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Eight honored with Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award

Eight staff employees were honored with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award at a banquet April 13. The award recognizes exceptional performance; each recipient receives $2,000 and a plaque. Recipients’ names also are inscribed on a plaque displayed in the Staff Human Resources Office. Past winners are listed on the Web at www.pso.uiuc.edu/cdsa/cdsahall.html.

Permanent staff employees with at least two years of service or retired employees in status appointments during the calendar year can be nominated for the award by faculty or staff members or students. A committee appointed by the chancellor recommends finalists. The chancellor approves final winners.

The 2009 recipients:

Matt Carroll
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Matt D. Carroll

Matt D. Carroll, staff clerk in the department of electrical and computer engineering, is known for keeping things running smoothly in the print shop of the publications office. Carroll is responsible for making photocopies, binding books and theses, preparing materials for conferences as well as hiring and training student workers.

During the busy periods of class notes production every semester, Carroll handles the pressure of deadlines, quality standards and complex instructions with remarkable composure. During less busy times, Carroll works to improve processes in the department’s print shop. He investigates and proposes new services and supplies, plays a lead role in vendor selections, develops his skills in digital production and job management and works with the ECE Business Office and Computer and Technology Services to improve processes. In 2008, Carroll worked with Facilities and Services to improve the physical layout and workflow of the print shop.

Faculty and staff members and students rely on the print shop to reproduce a variety of important documents from short memos, lecture notes and exams, to lengthy manuals, research proposals and course packets. Even though schedules are usually tight, these documents must meet high quality standards and at any given time, Carroll can have 40 to 50 jobs that need to be done – all needed as soon as possible.

Marie-Christine Brunet, electrical and computer engineering chief adviser said that Carroll is always on top of things. “Our department is large and I do not know how he manages to do it all in such a timely manner,” she said.

Alyssa Galligan
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Alyssa J. Galligan

Alyssa J. Galligan, supervisor of the Small Animal Emergency Service and Intensive Care Unit in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has worked for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital for 17 years.

Galligan supervises all of the technical staff, interviews prospective candidates, and hires and trains all veterinary technicians in diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. She reviews and evaluates the work performed by staff members and is responsible for the maintenance of all of the equipment and supplies for the section. She monitors the financial status of the ER and ICU and assists with procedures such as bone-marrow aspirates and placement of central venous catheters. Galligan also acts as a liaison for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital with the Parkland College veterinary technology teaching staff.

A patient teacher, Galligan invests much of her time in the professional development of the ER and ICU technicians. She makes a significant impact on the overall skill level of the small animal veterinary technicians. Galligan is able to present clear explanations of complicated concepts whether speaking to a group or in conversations with students or colleagues.

“Alyssa is one of our ‘teacher’ technicians and is excellent at it,” said Karen Campbell, professor and head of specialty medicine in the department of veterinary clinical medicine. “No one leaves Alyssa’s training confused. She is thorough and patient and gives each technician the time that they need to master a concept before signing off on their training. This elevates the level of our ICU care and promotes excellence throughout the hospital.”

Galligan also works hard to make the environment at the hospital a positive one. She is the founding member of the Cheery Ladies Always Making Smiles (CLAMS), a morale-boosting group that offers positive support for staff members and students who go the extra mile. She goes out of her way to acknowledge people by sending e-mail messages of thanks and placing thank-you notes with candy in their mailboxes.

Patricia Grove
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Patricia L. Grove

Patricia L. Grove, an office administrator for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, is often the first person alumni encounter when contacting the school.

A member of the department for three years, Grove works to manage fundraising and alumni relations. She has worked with Diana Stroud, assistant dean for advancement, to build an organized and highly efficient program that serves as an important public face of the school. She works with the GSLIS advancement team to organize and host numerous events and activities. In 2008, Grove managed more than 40 events and individual visits to more than 200 donors throughout the United States and Canada.

It is not uncommon to find Grove attending to last-minute event details such as transporting guests between the hotel and event site to ease their uncertainty about directions or parking. Her logistical talent at coordinating every detail always makes events run smoothly.

Grove also is responsible for calling donors to arrange appointments and encourage them to attend receptions and activities. She shows leadership and outstanding management skills in her supervision of the two graduate assistants who assist her with special events, donor stewardship, thank-you letters, research, filing, documentation and other mailings. Grove understands fundraising and alumni relations and the value of those activities to the school and the university. She is always willing to talk with students, alumni and faculty members about advancement whenever the opportunity is available and appropriate.

“I am often told by alumni that they are disappointed they have not met Patti face-to-face, but enjoy the telephone contact they do have,” Stroud said. “During a recent dinner with a donor in Chicago, I was given a clear, loose rhinestone to take to Patti. The donor said it was a way for him to recognize special people and the important role they play in their work and in his life.”

Sandra Heibenthal
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Sandra K. Heibenthal

Sandra K. Heibenthal, office manager in the department of bioengineering, has managed more than the office since being the first employee of the bioengineering program 10 years ago – a time before the department existed.

After its approval as a new instructional unit by the Illinois Board of Higher Education in December 2003, the department of bioengineering had to be built from the ground up. Heibenthal worked with Elizabeth Stovall, assistant to the head, to ensure that the department would get off the ground successfully.

Heibenthal helped to set up new space and operational support in the Digital Computer Laboratory building and worked for more than a month with the other principals in the building to determine how mail and receiving would be handled between the diverse set of units who all had different needs. She set up the billing for the phones and figured out how to order and receive lab equipment and supplies.

Heibenthal also led efforts to implement the new Banner system for the department because when Banner had initially been used, the department hadn’t been operational to use it. Heibenthal completed the necessary training to become the Unit Security Contact for Banner and set up the necessary profiles to accomplish activities ranging from financial management and purchasing to human resources and student instructional support. Heibenthal then started training so that she could administratively support the department within Banner.

In addition, Heibenthal also is responsible for purchasing and inventory and assists in faculty recruitment while she performs staff secretary activities for the department head. In this role, she is responsible for a high level of interaction with the college and campus.

“Today, in a small department filled with eager young people, Sandy is our foundation,” said Michael F. Insana, a professor  and interim head of bioengineering. “She provides the institutional memory we need to establish normal operating procedures, and is a go-to person for getting things done.”

Mark Hurt
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Mark D. Hurt

Mark D. Hurt has worked as an agricultural gardener for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences for more than 20 years. Currently, he works for the Plant Care Facility in the Office of Research overseeing the care and maintenance of the plant material being grown for research and classroom laboratories in 20 greenhouse rooms and four courtyard areas in the Plant Sciences Laboratory Greenhouse.

Hurt sees that the plant material is watered and fertilized, applies pest- and disease-control measures as needed or requested by researchers and sees that the greenhouse rooms are kept clean and sanitary. He applies and removes whitewash annually and sees that the evaporative cooling system is clean and operating properly each spring. Hurt also is responsible for attending to and repairing equipment malfunctions in his area.

Hurt exhibits initiative and creativity by suggesting or developing improved work methods that increase efficiency and productivity for the facility. He put rope handles on all of the plant-waste containers making them easier and more ergonomically friendly to empty on a daily basis. Hurt also initiated installing automated drip-irrigation systems in four of his greenhouse rooms to make watering more efficient and consistent.

“Gardening as a profession and a passion also entwines with Marks’ chili-cooking hobby,” said Jozef L. Kokini, associate dean of research for the college. “Mark has been a reigning champion in the International Chili Society’s Chili Verde division for the state of Illinois and for western Kentucky. He grows about eight varieties of peppers and a couple varieties of tomato plants to put in his award-winning chili. It is through Mark’s personal interests as a gardener that he brings tremendous enthusiasm to his daily activities in the Plant Care Facility.”

Dusty Paris
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Dusty L. Paris

Dusty L. Paris, building service foreman for Facilities and Services, has worked at the UI for almost 15 years.

After working as a building service worker for only three years, Paris became a one-on-one trainer, an essential part of the department’s custodial training program. The supervisory staff acknowledged her superior work performance by offering her the opportunity to upgrade to the sub-foreman capacity, which led to her current job as foreman.

Paris is responsible for supervising 15-25 employees in addition to issuing work assignments, handling emergency situations and inspecting completed work to ensure the campus community is receiving the best possible service. She organizes special crews to carry out work orders and organizes carpet-cleaning jobs in most university buildings.

When a facility upgrade is in need of a foreman, Paris is the ideal candidate. She is often given a variety of administrative projects to work on and will adjust her own work schedule to accommodate the needs of the operation. Paris’ most recent large-scale project was her supervisory assistance of the custodial services in having the new addition of the Memorial Stadium professionally cleaned before the season opening game.

Paris is often called upon to carry out time studies, job estimates and to schedule appointments for providing services at appropriate times for customers. She also works to suggest ideas and methods to improve the operating efficiency of the campus. Many university departments have events throughout the academic year and in preparation for taking care of the added custodial services needed, Paris has organized work assignments to be followed by the building service workers.

“While her superior, on-the-job work performance has been nothing less than stellar, Dusty has also become a close friend to many of us at Facilities and Services,” said James W. Matthews, custodial supervisor. “We pride ourselves in teamwork, high values and reaching long-range goals. And in this area she truly shines.”

Sally Stillwell
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Sally M. Stillwell

Sally M. Stillwell, an administrative assistant in the College of Engineering, has been the face of the Office of the Dean for nearly 30 years. She has assisted five deans during her career, enabling each one to provide the necessary oversight for all activities of the college.

Stillwell is responsible for the organization, coordination and administrative functions of the office of the dean. Her position reports to the dean and requires daily contact with senior college and university administrators. Stillwell also coordinates public relations involving industrial, federal and international visitors and alums.  Her interactions always serve to enhance the image of the college and university.

The dean often needs to act promptly to address the many situations that come across his desk and Stillwell ensures that all issues are dealt with expeditiously and in confidence. To do this effectively, Stillwell has a working knowledge of university policies and procedures in addition to what is happening at other universities and governmental agencies. She not only controls the dean’s calendar, but she also screens communications and disseminates information to the appropriate person at the college. She composes correspondence for the dean’s signature, assists in various reports and processes faculty and staff related actions. Stillwell supervises staff and is responsible for making sure the office runs efficiently.

Stillwell is always concerned about the quality of service that she provides to faculty and staff members and visitors. This is especially evident each spring during faculty recruiting. She works with each department to coordinate each visitor’s meeting with the dean and other key leaders of the college. Stillwell welcomes each visitor and tweaks details to ensure everything is right so that each candidate’s visit goes smoothly.

Darrell Weakly
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Darrell E. Weakly

Darrell E. Weakly, electrician foreman for facilities and services, has provided quality electrical maintenance to the UI for more than 20 years.

As an expert in his field, Weakly is relied upon as a problem-solver and is known as a hard worker. He is often called upon to help troubleshoot problems with his co-workers. As a troubleshooter in the electric shop, Weakly has as many as seven to eight jobs on any given day. “Darrell can’t help but do a good job because he would personally feel let down at the end of the day,” said one of his co-workers. “When Darrell returns to the shop after a day’s work, you know that you have received a good day’s work.”

Weakly has established a stock of supplies to do electrical maintenance in a variety of buildings on campus. This initiative eliminates the need to make two trips to do a job. Usually, the first trip is to see what is needed for a repair and the second is to retrieve the material and return to do the repair. However, having a stock of supplies on hand at various buildings has proved to be effective not only for Weakly, but it also enables other troubleshooters to use the on-site material.

“Darrell’s vast knowledge of the buildings on campus is an invaluable resource to our shop,” said Greg Moen, electrician foreman for Facilities and Services. “He is always just a phone call away, eager to assist his co-workers. Usually after I pick his brain for some insight to the source of a problem, the result is a quicker repair, and we all know that time is money.

“Darrell works as hard in a mechanical room, out of sight as he would working in the President’s Office. A repair in a graduate student’s office is no less important than the one in the Chancellor’s Office – both will receive a quality repair.”

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