The new academic year is about to begin, but not without recognizing staff first
While September is all about students as classes get underway at UBC Okanagan, staff and faculty took a few minutes yesterday to recognize and acknowledge the hard work of fellow employees.
Deborah Buszard, UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus, hosts a town hall meeting at the beginning of each new academic year. At the event, the Staff Awards of Excellence are presented to those whose efforts stand out from the crowd.
“The world-class environment for teaching and research at UBC is made possible by dedicated staff across all areas of the university,” says Deborah Buszard. “These awards offer an opportunity to come together and honour the commitment UBC staff display every day in providing students and faculty the ingredients for success.”
At today’s town hall, four employees received Staff Awards of Excellence and one recipient was presented with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s award.
Deanna Simmons, program advisor with the Disability Resource Centre, was presented with the staff award of excellence for enhancing the UBC experience. Simmons works closely with students with disabilities, and creates strong relationships with faculty and staff, while at the same time sharing her expert knowledge of the campus to help UBC deliver outstanding service and support.
Michele Cannon, research technician in the School of Engineering, also won the staff award of excellence for enhancing the UBC experience. Nominated by students, Cannon has helped organize and optimize the School of Engineering’s chemistry teaching lab and several other research labs. Using innovative ideas for efficient operation, she has introduced a cloud-based lab management program allowing researchers and research groups to coordinate lab inventories, obtain best pricing on commonly purchased items, and document procedures and practices.
Vania Chan, with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, was presented with the staff award of excellence for global citizenship. Chan is an e-learning specialist with the Centre for Teaching and Learning and she exemplifies good citizenship through several volunteer roles, most notably as a member of the organizing committee for the Women in Science and Engineering mentoring program. She has brought ideas from many off-campus workshops that focus on women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The head coach of the women’s volleyball team, Steve Manuel, was presented with the staff excellence award for leadership. In 2011, when UBC Okanagan joined Canadian Interuniversity Sport — the highest level of amateur competition in Canada — his team missed the playoffs by a single point in that first year. For the past two years, the women’s volleyball team has been in the Final Four in the Canada West division. Manuel consistently demonstrates to his team what it takes to achieve success at this level. His work has paid off, as for the past two years, the women’s volleyball team has been nationally ranked in the top five for the bulk of the season.
Stephanie McKeown, Director of the Okanagan Planning and Institutional Research office, was presented with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s award—an honour awarded to a staff member who exemplifies at least two of the four Staff Awards of Excellence categories and demonstrates hard work that routinely exceeds their job description duties.
McKeown’s office offers institutional and educational research support to staff and faculty, including data collection, analysis, and presentation with the aim to support campus planning, strengthen student learning, and promote deeper understanding of the nature and quality of education at UBC.
Off campus, McKeown is a valued leader in several professional working groups and organizations, including the Okanagan Labour Market Project, the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer Research Committee, and the Canadian Institutional Research and Planning Association, among others.
“Stephanie’s commitment to her job and her practice goes far beyond this campus or this institution,” says Buszard. “Known for her exceptional knowledge, genuine enthusiasm, and generosity with her time, Stephanie is described by her friends and colleagues as a true asset of the university and of the Okanagan campus. I couldn’t agree more.”
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