Blue Ribbon Winners, 2008
Julie Sanders, Coordinator for Project Lead the Way in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, provided the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) with excellent support to organize an ACT workshop for local high schools. According to Justin McBath, Region III UTC NSBE Treasurer and Finance Chair, Sanders said the group was having difficulty getting students to participate. “I told [Julie] about our dilemma and without even asking she took the initiative and almost immediately started making phone calls and writing emails to help us get our workshop off the ground. Thanks to Julie we made a very good impression on our new Dean of Engineering (Dr. Sutton), which really helped to put NSBE back in good standing not only with the engineering department, but with the community,” McBath said.
Following an accident which left beloved engineering professor and Director of Undergraduate Engineering Dr. Mike Jones injured and hospitalized, Andrea James, administrative assistant for undergraduate engineering, was among the first to respond and contact Jones’ many friends and colleagues, according to Dr. Will Sutton, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Andrea has helped facilitate both the management and replacement teaching for an irreplaceable faculty member and administrator,” Sutton said. She has, in addition, maintained an almost constant vigil on Mike's condition and his location, spending enormous amounts of her own time. She helped coordinate and facilitate all the people and paperwork, in his absence, so that things ran as well as they possibly could have. She kept the faculty and staff informed of Mike's condition and even coordinated with his extended family and friends. Most of all, Andrea made sure that not one undergraduate was adversely affected by the absence of our most key faculty member in dealing with undergraduates,” Sutton said. Dr. Gary McDonald has served as acting Director of Undergraduate Engineering in Jones’ absence. “Andrea has been invaluable in helping me learn and execute Dr. Jones’s responsibilities as a director while teaching my usual fall schedule of three class and a lab,” McDonald said. “I frankly could not be an acting Director without Andrea’s experience with administrative affairs. Andrea has also helped immensely in last year’s documents for new program accreditation in chemical and civil engineering sent to our accreditation agency, ABET. Both of those programs were successfully accredited this past summer as a civil engineering and as a chemical engineering program.” When James is thanked for a job well done, McDonald says her response is often, “Well, that is what I am here for.” Upon James’ selection as the Blue Ribbon Award recipient, McDonald predicted her reaction. “At first, she will probably be somewhat embarrassed by being nominated for an award concerning the events of the past few of months, but I am sure as time passes and she reflects on these events, I believe she will be appreciative and see the award as a symbol of our appreciation to her,” McDonald said.
When the U.S. Air Force Brass Quintet confirmed their campus concert during last year's Spring Break and just two weeks prior to the show date, Cindy Carroll, Assistant Director of University Relations, knew she didn't have much time to publicize the event and build an audience. Working with Terry Sanford from Music, Cindy set about calling media and submitting information. According to Assistant Professor of Music Kenyon Wilson, "Despite having only five days to promote the event (far short of the typical three-week requirement), Cindy put in the extra effort to make sure the event was well publicized. As a result, the recital was well-attended, despite the facts that it was on top of St. Patrick's Day festivities and that UTC students and most faculty were off campus the week before. She went the extra mile and spared the Music Department the embarrassment of a small audience for this fine ensemble."
Kelly Locke delivers a smile and directions for campus visitors who have lost their way and wonder into Bretske Hall looking for help. If she doesn’t know the answer to a question the visitor may have, she goes out of her way to the information needed, according to Wayne K. Williams, Lab Coordinator in Geology. Locke, Administrative Support Assistant II in the Geology Program, set up and organized an excellent department awards banquet to honor seniors and award recipients. “This involved arranging the food (Aramark), the place (The Patton House), designing and delivering the invitations as well as designing the awards/certificates that the students received at the banquet,” Williams said. Locke also pulls double duty when the physics secretary is not at work, providing administrative assistance for both physics and geology. “There are countless other things that Kelly does to keep the Geology Department running smoothly but I just wanted to point out the things she has been involved in lately that go above and beyond the call of duty,” Williams said.
Manager of Graphic Design April Cox has a reputation for producing eye-catching printed pieces like homecoming posters, special event invitations and alumni publications. By devoting after-work hours under a pressing deadline, she recently created an outstanding 24-page full-color booklet Scott Koskoski called “a fundraising publication unlike any in the University’s history that will undoubtedly raise UTC Athletics more annual dollars than any previous effort.” Koskoski, Assistant Athletics Director for Development, said that while the project is within Cox’s job description, the care and time she put into the project was above and beyond what she is paid to do. “Under intense time constraints and over the July 4 holiday weekend, she transformed what was a tri-fold brochure into a 24-page full-color booklet that is on par with publications and donor material at some of the biggest and best athletics programs in the country.”
June and July
Jim Bowman, Technology Support and Tracy Scott III in Telecommunications are Barbara Keegan’s new heroes. With limited outside technicians who have the know-how to fix the Fuel Lock System in the Motor Pool office, Keegan turned first to Bowman to check her computer, a 15-year old with its better days behind it. “Jim worked for two days trying to save what he could. It did not look good. He told me he had a newer unit that he could load Windows on if I could find a way to install the basic pump system on it we might have a chance. He worked with a technician by phone (the technician was rude I know because I talked with him and he was little help). Jim took the old computer to his office to try and recover as much data as possible while I loaded what I could on the newer unit. One weekend and a day later he recovered and uploaded my data from the old to the new! It saved me at least a month or more of data entry,” Keegan said. When Bowman hooked up the computer, dedicated for the gas pump, there was a problem. Tracy Scott III came to the rescue. After replacing all the wiring and days spent locating the problem, he reversed the polarity in the wiring and now the computer speaks to the gas pump, and Keegan is very happy. “It was a bad time all around for all of this to happen, but both men worked tirelessly and courteously,” Keegan said.
Chris Tanis, UTC Webmaster, was a “life-saver” as Women's Studies began the process of adding a major to the program, according to Dr. Marcia Noe, Professor of English and Director of Women's Studies. “One of our most formidable tasks has been creating, modifying, and updating the Women's Studies Website,” Noe said. Women’s Studies had previously used a website designed by an outside contractor who used a grid-like format, making the page difficult to update. “Chris took over, re-designed the site in a format that made it easy to update, included the new curriculum for the major, our newsletter, and our schedule of classes, added links to other women's studies programs in Tennessee, and developed a blog feature for the site,” Noe said. “She also removed the dated and generic student photos the previous designer used and substituted lovely photos of the UTC campus that personalize and individualize the site and identify it as uniquely UTC. The site is now attractive, up-to-date, complete, and easy to navigate. We would have had to pay thousands of dollars to an outside contractor to get the results that Chris got for us. She made the job look easy, although I'm sure it wasn't, and any recruitment success we achieve with the new women's studies major we owe in large part to her efforts.”
Cindy Williams in the office of the Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs was nominated by Julia Cronin, Student Employment Coordinator, as the April Blue Ribbon Award recipient. “A couple of weeks after Cindy moved to her new position in the AP-for Academic Affairs Office, it was time to turn in work hours for the students working in her previous department - Foreign Languages. I had not received their time sheets so I called Foreign Languages only to find out that no one who knew how to complete the time sheets was there,” Cronin said. “The faculty member who answered the phone was very concerned and said he would try to find someone who could help. An hour or so later, Cindy appeared in my office – completed time sheets in hand. She had left her new office, gone down to Foreign Languages, pulled the student’s sign-in sheets, completed their time sheets and hunted down someone within the department to sign them. Then she brought them back up the hill to me. I was very impressed and the students were grateful to receive their pay on time. It shows a dedication and sense of responsibility that goes beyond the expected.”
John Shulman, head coach of men’s basketball, made a night of basketball very special for a young man in the Chattanooga Big Brother-Big Sister Association. According to Reed Sanderlin, English Department and retired golf coach, he took his Little Brother Cameron to a UTC basketball game at the McKenzie Arena, and Shulman invited the pair to visit the locker room after the game. “When John came in the locker room the first thing he did was introduce Cameron before all the team, kidded him about being a student here at UTC, and given Cameron's small size, teasingly predicted Cameron would end up as a point guard,” Sanderlin said. “After Coach Shulman had addressed the team, he again turned to Cameron and told the team to introduce themselves and sign one of the programs for him that was lying on a table. When he had the team all gathered together in the middle of the room and held their hands up to touch hands, he had Cameron join in (needless to say, there was a lot of tiptoeing to do that). Afterwards, almost all the players came over and shook Cameron's hand, signed autographs, and chatted a minute or two. I've told many of my friends about Coach Shulman's kindness--he went way of his way to have this happen. I certainly personally appreciate what he did. I believe it reflects his own fine character, and I also believe it very powerfully reflects the positive outreach of so many here at the University.”
Leslie Harms works hard during and after work hours to support students with disabilities, according to Michelle Rigler, Director, Office for Students with Disabilities. Harms, Academic Support Specialist in the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), performs the work of two people in similar positions at other colleges, but Rigler says Harms never complains because she is truly there for the students. “She has recently worked out through the theatre department to interpret a production for each offering free of charge so students and other community members with hearing impairments or who are deaf feel welcome to attend,” Rigler said. “Leslie has also led the way in offering communication training across campus so faculty and staff have a strong understanding in how to communicate with this population. Finally, Leslie is an incredible advocate for students with disabilities and students as a whole. Students come in daily just to see her or sit in her office because that is where they feel safe. Leslie is truly a blessing within the Office for Students with Disabilities, but also for the University as a whole. “
Kelly Griffin, administrative support assistant in the Department of Communication, went far beyond the call of duty to ensure the success of the Department of Communication's second Documentary Shorts Film Festival, according to Dr. Elizabeth Gailey, Associate Professor. The film festival was designed to allow the public to screen the work of 16 students from Gailey’s Documentary Video Production course. “Kelly seemed to ‘know’ ahead of time that the evening would be a bigger deal than I had expected,” Gailey said. “In addition to making the food arrangements, she went out of her way to prepare special awards plaques for the students whose films were selected for top honors. She arrived with everything we would need (but didn't think to bring ourselves) to make the night a success, including the all-important pencils the audience would use to fill out their ballots for their favorite film. All night, despite the fact that she is in the third trimester of her pregnancy, she stood outside the door to assist people and to make sure everything went smoothly. She stayed until the bitter end (from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.), helping tabulate the audience ballots and afterwards making sure that we left the room in good order.” Gailey added that Griffin’s preparations and presence had an “incredibly positive impact on the success of the event,” which benefited both the Department of Communication and the University.