Blue Ribbon Winners, 2007
Anna Lane may well be the most organized, dependable and customer-centered staff member at Lupton Library, according to Layton Jackson, Senior Library Associate 1 and Stacks Maintenance Supervisor. “This past spring I served on two faculty hiring committees with Ms. Lane and was amazed at how meticulously she planned travel itineraries, luncheons with candidates and phone and face-to-face interviews. She is always prepared and, amazingly given the volume of work she performs, always in a wonderful frame of mind. But, while Ms. Lane performs her required duties with much enthusiasm and perfection, it is her willingness to learn new tasks that make me wish to nominate her for this award,” said Jackson. Each Friday Lane works a shift at the library circulation desk just to have more contact with the library patrons. “While this is something that is open to all library staff and faculty, Ms. Lane is one of two library employees who have jumped at the chance to learn and help. Ms. Lane maintains her constant smile while assisting desk patrons and her attitude is infectious. Ms. Lane is a true asset to Lupton Library.”
Michelle Walters is an outstanding and hard working individual who deserves special recognition according to Kathleen Wheatley, an instructor of Management in the College of Business. Wheatley says Walters is willing to assist anyone who comes to her door—student, parent, faculty, administrator, colleague or community member. “I am lucky enough to be one of her faculty members. She has always jumped to assist me in any way possible from my teaching needs to my research need and to my service needs. Much falls on her shoulders in the College of Business,” said Wheatley. “I really can’t even count the times I’ve heard ‘Check with Michelle. She’ll know what to do or who to call!’ Michelle anticipates the needs of her faculty and jumps in with whatever she can to help them, and all this with a smile.”
Allison Aront, administrative assistant to Dean Richard Casavant in the College of Business, “always goes above and beyond the call of duty,” according to Dr. Joanie Sompayrac, UC Foundation Associate Professor of Accounting. “For me personally, there have been instances in which I have had problems with information being lost in the bureaucratic maze that exists between the UT campuses, and she seems to be the one person who has the presence of mind and know-how to help rescue me every time these snafus happen,” said Sompayrac. Aront has an instinctive way of knowing when to say the right thing to faculty, staff and students in the College of Business, according to Sompayrac. “When someone in our college is in distress or in need, she immediately ‘rallies the troops’ to collect money and/or other needed items to provide help and comfort in a time of need,” said Sompayrac. “She does her work with a smile and with seemingly so little effort that I think she makes it easy for folks to forget just how hard she works.”
Heather Grothe, Executive Secretary in the Department of English, is an excellent ambassador for the English Department and the University according to Sybil Baker, Assistant Professor, Creative Writing. “As a new faculty member at UTC, I can only say that Heather has given me a great impression of the University, especially concerning its warmth and organization. I have told many of my friends and colleagues about my great impression of UTC and a large part of that is because of Heather,” Baker said. Grothe assisted Baker with documentation for her move from South Korea to Chattanooga. She also helped with paper work for applying for a Live Near Your Work grant to assist Baker with buying a home in the MLK neighborhood. “With the addition of so many staff in the English Department another administrator of lesser talent and experience would have fallen to pieces this semester,” said Baker. “Yet Heather always seems cheerful and ready to lend an ear to all who need it. She is also very well organized and does anything that needs to be done the moment she's asked.”
Sheridon Smith of Custodial Services may have been nominated for the Blue Ribbon Award by Elizabeth Bailey, Teresa McKinney and Dr. Mary Tanner, but she has lots of fans all over Hunter Hall. Here are a few reasons why they appreciate Smith’s work ethic and her kindness. “Oh my goodness. Sheridon is wonderful! She feels like family. I can’t express enough how much I appreciate Sheridon. She may be the hardest worker in Hunter Hall.” “I whole-heartedly support nominating Sheridon for the Blue Ribbon Award. She has never failed to help me if I needed something, many times volunteering to do something without waiting to be asked to do it. I appreciate the way she just goes about her job and doesn't complain about the amount of work she is given to do.” “Sheridon is the best. I am in and out of my office often and if I miss Sheridon coming into my office, to wipe down, empty trash, whatever, she doubles back to be sure that I have a clean office to enter in the next day.” “This summer after Charlie had his heart attack, Sheridon was one of the first individuals to call and bake me one of her wonderful pound cakes. She brought it to us when Charlie got home from the hospital. She was just so kind and continued to inquire if there was anything we needed or something she could do for us.”
Joyce Blevins, Administrative Secretary, is the glue that holds together Cooperative Education, National and International Student Exchanges, according to Hugh Prevost, Director. While Prevost has spent the last year serving as Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Development, Blevins kept the office “running and running well with few bumps in the road, as well as kept me going where I was suppose to be and talking with everyone that I was supposed to talk with,” Prevost said. Her helpful way with students, faculty, staff and visitors has earned Blevins an outstanding reputation on campus. Blevins has been especially helpful by following up on all UTC exchange students, to ensure their classes and grades were recorded as part of their UTC record. “She has answered a variety of types of questions that I usually answer during my discussions with students. Joyce did that to save me some time to be able to do my other duties while ‘down the hall,’ and has given students and faculty correct answers,” Prevost said.
Shopping for University office furniture and supplies at the Surplus office in the Administration Building is a treat—the price is right, and patrons have a knowledgeable guide to take them through the maze of tables, chairs and discarded computers. Sue Morris, Surplus/Space Data Coordinator in Facilities Planning, not only keeps data on unwanted items, she notifies departments of Moveable Equipment Inventory Verification and she is also responsible for space inventory. Cindy Williams, Administrative Support Assistant III who nominated Morris for the Blue Ribbon Award, said “there are not many women who would physically handle the equipment and responsibility of this position the way Sue does. She knows this area like the back of her hand, and is always very attentive to everyone’s requests.” Morris recently helped locate and furnish an office for the new campus chaplain. “She has helped with the telephone campaigns and is a team player. She is another one of those people who have been with UTC for a long time (29 years) and serves very faithfully,” Williams said.
Teresa McKinney knows that effectiveness in the workplace requires technical skills and people skills, according to Dean Mary Tanner and Elizabeth Bailey, who nominated McKinney for this month’s Blue Ribbon award. McKinney is Administrative Support Specialist II for the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, which consists of seven separate academic units, the UTC Children’s Center and the Challenger Center for Teaching and Learning. “In the fall Teresa has a training session for all support staff to help everyone know how to process different university forms during the year,” said Bailey. “It has proved to be a benefit for everyone because it eliminates mistakes and forms relationships between offices.” McKinney also connects the college in a personal way. “Each new baby receives a gift made by Teresa,” Bailey said. “When there is a death or serious illness, she keeps us informed and has cards for us to send. In the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, we appreciate Teresa keeping us connected with her caring ways.”
Paula Klintworth “has functioned as an executive assistant, without the title or compensation” in her role as administrative specialist, according to Dr. Virgil Thomason, professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Speaking as a former acting head of the department and as a senior faculty member of the electrical engineering faculty, Thomason observed that Klintworth’s performance has been superior, as she sometimes worked without a department head or a permanent department head. “She has performed all the many duties of her position, as well as kept the department calendar, handled the routine student problems, and kept the administrative routine on schedule, without supervision and with minimal guidance from the faculty coordinators. Routinely she sought and accepted responsibility and achieved results.”
Valerah Hodges, Purchasing Control Coordinator, has fostered unity as chair for the Employee Relations Committee, according to Cindy Williams, Administrative Support Assistant III. Williams says Hodges is open to issues like staff benefits that concern all UTC employees. Hodges has also worked hard to ensure the success of the summer picnics for faculty and staff. Her professional and community contacts have provided many valuable door prizes at the events. “Not only does she contact a lot of these vendors herself, but once they promise donations, she uses her time, gasoline, and car to pick them up,” Williams said. “She prepares the prizes to be awarded and sends thank you notes to each and every donor.” Williams also thanks Hodges for moving the picnics inside, so that everyone on campus could enjoy them. “She wanted to make sure everyone could attend without health risks,” Williams said.
Julia Cronin, Student Employment Coordinator, is most deserving of the Blue Ribbon Award because she serves all offices on campus, and her many years with the University have given her the insight to work through problems and find solutions, according to Cindy Williams, Administrative Support Assistant III. Williams adds that Cronin continued to support the ERC chair after she completed her own tenure. “UTC is very lucky to have her as a supporting staff because she really cares about the University and team work,” Williams said.
On behalf of all the public service staff members in the Lupton Library, and all the UTC students who utilize the MocsPrint service, Theresa Liedtka, Dean, Lupton Library, has nominated Bill Johnson for “his incredible support.” Liedtka said Johnson, Help Desk Network Printing Administrator, was at a conference recently, and was notified of a problem with the MocsPrint system. He immediately solved the problem remotely, and encouraged Library personnel to call him again if there were other problems. During exams week, the MocsPrint system took money from Mocs cards, but students were not receiving their print jobs. Johnson was on his way to an appointment, but he immediately went back to work and logged in to resolve the problem remotely. “He not only fixed it temporarily, he showed up here in person a few minutes later to investigate the problem further. He turned off the pay feature for 30 minutes so that students could get their printouts without problems, in case the payment part of the system was the source of the malfunction. Then he monitored the results for quite a while to make sure that everything was running smoothly.” Liedtka appreciates Johnson’s positive attitude. “Throughout every issue we've had with the MocsPrint system, Bill has been unfailingly responsive, knowledgeable, polite, cheerful, and incredibly helpful. He is a gem!”