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.
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.
Submission Deadline Announcement of Winner
April 24, 2020 May 21, 2020 (Employee Appreciation Picnic)
Pillars of the Commitment
Pillars of the Commitment are awards granted on a quarterly basis to individual staff members.
- September 19, 2019
- October 31, 2019
- January 23, 2020
- March 19, 2020
If you have any questions regarding the information above, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q1 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council would like to recognize Sarah Wyatt as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Sarah is a prime example of the TU Commitment in her role as assistant director of the Center for Student Academic Support. As part of her daily responsibilities, she listens to student stories day in and day out, helping them to feel accepted for any problem they may be encountering while empowering them to navigate through TU systems successfully. It is not only the completion of her daily responsibilities that has earned her this recognition, but also the ways in which she has gone above and beyond!
As many of us know, it is difficult during times of staff roll-over or absences to maintain the same quality of services. During her recent tenure as acting director of CSAS, Sarah implemented a number of new services and modified others for students receiving accommodations, while also maintaining the division’s normal suite of programming. New additions included implementing a note-taking system for students receiving accommodations as well as a quiet room initiative for students on the autism spectrum. She also developed a more streamlined and accessible process for students requesting tutoring services or who are interested in serving as tutors. The CSAS academic workshop series was modified to include resources related to mental health awareness, financial aid and career services. Sarah also implemented free tutoring services, helping to relieve financial burdens on students seeking academic help. These changes engage the students in a more holistic discourse about their experiences at TU while helping them to become more aware of the resources on campus.
In the midst of all these changes and additions, Sarah strives to be creative with limited resources. Whenever possible, she looks for ways to ensure our students are receiving the best possible services in the most cost-efficient manner. One example of her combined cost-saving/student service initiatives involves the recent approval of a pilot program to test Sonocent Audio Notetaker. With this program, students requiring accommodations can take notes independently and capture a complete record of the lecture without writing anything down. The addition of this product is expected to improve cost efficiency while empowering students to take control of their own learning experiences, which increases student success.
There is no doubt that Sarah is 100 percent dedicated to the student-first mentality of TU!
Q2 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council would like to recognize Randall Dye as a Pillar of the TU Community!
Sometimes it is not immediately apparent how our work impacts the students or the university at large. That is not the case with Randall.
Randall is a Custodian in our newest residence hall, Hardesty Hall. Although Randall works “behind the scenes”, his contribution exemplifies TU’s commitment and purpose. To say that the students appreciate his efforts is an understatement!
Selection of student quotes:
“Randall is always friendly and helpful, and makes living in Hardesty Hall a joy!”
“He always lifts people up with sound advice. Randall truly understands that the highest calling of leadership is to bring out the best potential in others, and he does this every day. I aspire to have the attitude that Randall brings to work every day.”
It’s amazing because at the end of every year the residents may not even know their RAs but they know our wonderful housekeeper, Randall Dye. The reason is because Randall brightens people’s day by giving them positive encouragement or compliments… Randall is probably one of the kindest individuals I have ever met.”
“Randall is the heart of Hardesty Hall. Every single day he carries a smile that tells everyone how much he cares about the building. Everyone loves Randall!”
Due to staffing cutbacks, Randall has been tasked with cleaning more space this past year than ever before. Despite this, he manages to approach every task with a positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond expectations. Through Randall’s efforts, Hardesty Hall continues to be the preferred residence hall on campus!
His work ethic and exuberant good humor is also greatly appreciated by his coworkers and colleagues.
Selection of Staff Quotes:
“I would have to say he is the most pleasant and cheerful person I have ever met. Every morning when I come in he greets me with a positive outlook on the day…. Randall takes great pride in his work and is happy to be here contributing to TU. He is a great example of what a person should strive to be. He has integrity and makes Hardesty a pleasant place to be.”
“Randall has worked for the Physical Plant for years. He is such a kind and hardworking member of the team. He goes out of his way to help and care for the students in his building. He is an asset to this campus. It wouldn’t be the same without him.”
“Randall is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. The second he sees someone, he will light up to greet you with a big smile and gracious heart…. For Christmas, he went out of his way to write Housing Staff members a beautiful poem delivered with plenty of sweets and cookies. Randall is a blessing to this university every day, and he should be recognized for that dedication.”
It’s clear that everyone loves Randall!
Q3 Pillar of the Commitment Award Recipient
The Staff Advisory Council would like to recognize Justin Kendrick as a Pillar of the TU Community!
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.
Selection of faculty/staff/student quotes:
Justin agreed to be present during a lab in case the students needed help! He did this with a smile on his face and even engaged in light-hearted banter with the students while helping them.
Given the complexity of some tasks, some are clearly outside of any reasonable expectation for one of our technicians. Instead, Justin went well beyond what anyone could expect to solve the problem. He is simply invaluable!
Justin has always been there during my time of need.
His skills go way beyond electronics. He also knows how to design and set up computers so that they can “talk” to each other. And, he does a lot to repair mechanical, vacuum and systems. He works with us cheerfully and thoughtfully.
His ability matches his can-do attitude and Justin works well with our faculty, other technicians and students. He maintains numerous instruments and various equipment throughout all the ENS buildings & laboratories, and North Campus. He keeps labs running smoothly for faculty and students, which is important for research and teaching purposes. Justin is a team player and is committed to his job here at TU. He is invaluable to the college!
The Staff Advisory Council would like to recognize Gina Rubio-White as a Pillar of the TU Community!
As Department Assistant to the School of Languages and Literature, Gina performs above and beyond the “scope of duty” daily, including this past year. She provides prompt and steadfast support to 18 full- and part-time faculty and to sometimes more than 500 students a semester who are enrolled in courses in 6 foreign languages. Despite an objectively high administrative workload, Gina finds the time and energy for a caring, engaged approach to each student, faculty, and staff person with whom she interacts.
Selection of faculty/staff/student quotes:
Gina is one of the kindest people I know. She has always been a supportive and caring coworker as a fellow admin assistant. I have seen her help others with various issues – from carrying items for someone in need, to giving advice on work-related concerns – she is always smiling and ready to help!
On one particular occasion, I was waiting for my professor and we got on a conversation about how I am studying Spanish but that my ability to reading and understand quickly was still very lacking. She invited me into her office and showed me this site called LinQ and talked about how it was really helping her to learn different languages and said that it might help me and it really has! Another time, my professor told her that I needed to practice my conversational Spanish and ms. Rubio-white started having conversations with me in Spanish to help me practice. Every time I see this lady, she has a smile on her face and makes me feel better just by talking to her. She is ready, willing, and able to help students and has made an extremely positive impact on my life even when I’m struggling with scheduling!
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Gina since my very first semester on campus. While starting up at TU was a big transition for me, Gina is such a kind and welcoming person that she made me feel ready to succeed from day one. When I left for a semester abroad, not only did Gina pass down preparatory books for German university that she had gotten for herself, but she continued to email me and check up on me during my time in a foreign country. I have never met someone who genuinely cares for all the people around her as much as Gina does.
Gina Rubio makes my life easier every day that I teach at TU! She is an extremely intelligent and efficient individual that is always ready to help everyone in any way she can. Many of my students have told me countless stories about how Gina has helped them feel comfortable and happy at TU even on their most difficult days. She is a wonderful, caring and competent person. We are very lucky to have her at TU!
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!
The second annual TU Commitment Cup was awarded to the Gardner Institute Transfer Team on May 23, 2019, by The University of Tulsa Present Gerard Clancy. The award is designed to spotlight outstanding work by university employees specifically related to the TU Commitment, which helps our students feel accepted, engaged, empowered, and set on a path to self-discovery. Each nomination received by the Staff Advisory Council described how departments, committees, and project teams come together to help others succeed. For a full story on the winning team and this year’s runner-up, click here.