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2016 DSL Award Winners – Staff

Title: Friend of the Division

Eligibility: Faculty, staff, or department outside of the Division of Student Life

Description: This award will go to a faculty member, staff, member, or department outside the Division of Student Life who demonstrates a commitment to the vision and mission of the division; partners with or supports programs, committees, and initiatives within the division; and serves as an advocate to various division departments.

Winner:

MARK WILLOUGHBY

Though his home is in academic affairs, it is hard to argue that Mark isn’t actively working to create meaningful experiences for students on campus through his own work and his assistance to the division. Mark is a campus partner that many in the division know they can turn to for help. Whether it is helping to secure space for Parents Council meetings, facilitating an Ignite session through the CLS, working with Sorority & Fraternity Life to lead small groups during Impact, or making sure that we can accommodate all of our guests during orientation, Mark is a true friend to the Division.”

Title: New Professional of the Year

Eligibility: Professional staff employed within the Division of Student Life with 3 years or less in the field of Student Affairs (not including graduate school)

Description: This professional utilizes creative and innovative leadership to enhance the University community. This person exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and has made significant contributions to the University community through their role as a staff member.

Winner:

JARED GRIMSLEY

“Jared has continuously excelled in his role as the Hall Director of North Carrick. One short phrase sums up Jared: the best. He strives to do his best in every aspect of his personal and professional life. He does his best to impact his Resident Assistant staff, his best to exceed expectations, and his best to balance his work with his personal life and doctoral program.”

Title: Outstanding Professional of the Year

Eligibility: Professional staff employed within the Division of Student Life with 4 to 9 years in the field (not including graduate school)

Description: This professional utilizes creative and innovative leadership to enhance the University community. This person exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and has made significant contributions to the University community through their role as a staff member.

Winner:

ASHLEY BLAMEY

“Ashley is one of the most outstanding professionals in our field, on our campus, and within our division. She somehow manages to expertly balance professionalism and advocacy and always places our students at the center of our work. She is an expert in her field, yet is one of the most accessible professionals in the division. Under her leadership, the Center for Health Education and Wellness has made incredible strides in their education, advocacy and prevention work.”

Title: First-Year Graduate Assistant of the Year

Eligibility: 1st year graduate student employed by a department within the Division of Student Life

Description: This graduate assistant utilizes creative and innovative leadership to enhance the University community. This person exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and has made significant contributions to the University community in a short period of time through their role as a graduate assistant.

Winner:

 

DJ GARDOW

“DJ is a hardworking, principled, curious, and reflective leader. He has demonstrated on more than one occasion that he is not satisfied with the status quo. He thinks through each program or service that he is responsible for and makes small, calculated enhancements for each. He is always available to lend a helping hand.”

Title: Second-Year Graduate Assistant of the Year

Eligibility: 2nd year graduate student employed by a department within the Division of Student Life*

Description: This graduate assistant utilizes creative and innovative leadership to enhance the University community. This person exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and has made significant contributions to the University community through their role as a graduate assistant.

Winner:

JAMES KELLY

“With the transition and change in our office with staff and structure during his tenure, James has been very flexible and adaptable. He amazes me with his thoughtfulness, professionalism, and administrative skills. James is always thinking one step ahead of how we can give our students the best New Vols Experience possible, whether it be through facilitating activities or lessons with our Orientation Leaders or with translating assessment data and/or benchmarking. Our office has been lucky to have James Kelly as a graduate staff member, and we will long feel the effect and impact of his amazing work.”

Title: Civic Engagement

Eligibility: All staff and graduate assistants within the Division of Student Life

Description: The recipient of this award will be actively engaged in the Knoxville community. This could mean serving on a board, committee, or organization; or regularly volunteering with local or national organizations. This person balances their campus engagement with their commitment to the community and their chosen field.

Winner:

 

JENNIFER PIERCE

“Jennifer is not only committed to her students, but helping others as well. She sits on the board of Girls on the Run of Greater Knoxville and constantly encourages her students to give back, whether it be through finances or time. She is currently fundraising to support 10 middle-school aged girls to go through the Girls on the Run program. Additionally, she will be going to Haiti this summer with 14 women in our community with Circle of Sisterhood to build a school for a village.”

Title: Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Eligibility: All staff and graduate assistants within the Division of Student Life

Description: This award embodies the division’s commitment to educate and/or advocate for the importance of valuing and appreciating difference, similarities, and uniqueness within our community and beyond. The award will be given to a staff member or graduate assistant who is dedicated to promoting understanding, acceptance, and celebration of our diversity.

Winner:

 

SHANNON HERRON

“In addition to being a truly outstanding GA, Shannon Herron also displays an unwavering commitment to enhancing diversity and inclusion in Knoxville and on our campus. In 2015, Shannon was awarded $10,000 Thomas Graduate Fellowship given by the College of Arts & Sciences. It is given to two graduate students annually and Shannon was awarded the fellowship to allow him to complete research on his thesis project, “Welcome to All and Hostile to None: Redesigning Diversity at the University of Tennessee.” Shannon is currently completing his thesis project, which is designing an LGBT community organization called All Out Knoxville (AOK).”

Title: Unsung Hero

Eligibility: All staff and graduate assistants within the Division of Student Life

Description: This award will be given to someone who typically does not receive the recognition they deserve. This person goes above and beyond without expecting praise.

Winner:

 

JACQUELYN LEDFORD

“Jacquelyn is constantly willing to go above and beyond her job duties to assist in the development of her students. From attending and facilitating multiple weekend-long retreats, to taking the time to meet with students one-on-one, she puts her whole heart in the work that she does. She also exhibits a commitment to the Division of Student Life by assisting with other departments when they need additional help such as acting as interim House Director for Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority in the fall semester. Jacquelyn does all of this without every expecting anything in return.”

Title: Service Excellence

Eligibility: Non-exempt staff members within the Division of Student Life

Description: This award will go to the non-exempt staff member who goes above and beyond to provide excellent customer service to all guests of their department. Nominations for this award must include specific examples to show the extent of the nominee’s dedication to service excellence.

Winner:

 

Randy Nicely

Simply put, Randy Nicely is the man. Randy has worked for UTK for over 14 years. As the sole RecSports staff member responsible for the continual maintenance of RecSports facilities and equipment, he consistently goes above and beyond to ensure the thousands of students who utilize RecSports facilities have a safe and quality experience. Although Randy is an extremely busy “one-man show”, he is prompt in his response to requests, truly concerned with the well-being of others, and possesses a friendly and welcoming disposition.”

Title: Healthy Vol Award

Eligibility: All staff and graduate assistants within the Division of Student Life

Description: This award will be given to someone who embodies holistic wellness and/or engages others in wellness management through awareness, resources, or education. This person maintains a healthy work-life balance.

Winner:

 

KAT EVANS

“Kat embodies a healthy lifestyle and leads by example, from eating healthy to teaching fitness classes, to even just taking the stairs! She encourages our office to do the same. She leads “Fit Fun Fridays” for our staff, leading yoga sessions or walks outside during lunch on Fridays. Kat also encourages our staff to be involved with the Be Well campus wide initiative. The Center for Career Development and I are so thankful for her constant upbeat attitude to keep us motivated to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Title: Innovative Program of the Year

Eligibility: Department within the Division of Student Life

Description: This award honors excellence in the development and implementation of an original program. Recognized programs demonstrate: 1) the growth of students and enhancement of campus life, 2) new ideas, methods or programs which result in improved educational activities or services for the campus community. Both new and revamped programs are eligible for this award.

Winner:

 

STUDENT CONDUCT & COMMUNITY STANDARDS FOR “VolsREACH”

“One of the learning outcomes for the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards is that students will be able to reflect on how they can make better decisions in the future by developing goals, addressing alternative behavior, and identifying additional campus resources. In an effort to reach students in a developmental way, this department has created a program focused on ethical decision-making, titled VolsREACH, that is offered approximately twice a month. In this program student explore how respect, ethics, action, civility, and honesty are part of their daily decision-making.”

Title: Journey Award

Eligibility: Department within the Division of Student Life

Description: This department shows a commitment to consistently improving their practices, programs, initiatives, and/or internal structure. If the department has undergone a Program Review, they have actively implemented many changes based on the results.

Winner:

 

CENTER FOR STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

”In Spring 2016, The CSE underwent a program review. The review team offered 27 recommendations. The CSE is proud to announce that they have completed or are actively in the process of completing every actionable recommendation made by the review time. The biggest achievement to note is the work that the CSE staff has done to garner student support and buy-in to make positive changes to the Central Programming Council. We are excited to announce a NEW programming board, with a fresh constitution, vision, mission, structure, name and meeting times and organizational structure. This new board not only create new opportunities for students, it will also lend to much better work-life balance for the staff advisors. It is one thing to make change and a whole different ball game to get a few hundred students on board to change THEIR organization. We are really proud of the work our students and staff this year to make this change a reality.”

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