near future, please do.”
- “Regardless of the project, Shelley’s first words are ‘How can I help?’ She will do whatever she can to assist peers in their effort to support our students. She quickly learns software programs that can optimize the team’s work and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE can organize a project like Shelley! We simply couldn’t accomplish the amount of work that we do without her on our team. She oversaw the call campaign in the fall and is doing the same this semester, so if she is spearheading a project, others are soon to join in. Shelley even goes to campus to help proctor exams when Student Access needs help. If the task relates to supporting our students, Shelley is always one of the first to volunteer to help. Shelley truly is an amazing asset to the Student Success Team.”
- “Shelley always goes above and beyond for our team. She is always available with a kind word and a smile.”
- “Shelley is a joy to work with. She puts a kind and helpful face on TU. She goes out of her way to help students and parents, never complains, and handles challenges with ease. She is essential to the operation of the Student Success Center.”
- “Shelley is always quick to respond to students, always keeping them as her priority. She is reliable, honest, and overall a really pleasant person to work with. Shelley is well-deserving of this.”
- “I worked with Shelley in the Housing Department and she was always so helpful and pleasant. If you had a question she was always more than willing to help. She always has a smile and a big heart for everyone.”
- “Shelley has gone above and beyond helping students and staff many times this past year.”
Pillar Award Winner - Quarter 4 (2020-2021) - Stephanie Boulden
The Staff Advisory Council recognizes Stephanie Boulden, Manager of Special Projects and Technical Needs for the College of Arts and Sciences, as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Stephanie began her career at TU when the New Student Orientation department was created in 2001 under the umbrella of Student Affairs. In 2006 she found her place in the Office of the Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. Stephanie is known for the calm way she handles crises and puts out “fires”, a skill that was honed for 17 years in the Tulsa 911 Center. She enjoys learning new technology and passing the information on to staff, students, and faculty. Stephanie has taken on additional duties, such as coordinating the Life-Long Learning program for the college and the Tulsa community. This has allowed the exchange of information to continue between our students and faculty with the community.
As a Tulsan born and raised, she sees herself as an ambassador for the University, the college, and the City of Tulsa. She is always ready to talk about the great strides TU has made since she was a student. When her children were in high school, they would say, “Mom, quit bugging my friends about going to TU”. Her daughter’s graduating class had the highest number of students from her high school who attended TU.
When not working, she enjoys yard work, reading, sewing, working on home projects, spending time and traveling with her husband and children, and just plain down time.
Selection of testimonials:
- “Stephanie is a problem-solver par excellence. As long as I have been at TU (since 2010), Stephanie has been the go-to person for any sticky situation or question in the college of Arts and Sciences; when you’re having immediate technical trouble in a classroom, you have a question about a resource at TU, or you need a syllabus from 5 years ago.”
- “This year A&S has seen significant reductions in staff. We have gone from having fifteen department assistants in the College to only two, supporting more than 800 students and 100+ faculty. Stephanie has gone above and beyond by assuming (temporarily, I hope) the responsibilities of those positions, so that basic functions of the college can continue. I don’t know how she does it! And she does so with her characteristic “let’s get down to business and just do it” attitude. If she isn’t worthy of recognition for this award, I don’t know who is.”
- “Stephanie is our primary point of contact for making sure our classrooms meet students’ needs. We had a situation with a student who received accommodations for a particular classroom set-up, but the classroom was used by many different classes and students throughout the day and the specific configuration was often modified through the course of the week. Stephanie made it a point to check the classroom prior to the students’ class to ensure that it was configured appropriately for the student’s learning. In other instances, Stephanie has sourced particular equipment so that students could communicate effectively with their professor.”
- “Where I have witnessed Stephanie’s engagement with students has been in her work with our federal work study students. When we were physically in Chapman Hall, I witnessed the way she mentored them; she studied them, determined what their strengths were and were they could use encouragement and development, and then helped assign them the appropriate tasks.”
- “I certainly have benefited from learning from Stephanie. When I started in the Dean’s office she was so patient with helping me learn some of the different programs and processes. What I admired so much was that she could anticipate questions I might have in the future (ones that, at the time, I did even know enough to ask!). She also made me some cheat sheets to draw on. Because our offices are so close, I overhead her on the phone doing the same with faculty and other college staff, patiently explaining how to do something, even sometimes several times until the person finally got it. And when they did, she would celebrate alongside the other person. She takes opportunities to recognize small moments, such as getting a birthday card for office staff (when we had staff!) or organizing a special lunch. She understands the importance of community and fostering a culture of collaboration and I feel so fortunate to have learned from her.”
- “Anyone who has worked with Stephanie can attest to how generous, efficient, and competent she is. If you were to reach out to faculty in A&S, I think every single one of them would have at least one story to tell about how Stephanie has gone above and beyond for them.”
- “Even before I began working for TU, Stephanie proved invaluable in assisting me with tasks large and small. As a new administrator working remotely from another state, getting on-boarded would have been challenging in normal times. The added stress of COVID and changes at TU complicated my arrival. Stephanie has been my rock! She is such a dedicated employee – always asking what is best for TU. In addition to serving the College, she has had to fill in for two staff positions that have been vacant for months and, for a while, covered for another staff member on leave! All the while, she manages to serve faculty and students with a positive attitude. I have said several times since starting at TU: I feel like I won the lottery with the staff I inherited!”
- “Stephanie managed to serve as Departmental Assistant for English after our assistant was laid off, while she was also overseeing the College of Arts and Sciences and several other departments. She was ALWAYS available to answer any question or help with any task. I am honestly surprised she is still functioning, she has been working so hard. I’ll note also that in January of 2020, as a new department chair I was trying to purchase new furniture for our main office. In order to get the best price for what we needed, Stephanie actually went to some local stores on a Saturday to look at furniture and pick out something for us.”
- “I have been a faculty member at TU for a decade. In that time, I have supported programming such as the Media Studies faculty (which I now chair), the Russian Studies program, the Honors program, a new minor in Digital Studies, the Cyber initiative, the Executive Committee, more than a handful of other committees and initiatives across campus, especially the Arts & Sciences. In the normal course of serving in these and other roles, there have been thousands, maybe countless, questions that have arisen. The answer to all of these questions is the same: Ask Stephanie Boulden. Questions about the Dean’s office policy on this or that? Ask Stephanie. Questions about the buildings, renovations, fire codes, water leaks? Ask Stephanie. New equipment, budgets, curriculum, course design, voting procedures, etc.? Ask Stephanie. I just checked: my inbox has well over 2,000 email threads (not messages, independent conversation threads) from Stephanie Boulden in the last decade, and most of those years where while I was head down in my pre-tenured years. Deans and Associate Deans have come and gone. Faculty members and students rotate through. To put this simply, Stephanie Boulden is the simplest, shortest answer to what, and who, is TU. She is the bedrock of knowledge and care that supports the mainstay of our TU education. She is the central hub, juggler, omni-competent, problem-solving, care-taking wizard interested in the well-being and prospering of others throughout the college. She knows her stuff–and her stuff is everything that covers TU. I have since come to know her family, including her daughter who graduated from our program (as well as two other majors and several minors), all of equally exquisite character and caliber. And here is the thing about Stephanie: I would suspect that she would never make a fuss about all that she has done, unless it would help some larger cause. There is no promotion that would be too large. No award too deserving. In my twenty years in higher education, I’ve never seen anyone quite like Stephanie Boulden.”
- “Where to begin? Stephanie has been all things to all people for so long, but especially over the past six months, she’s gone above and beyond every call to duty. Quite simply, the College of Arts and Sciences would stop functioning without her hard work and expertise. Even before we lost department assistants across the college, Stephanie performed work outside her “normal” responsibilities, but now, she is LITERALLY doing four or five people’s jobs at once, all during a pandemic. When I recently asked her to complete an urgent task via email, she responded within minutes with a simple, “Done!” I’m amazed that she can stay on top of it all. Given all she’s had to take over, none of us would have been surprised if Stephanie quit at some point in the past few months; in fact, several of us stepped in and begged her to hang in there, knowing how vital she is to the college’s overall health and to our department’s well-being. I can’t imagine what she’s had to endure, and quite frankly, I’m outraged at how our female workforce gets taken advantage of in these situations. But Stephanie has taken it all in stride, continuing to do her job and hold us all together. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
- “I wish to add my voice to the many members of the TU community who I expect have written in to celebrate Stephanie Boulden’s amazing contribution to Kendall College of Arts and Sciences and to the university at large. I have worked with Stephanie not only as a faculty member of the college, but as a co-director of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) and the director of the English graduate programs. I expect others will be writing to address her efficiency, thoroughness, and patience with regard to her many tasks, and the fact that she has maintained her high quality of work even as her workload appears to have doubled in the last few months due to major staffing cuts in her area. I will, therefore, focus my statement of support on her work with our students. We are all encouraged to recognize the importance of TU students to our mission and aspirations as an academic community, but I do not know of anybody who more fully embodies these values than Stephanie. In my work for WGS and as English director of graduate studies (DGS), I have personally benefited from the efforts she makes to train student employees in administrative tasks as well as specialized work with various computer programs and university procedures. She has assigned our students work experiences that have not only enhanced their skills, but also given them a sense of responsibility and pride in their labor. I have personally maintained a supervisory role with six students who have worked under Stephanie’s supervision and, in every case, the student has spoken highly of her warmth, patience, and collegiality. I have seen the professionalizing benefits of her efforts and the extra time she has given to ensure students reach their greatest potential. Stephanie’s TU community extends richly into the lives of our students, and her respect and admiration for them shows not only in her service to them but in her conscientious efforts to go beyond expectations to enrich their learning experience. Most recently, Stephanie has worked closely with a series of graduate students from the English department while I have been DGS. In every case, the student has been given training that has clearly enhanced their skills and employability. But more than this, I have seen her recognize special interests or competencies for each of these students and find ways to incorporate them into their work. She has engaged their computer programming knowledge, their writing skills, and their creative potential in collaborative projects. Moreover, I know first-hand the efforts she has made and continues to make to find paying opportunities for our students to learn practical skills that use and enhance their studies. Her positive influence on the lives of our students is an inspiration both for me and for what TU can be for our students.”
2018-2019 Staff Pillar Winners by Category
Quarterly pillar awards are granted to individuals throughout the year, but SAC also wanted to highlight those nominees that particularly represented certain elements of the TU Commitment. These yearly winners were chosen from those nominated throughout the year as quarterly nominees and were recognized at the Employee Appreciation Week Picnic!
Acceptance: Sheila Givens-Rains
Fostering an atmosphere of acceptance requires a holistic approach, where someone is made to feel safe, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As Director of Student Retention, Sheila’s institutional knowledge has proven particularly indispensable this past year during the development of the Student Success Initiative, but the true scope of Sheila’s impact on our campus community is often a story of compassion and acceptance. There is little doubt that Sheila embodies the pillar of acceptance in her dealings not only with students, but staff and faculty as well. Examples of her support and acceptance of difficult situations include everything from helping grieving families to finding foster homes for stray animals. Whether you are student, faculty or staff, Sheila is a cornerstone of the campus community that accepts us all for who we are and will lend a hand wherever she can.
Self-Discovery: Lindsey Perry
In her role as Enrollment Management Coordinator and Retention Specialist for Oxley College of Health Sciences, Lindsey always makes time to help students chart a path of self-discovery to reach their enrollment and academic goals. But her contributions are not limited to the students. She has diligently sought to improve student interactions, the staff voice, and the collaboration between faculty, staff, and administration with a strong focus on efficiency, satisfaction, and success. Her input, participation and initiative has been instrumental in such groups as University Council, Drop Guard Transition Team, Gardner Institute Initiative, Provost’s Student Development and Success Group, Student Success Initiative and the Collegiate Advisory Council. Lindsey is not only dedicated to helping our students cultivate their intellectual curiosity and inquisitiveness, she’s crucial to the University finding its way through this time of significant changes and introspection.
Engagement: Justin Kendrick
Engagement requires active participation to develop unique gifts and talents. This can be difficult if the tools or equipment necessary for active engagement in various projects is not available or functioning. Justin’s work as an Instrumentation Technician in the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences involves maintaining aging lab equipment so faculty and students can continue their research and coursework projects. He’s known for the ability to “fix just about anything” as well as his enthusiastic and friendly can-do attitude. Faculty and staff all know that he’s a problem solver who understands the time-sensitive nature of their work and how it can quickly be derailed when a piece of equipment breaks down. They trust him and know he can fix it! Justin’s commitment to the active engagement of our faculty and staff means he does whatever’s necessary to get them up and running as soon as possible.
Empowerment: Joey Oneal
Empowerment is about helping others to grow and develop personally and professional. As Director of Student Activities, Joey leads by example and challenges student leaders to develop their own management and leadership styles. Students find in her a reliable coach and helpful conversational partner for personal and professional growth. She encourages and facilitates student leaders to create new collaborations with institutional funding policies, interfaith experiences, student training opportunities and campus experiences related to diversity and inclusion. The role of coaching and overseeing student leaders requires a constant commitment to self-evaluation, ongoing assessment, flexibility, and consistency of focus that might be difficult to maintain for many of us. But Joey does that in a way that empowers students to constantly strive to be not just better leaders, but better individuals. On her path to empowering our students, Joey doesn’t just lead, she inspires!
2020-2021 Commitment Cup Winner - Information Technology
Congratulations to TU’s Information Technology team for winning the Commitment Cup! Thank you for your work, service and dedication. The Commitment Cup is awarded to the team that best exemplifies the TU Commitment. The Staff Advisory Council vetted the nominees and Interim President Janet K. Levit chose the winner from a list of selected finalists.
Submissions for the Commitment Cup (teams) or Pillars of the Commitment (individuals) can be made online here.