Members of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Staff Advisory Council, Faculty Senate, and the Academic Advising Council gathered in a virtual setting on Thursday, April 22, to celebrate two years of achievement and service to the university’s mission.
This year’s Faculty Senate/Staff Advisory Council/Academic Advising Council Recognition Banquet honored 2020 and 2021 award recipients due to last year’s in-person event being cancelled by the spread of COVID-19.
UNO Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., provided remarks, underscoring the importance of recognizing the achievements of faculty, staff, and advisors.
“What really makes our campus special is the people,” Gold said. “No matter how beautiful the facilities may be, no matter what kind of research, discovery and creative activity we do, and our student experiences, it really is the faculty, the staff, and programs that we have that define us and will define our future.”
Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Sacha Kopp, Ph.D., applauded the awardees for persevering through a year of pandemic, economic, and social challenges.
“For thousands of faculty and staff members, this is the group that sets the tone. This is what leadership, and compassion, and resilience, and ambition looks like,” Kopp said. “Thank you for all of your abilities to care for our students, and each other, and the university and our city.”
The event featured several recognitions across the faculty, staff, and advising populations on campus, including recognition of current Academic Advising Council board members as well as those who have completed or will be completing their terms on Faculty Senate and Staff Advisory Council.
Awards were also presented in recognition of contributions by UNO staff and advisors over the last two years.
Jonathan Acosta, President of the Academic Advising Council, celebrated each of the past year’s Advisors of the Month and named Alana White, assistant director of advising for the College of Arts and Sciences, asAdvisor of the Year.
Aileen Warren, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Human Resources, also announced two campus-wide staffing awards, the Spirit of Service Award and Employee of the Year Award.
The Spirit of Service Award
The Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes an office or service employee who provides services that strengthen the community and improve the lives of others, was given to Linda Riviera, administrative assistant for UNO Libraries.
The Employee of the Year Award
The Employee of the Year Award, which is selected from the previous year’s Employee of the Month awards, was presented toEvelyn Gould, human resources and payroll assistant.
The 2020 Employee of the Year Award recipient,Barb Harvey, administrative coordinator for the Office of Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion, was also recognized.
The two most recent presidents of Staff Advisory Council, Vanessa Hatfield-Reeker and Steven Summers, also presented their organization’s awards for 2020 and 2021:
Staff Advisory Council Recognition Award
Lacey Dudash (2021) - Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Admissions
Charley Steed (2020) - Associate Director of Communications, Office of University Communications
Above and Beyond Award
Rachael Jensen (2021) - Youth Safety Coordinator, Public Safety, and Interim Director, Office of Health Security
Janice Fink (2020) - Business Manager, College of Information Science & Technology
Unsung Hero Award
Brian Barry (2021) - Landscape Mechanic III, Campus Grounds
TonyPackauski(2020) - Custodian, Facilities Management & Planning
Recognition of Service Award
Hatfield-Reeker also announced that that the Staff Advisory Council passed a unanimous resolution to honor Chancellor Gold with a Recognition of Service Award for his years of service to the university.
More information about each of the awards presented is available below:
About the Advisor of the Year Award
The Advisor of the Year Award recognizes professional academic advisors for their exceptional service to students, their colleagues and/or the university. Candidates are chosen for their contribution and service, advocacy and collaboration, and initiative and attitude.
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.
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 Staff Advisory Council Recognition 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).
About the Above and Beyond Award
This award honors outstanding achievements in the workplace, exceptional contributions toward efficiency and effectiveness of operations, special efforts in promoting workforce excellence, or outstanding service to the University community and constituents.
About the Unsung Hero Award
The purpose of the award is to recognize a staff member who makes a significant contribution to the campus, but has not received the recognition that they deserve. Oftentimes, staff never seek recognition for themselves in the form of awards, formal leadership positions, or public accolades, but these professionals would do anything for their department and the UNO community; they are our everyday heroes.
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.