On Thursday, May 10, 2018, the Faculty Senate and Staff Advisory Council held it’s annual banquet.
During the dinner, this year’s Employee of the Year Award, Staff Advisory Council Award and the Spirit of Service Award recipients were recognized.
Employee of the Year Award: Sarah Kole, Housing Operations Coordinator - Housing and Residence Life
- Staff Advisory Council Award: Jill Russell, Assistant to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Accreditation and Special Projects
Spirit of Service Award: Karen Kempkes, Office Supervisor - Division of Continuing Studies
Employee of the Year Award
Sarah Kole was named Employee of the Year at the Faculty Senate/Staff Advisory Council Banquet. Her flexibility, kindness, and dedication helped earn her the award.
Her peers said, “In Sarah's role, she gets many interruptions answering our housing mainline and email and has to be able to adapt to every changing responsibilities and priorities. She has been excellent at exercising judgement to figure out what items should take priority while balancing all of her responsibilities so things don't get missed or dropped. Sarah is always willing to say 'yes' and take on other tasks as needed by students, co-workers and the department."
They continued, "While University Village was undergoing construction, she was asked to help coordinate the move process for students who needed to move, this was not in her job description. Sarah coordinated the puzzle of figuring when and where to move students largely by herself contacting students, making sure spaces were clean and ready and making sure keys were pulled."
About the Employee of the Year Award
The Employee of the Year is selected by the Chancellor from the 12 Employees of the Month from the previous calendar year (January-December). The recipient of this award demonstrates outstanding interpersonal skills, a deep understanding of his/her job, and an ability to adapt to any situation.
Staff Advisory Council Award
Jill Russell was presented the Staff Advisory Council at the Faculty Senate/Staff Advisory Council Banquet. Her incredible work coordinating this year’s accreditation review led UNO to one of the best initial reviews that Chancellor Gold and Senior Vice Chancellor BJ Reed has ever seen on campus and elsewhere.
Jill Russell previously taught in the College of Education and was elevated to executive director and assistant dean because of her great leadership skills and ability to get things done right. After leaving UNO, for a period, Jill returned to UNO in order to lead the accreditation efforts for the Academic & Student Affairs as well as lead the highly important strategic planning sessions and their steering committee. Jill is integral to UNO’s culture and mission. She truly has the maverick spirit at heart.
About the Staff Advisory Council Award
Any faculty or staff member is eligible for the recognition. This award recognizes a UNO employee who has been integral with UNO’s culture/mission and current momentum. Often, recipients will have a long career of dedication to UNO or have recently been a part of something major at UNO (or both). SAC strives to recognize the best of the best with this award!
Spirit of Service Award
Karen Kempkes was recognized with the Spirit of Service Award at the Faculty Senate/Staff Advisory Council Banquet for her dedication and care of her work and colleagues.
Her co-workers comment, "The strength of the university's mission can often be measured in the action of its members. Karen is an exemplary example of a staff member and alumnus who integrates a philosophy of service on behalf of UNO. She leads from the middle, never taking credit but appreciatively orchestrating the behind-the-scenes activities that enable us to do our work on behalf of UNO, without credit, fanfare or kudos."
They went on to say, "She cares deeply about individuals, appreciating persons beyond their defined roles and socially constructed labels. Thus, she is a mentor for the staff and students who report to her, a holder of institutional knowledge for colleagues with whom she interacts, and a sharer of wisdom for those who appreciate the knowledge acquired from experience."
About the Spirit of Service Award
The Spirit of Service Award recognizes an Office/Service employee who provides services that strengthen the community and improve the lives of others. The recipient of this award demonstrates a commitment to UNO by helping students, furthering his/her own education, and/or working toward advancement.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.