Staff Community Awards

Every year, Staff Council collects nominations from the campus community to recognize the work of staff over the past year and selects one winner per category to receive an Staff Community Award.



Collaboration Award


The Collaboration Award promotes and rewards outstanding collaborative efforts between colleagues at Westminster College. This award recognizes collaboration that positively improves the lives of Westminster students, faculty, and staff, making Westminster College an exceptional place to live and learn. Collaborations could be between staff members, staff and faculty, across departments, etc., as long as 2 entities are working together.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Nominations must include parties taking part in a collaborative effort
  • Collaborative efforts must exhibit a positive impact towards strengthening colleague relationships
  • Collaborative efforts must exhibit a positive impact towards improving the Westminster experience

 

Collaboration Award Nominees

  • Nathan Aldrich

    Nathan Aldrich

    Help Desk Manager
    Information Services

    Nominator: Chris Eggett

    Nomination: During the COVID-19 crisis, Nate has taken it upon himself to learn the ins and outs of Microsoft Teams to ensure that he understands how the program works. Nate has taken the time to work with faculty to integrate teams into their teaching styles. Nate has also worked with students daily to ensure they are successful using teams and canvas throughout the crisis.

  • Gail Avendaño

    Gail Avendaño

    Director of Aviation Student Support
    Flight Operations

    Nominator: Lisa Heiskell

    Nomination: Gail is a valuable partner and collaborator with the Career Center. Over the past 2 years, in particular, she has worked tirelessly to continually improve the internship process and experience for Business and Aviation program students. This ultimately sets up students for improved success upon graduation. One form of this collaboration has been in making improvements with the offerings to her internship class for Business and Aviation program students, with close collaboration with the Career Center. This involves adjusting syllabi to continually seek ways to position students for their future path as professionals in the working world. Gail is willing to offer and seek feedback that will improve the student experience in her pursuit of program excellence.

  • Frances Peacock

    Frances Peacock

    Award Winner
    Assistant Director
    Student Success and Retention

    Nominator: Christie Fox

    Nomination: I am nominating Frances Peacock for her efforts in cooperating with Veterans and Military Services Office, the Center for Global Engagement, and the Admissions Office. Frances is an Assistant Director of Student Success and Retention, but she also has an extra line to her job title: she’s the designated advisor for veterans, international, and transfer students. She serves very specific student populations who share some, but not all, attributes, which means that every day she works across and with other departments to improve the student experience.

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    Natalie Seely

    Director of Policy Development and Insurance Programs
    Legal, Risk Management, and Safety

    Nominator: Bri Buckley

    Nomination: Natalie Seely meets the award criteria in that she facilitates communication across many campus departments through her work as the director of policy development and insurance programs. She chairs the Risk Committee, assembles policy working groups, and continuously reaches out to other staff and faculty groups in order to create solutions to close policy and operational gaps. She is in constant communication and is always soliciting feedback from other working groups to ensure that all stakeholders are represented in all of the projects in which she's involved.

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    Janalyn Smith

    Senior Payroll Specialist
    Accounting

    Nominator: Jodi Mayo

    Nomination: Jana carries a huge load and has been so wonderful in her training. She has stayed many late nights for payroll issues. She is an awesome and very dedicated team member.

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    Jess Sweitzer

    Director of Residence Life
    Student Service Administration

    Nominator: Jody Katz

    Nomination: Jess is a committed and dedicated professional that has been working collaboratively to provide access to students with disabilities. She has enthusiastically embraced weekly meetings with the Disability Services director to ensure that students are provided access. Her efforts have removed barriers for students seeking housing accommodations and exemptions. She is also committed to ensuring that resident advisors have adequate accommodations and access. Her work is assisting with removing barriers, stigma, and making Westminster College a more accessible and welcoming environment for students with disabilities. In addition to her collaborative efforts, Jess has been extremely welcoming and engaging to me as a new director here as Westminster College. She has gone out of her way to assist me with making connections and establish relationships; she is an exceptional colleague that deserves recognition for her efforts.

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    The Center for Centers

    Nominator: Julie Tille

    Nomination: The Center for Centers has worked hard to collaborate programming efforts to positively impact the Westminster community. The Environmental Center, the Student Diversity and Inclusion Center, and the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement strategize to combine student training, programming, and celebrations to enhance each department's individual efforts, while also enhancing the student experiences. From our shared experiences, students have gotten to know each other and each of our programs better, and we have seen through student learning reflections that this has helped to support their learning in their co-curricular roles. It has also made the Center for Centers space a very fun place to be. The collaborative nature of the centers has been an incredible benefit to all involved and is something we take pride in, while also challenging ourselves to continue to fine-tune.

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    Julie Tille

    Director
    Dumke Center for Civic Engagement

    Nominator: Kari Lindsey, Mackenzie Bledsoe, Bridger Layton

    Nomination: At Westminster College, the Center for Centers in Bassis Center for Student Learning is itself a collaborative effort—4 centers operating in 1 building (the Writing Center, Dumke Center for Civic Engagement, Environmental Center, and Student Diversity and Inclusion Center). There is much overlap between the centers, the biggest of all being student success and social justice. As such, the directors and coordinators work very closely with each other.

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Emerging Leader Award

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a new professional at the college or a professional who has recently moved into a new leadership role on campus. The recipient has created an impact on campus within their role by being open to learning and challenging themselves and others. This staff member has demonstrated commitment to the college and is seen as an outstanding professional in their department and/or within their field of work.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Seeks additional responsibilities and opportunities and (either formally or informally) influences and inspires others to improve and grow
  • Has demonstrated a commitment to their role and the betterment of their team’s experience working at the college
  • Engages in and/or develops opportunities for community development and serves as a positive member in the campus community

Emerging Leader Award Nominees

     

  • Nathan Aldrich

    Bri Buckley

    Director of Campus Safety
    Legal, Risk Management, and Safety

    Nominator: Sara Demko

    Nomination: Bri really stepped up this year to help the campus respond to a pandemic and an earthquake. She organized weekly updates and coordinated the campus response as well as represented the college in the community. Bri always remained calm despite dealing with tremendously stressful situations. I am incredibly grateful to have her as a colleague, and she deserves all our appreciation for her leadership through this crisis.

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    Jody Katz

    Award Winner
    Director
    Disability Services and Testing Center

    Nominator: Christie Fox

    Nomination: Since arriving on campus in November 2019, Jody Katz has become an important thought leader in how we look at students with disabilities and has transformed the office of Disability Services. Jody was most excited about the position of disability in Westminster's diversity statement and immediately began working in improving access and dismantling ablest practices around campus.


    In her 6 months on campus, she has: improved our Disability Services...

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    Sam McGettigan

    Financial Aid Counselor
    Financial Aid

    Nominator: Alison Vasquez

    Nomination: Sam and I work very closely with students who wish to study abroad and use financial aid. Sam is very committed to assisting these students through the lengthy process of approving financial aid for their program and completing the necessary paperwork once they are abroad so their funds can be dispersed. He is extremely patient even if he has to contact a student numerous times to make sure they comply with financial aid regulations. He worked closely with the Office for Global Engagement to revise the process students have to complete to make it easier and less cumbersome. He also worked closely with us to change how we disperse funds for certain programs so the students could more easily access their financial aid. Sam is always open to new ways of doing things and approaches his work with a positive attitude. I appreciate Sam's willingness to always look for ways to improve our services and support of students.

 

Exemplary Griffin Award

The Exemplary Griffin Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates leadership by mentoring, coaching, inspiring, and motivating colleagues. The recipient promotes excellence in teamwork, performance, and achievement within their department and demonstrates a commitment to and support of the college’s vision, creativity, and innovation while promoting inclusiveness and respect for difference.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Mentors and coaches colleagues in both their department and/or across the campus
  • Serves on committees to represent their peers and to support change impacting the college
  • Often recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of their peers and actively engages in providing critical and constructive feedback

Exemplary Griffin Award Nominees

     

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    Kenton Gregory

    Maintenance Foreman
    Maintenance

    Nominator: Bri Buckley

    Nomination: Kenton Gregory is an exemplary Griffin because he serves on multiple committees both to represent his department and provide expertise in the issues being addressed, most of which affect our campus at large. He serves on the Risk Management and Compliance Committee and Emergency Preparedness Committee, the missions of which are particularly relevant now. He has stepped up to the challenge of being interim director of Plant Management and Facilities and continues to be a great leader of his crew in Maintenance and Grounds. He is always willing to provide input and help when needed, and his care and commitment are evident in the quality of his work around campus. The work that Kenton and his crew do may not be immediately visible to every member of our campus community, but we could not adequately perform in our own roles without all of the contributions from him and his department.

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    Debbie McKinstry

    Director of Advancement Services
    Institutional Advancement

    Nominator: Office of Advancement

    Nomination: Debbie McKinstry began her career as director of advancement services at Westminster in 2005. Debbie demonstrates that everyone, no matter their position at Westminster, is a part of our students’ success every day. As a member of Institutional Advancement, she is integral in our ability to engage and fundraise successfully with thousands of alumni, parents, and friends each year. She leads a growing team that handles all of our alumni contact data, philanthropic gift processing, prospect research and management, alumni engagement tracking, gift accounting, fundraising results, pledge fulfillment and pledge commitment processes, and efforts to coordinate scholarship awards with financial aid.

    During her time at Westminster, Debbie has mentored 7 past...

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  • Emily Swanson

    Emily Swanson

    Award Winner
    Director
    Library

    Nominator: Chloe Barnett

    Nomination: In the Giovale Library, we often talk about how lucky we are to work with a collaborative and close-knit team. What the rest of the campus might not realize is that the success of our team, and the achievements of individuals within our department, has so much to do with the outstanding leadership and mentoring of the Library Director, Emily Swanson. It is difficult to put into writing the many ways in which Emily is an "exemplary Griffin"—but here goes.

    1. Emily has instituted collaborative, departmental goal-setting within the library. Every year, our staff work together to determine, initiate, and accomplish goals for collection development, library services, teaching and learning, and information access. This fosters collaboration among library staff, allows each staff member to take on a leadership role to help the team accomplish a specific...

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    Cassidy Thomas

    Administrative Assistant/Office Manager
    School of Education

    Nominator: Kiana Avlon

    Nomination: Cassidy has done an exemplary job coordinating the transition online to support the School of Education faculty and students. He spearheaded a wonderful online orientation for the Master of Arts in Community Leadership, Master of Education, and Master of Arts in Teaching program summer semester start students. He's gone above and beyond, assisting new students learning the ins and outs of using Westminster platforms like self-service to register for classes and teams to join orientation and adjust to online classes. He's really demonstrated how much he cares about continually supporting our new Westminster students during these uncertain times by going above and beyond with helping students start the semester every step of the way!

  • Arrika Von

    Arrika Von

    Director of Strategic Communications
    Office of Marketing, Communication, and Events

    Nominator: Sheila Rappazzo Yorkin

    Nomination: I would like to nominate Arikka Von. The word exemplary is synonymous with the way Arikka performs her job. She has progressively become the mentor and coach within our team on so many projects because she is willing to share her thoughts and ideas and then help bring an idea to fruition. She jumps into projects to offer strategies, tactics, and practical feedback to get the task accomplished while focusing on the big picture. Her work has depth and breadth. I have relied on Arikka to take the initiative and be able to bring folks along to work at hand. She takes the time to reach out to faculty and staff on a regular basis and is able to build relationships that enhance the work we do in...

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Campus Innovation and Impact Award


The Campus Innovation and Impact Award recognizes a staff member or department who uses creativity to develop new or improve processes, systems, products, methods, or services and encourages others across the campus to do the same. The recipient makes innovation a priority and takes reasonable and calculated risks that improve Westminster and make the campus community a better place to live and work.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Carefully assesses and identifies problematic systems or processes impacting the campus community and quickly implements new ideas into action to solve the issue(s)
  • Questions existing assumptions and beliefs and considers diverse perspectives in challenging those ideals
  • Creatively navigates limited resources to address rising concerns impacting the college and provides a wide range of suggestions to approach change in a practical and mindful manner

 

Campus Innovation and Impact Award Nominees

     

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    Kristen Kerr

    Award Winner
    Campus Visit and Events Coordinator
    Admissions

    Nominator: Erica Johnson

    Nomination: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to nominate Kristen Kerr. When I arrived on campus last summer, I encouraged Kristen to evaluate our campus visit program and identify opportunities for improvement. Using admitted student research from previous years, Kristen noted the strong impact class visits and faculty interaction have on a student's decision to attend Westminster. While there was a current program in place that allowed students to visit classes, it wasn't widely advertised or used by visiting students. This was a lost opportunity, given the powerful influence of class visits. Beginning at the end of fall...

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Student Success Award

The Student Success Award recognizes a staff member who has gone above and beyond to provide support and services for students. The recipient is known to create space for students to be heard and valued and acts as a mentor to students to create a transformational and accessible student experience. This staff member cares deeply about students and their education.

Criteria (must meet 1 or more):

  • Seeks to improve services, processes, systems, and/or products that enhance the living and learning environment for Westminster students
  • Creates space for students to feel safe and respected and works diligently to advocate on behalf of students by bringing their voices to the decision table
  • Positively speaks about the college student experience while promoting new ideas to elevate the standards of learning at the college (i.e. through collaborative efforts with other departments and faculty)
  • Invests time and energy in mentoring and coaching students through their student development and creates learning opportunities outside the classroom for students to implement their learning into practice

 

Student Success Award Nominees

     

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    MacKenzie Bledsoe

    Award Winner
    Program Coordinator
    Dumke Center for Civic Engagement

    Nominator: Kari Lindsey

    Nomination: I excitedly submit my nomination letter for Mackenzie Bledsoe, coordinator for the Dumke Center for Civic Engagement and the Walkways Program. Mackenzie inspires me every day to fight for students and create new practices that are more inclusive, welcoming, and celebratory.

    Through her position for Walkways to Westminster, Mackenzie is diligent in training her student mentors to have emotional and cultural intelligence. These students receive training in sexual assault prevention, inclusivity, and asset-based frameworks. In this way, Mackenzie advocates for student success both for present Griffins (who benefit from her leadership and guidance), and future...

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    Jimmy Kendall

    Assistant Director
    Student Success and Retention

    Nominator: Christie Fox

    Nomination: While it might seem obvious to nominate an assistant director of Student Success and Retention for a student success award, I want to call out Jimmy Kendall for his tireless work using a particularly innovative approach to working with some of our most precarious students.

    For the past several years, Jimmy has had the full spectrum of students on probation in his caseload. While this number varies a bit from semester to semester, it's not a small number and comprises the students who need the most ongoing and comprehensive support. Last year, Jimmy piloted a student success class for students on probation. While it’s not required, it is strongly recommended, and we’ve seen small...

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  • Julian Mendez

    Julian Mendez

    Associate Professor
    Psychology

    Nominator: Nancy K. Brown

    Nomination: Julian Mendez has gone above and beyond to provide support and services for first-generation students through his work as the academic coordinator for the Legacy Program. He designed and created the Legacy STEPS program, a cohort for high achieving students from first-generation populations who transfer to Westminster from community colleges. Julian created the cohort to foster academic and social integration for his students as well as family and community engagement. Julian has been the driving force behind the Legacy STEPS cohort, and his amazing effort and dedication to students brought the program to fruition. He has been a tremendous mentor to all of the students in the cohort for the past 2 years, and this May, the...

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  • Winter Morse

    Winter Morse

    Director, Client Services
    Information Services

    Nominator: Chris Eggett

    Nomination: Winter always has students’ best interests in mind every time she is working on a project. During the COVID-19 crisis, Winter has gone out of her way to ensure that there are plenty of laptops available for student check out. She has spent several hours working with students to ensure that they have success using teams.

    Winter has also been a mentor to several of the student employees; she was always going out of her way and asking how their classes are going. If they have an idea to improve the Information Services process, she will encourage them to try it. If the idea works, she will run with it, and if it doesn't work, she will take the time to work the student and try to improve the process.

    Westminster would not be the same without Winter.

  • Will Shiflett

    Will Shiflett

    Graduate Business Programs Operations Director
    School of Business

    Nominator: Stephanie Moyle

    Nomination: Will is singularly focused on student success. Will is fair-minded, service-focused, and Will goes above and behind the call of duty to help graduate students. As one example, a few weeks ago, during the COVID-19 shutdown situation, Will delivered textbooks to students who were unable to come to campus. Will has been a source of great stability, especially during the COVID shutdown.

    Gore is very lucky to have Will as a team member. Thanks, Will!

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    Jovana Sisovic

    Tax Institute Clinic Coordinator
    School of Business

    Nominator: Anonymous

    Nomination: Jovana is the Director of the Westminster Tax Clinic, which provides high quality, transformative internship experiences to Gore School of Business students and serves the broader community by providing pro bono tax preparation and financial advocacy services. The clinic is part of the national Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, comprising such tax clinics around the country. There are other clinics based at higher education institutions in Utah, but Westminster's is the best thanks in large part to Jovana's outstanding leadership of our operation.

    Students register for a course in the Gore School, which has as its primary activity doing an internship in the clinic. Jovana trains and mentors the student interns, who work...

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  • Tiana White

    Tiana White

    Director of Outdoor Programs
    Fitness, Wellness, Recreation

    Nominator: Oliver Anderson

    Nomination: When I think of an outstanding colleague who works day-in and day-out for our students, I think of Tiana White. When I ask students about who has impacted their lives, I hear the raves of Tiana's mentoring, leadership, and kindness. When I sit in large meetings and feel the conversation losing its focus on the student experience, I hear Tiana's voice, reminding colleagues why we're here; why we do what we do. Tiana is truly an amazing human and leader on this campus, dedicated to the success of our students—allow me to share some brief examples.

    Last year, I was challenged by Tiana on my approach to handling...

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