2019 Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Awards
Read about the contributions of seventeen stellar staff members who were honored with these Arts and Sciences Awards for Distinguished Service
The annual Arts and Sciences Staff Excellence Awards for Distinguished Service recipients were honored by Peter March, Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Tom Vosseler, Interim Vice Dean of Administration, for their distinguished record in service excellence and dedication to the School of Arts and Sciences and our students and constituents at a reception at Winants Hall on February 7. The awards honored ten individual staff members and two teams. Executive Dean Peter March opened the ceremony by emphasizing the critical role that staff play in meeting the mission of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Scroll down or click on a name to read the citation
Individual Awards: Courtney Borack, Carolyn Burger, Elizabeth deWolfe, Marie Ferguson, Donna Ghilino, Dale Koznecki, Robert Porcja, William Schneider, Matt Wosniak, Peter Zitelli
Team Awards: Department of Psychology Undergraduate Office and SAS Human Resources Onboarding Team
Individual Award Winners
Courtney Borack, Administrative Assistant, English Department Graduate Program
Courtney Borack is a superb administrator. As Administrative Assistant to the Graduate Program, Courtney epitomizes the highest standards of performance and service. She collaborates brilliantly with the Senior Administrative Assistant, the Director, the Associate Director, and other staff within and beyond the department. She communicates with our graduate students with warmth and professionalism, and they know they can count on her to answer questions, provide guidance about deadlines and upcoming opportunities, and cheer their accomplishments and ongoing progress. Faculty, too, depend on Courtney, who communicates with dissertation directors, advisers, and student review committee members throughout the year. Courtney’s extraordinary organizational skills, her diligence, and her attention to detail help ensure that the office runs seamlessly, while her generosity, her tact, her kindness—not to mention her unrivaled talents as a baker—mean that the graduate office is a place where students, faculty, and staff come when they need information, assistance with a problem, or sometimes just a boost in morale in the middle of a rough day. Because of her crucial work, Rutgers English has been able to mentor, track, assess, and support its students with unparalleled success. This has made an enormous difference to our ability to recruit top students and to place them in excellent academic jobs, even in a very difficult job market. We truly couldn’t do it without her. Courtney’s extraordinary dedication and professionalism soared to an even higher level (I wouldn’t have thought it possible) over the course of the past year. Last spring, during what is generally the most administratively complex and labor-intensive part of the academic year, Courtney took on an immense catalog of responsibilities with a cheerful efficiency and self-possession that was simply dazzling. As Acting Senior Administrative Assistant, she managed the day-to-day running of the graduate office, monitored our students’ longer-term funding, maintained all the paperwork regarding student fellowships and grants, and made sure data was registered in the proper places in the various databases, offices, systems, so that all records were kept up to date. She organized and oversaw graduate admissions, the graduate student open house, the annual symposium, and a wide array of events and meetings. She advised the Director on the allotment of funding lines, and interfaced with School of Graduate Studies, SAS, the Business office, the Undergraduate English office and the Writing Program to facilitate conference funding, teaching assignments, summer grant funding, the awarding of prizes and honoraria. She was truly indefatigable. In order to take over from the Senior Administrative Assistant, Courtney mastered a vast new set of systems, databases, protocols, rules, and processes in a matter of weeks. She single-handedly administered the intricacies of the admissions process, navigating not only the SGS grad portal and grad tracking system but also the departmental database used to enter admissions scores, generate reports, and track the review process for the admissions committee. Not a ball was dropped, and it was entirely owing to Courtney’s resourcefulness, her exceptional organizational skills, her professionalism, and her amazing work ethic. Her intelligence, thoughtfulness, cheerfulness, discretion and tact have made her a beloved and indispensable resource for our graduate students, for faculty, and all who are fortunate enough to work with her. It is an honor and a privilege to work with her. Courtney Borack richly deserves this award.
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Carolyn A. Burger, Manager Supervisor, The Language Center
Carolyn Burger embodies the spirit and ideals of the SAS Staff Excellence Recognition. From 1973 Carolyn has been a part of Rutgers since her undergraduate days at Douglass College, where she took her B.A., and then Spanish and Portuguese, where she completed her M.A. In the early-mid 1980s she worked with what was then P.A.L.S., now RELI, as an English language lab instructor. Her efficiency and talents did not go unnoticed; the then-director of the Language Labs, Marion Yudow, appointed Carolyn as the Assistant Director in the late 1980s. She has served in the Language Labs, now The Language Center, ever since. In 2014 Marion Yudow stepped down as Executive Director of TLC, and then-Dean Jimmy Swenson asked me to serve as Faculty Director. I agreed only if the extant staff remained intact, and only if Carolyn were the manager, to which he agreed. Luckily, Carolyn was in place as Manager, because soon after the language departments were moved to AB, the venerable Language Lab building was slated for demolition in 2018. Through Carolyn's patience and dogged persistence, TLC moved into Downtown NB at 1 Spring Street, a colossal task involving the transfer of technology, staff, and classes that has disrupted our entire operation until today. Then, the Language Engagement Project took off. Even though faculty comprise the vast majority of the committee posts, Dean Stephens named Carolyn as a member of the Steering Committee, which gave her access to all the workings of the project. She has thus overseen the implementation of the new course code 991, used exclusively for LEP courses, has trained faculty and staff in the nuances of language learning and teaching, and has negotiated delicate arrangements with the BTAA and ACTFL (the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign [sic] Languages as we build an undergraduate curriculum and continue to serve graduate students in the various M.A.T. programs in languages. In addition, Carolyn directs the operations of TLC and its sub-units (Language Labs, World Languages Institute, Translation and Interpreting program) and formulates and executes short- and long-range strategic planning, establishes governing fiscal policies and administrative procedures, and develops and implements technology–based initiatives. In essence, without Carolyn, I would never have agreed to be Faculty Director, because her institutional knowledge, work ethic, and sense of pride in her work are second to none. In short, my career-long involvement with languages and the language lab at RU has always included Carolyn in some fashion or other. There is no staff member who could be more deserving of this honor than she. I recommend Carolyn Burger without the slightest reservation for the Excellence Recognition
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Elizabeth deWolfe, Program Coordinator I, Department of German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures
Elizabeth deWolfe, Program Coordinator for the Department of German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures—a complex department—housing two distinct programs (German, which has a graduate program; and Russian and East European Languages and Literatures), excels at all aspects of her job, and is making an outstanding contribution to our department, to SAS, and to Rutgers as a whole. Elizabeth began working for the department in 2004, after she graduated from Rutgers cum laude with Highest Honors in History. Elizabeth handles all aspects of her job with expertise and aplomb: she is unflappable, eminently reliable, and remarkably creative in responding to the many challenges of her position. And these are indeed many. Elizabeth is responsible for the daily operations of the departmental office. In addition to serving as the primary—and indeed only—staff support person for the department Chair, Undergraduate Director of German, Graduate Director of German, and Director of Russian and East European Languages and Literatures, she provides assistance to all department faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students; oversees course scheduling; manages the department budget; maintains the department website; supervises undergraduate student staff; organizes department events; administers the department payroll, including work-study, PTL, NTT, and TT appointments; meticulously processes the paperwork for visas and tenure and promotion packets; interacts with donors; schedules visits for guest lectures and semester visitors, arranging housing, transportation, and payment of honoraria; for many years contributed support to our Rutgers in Berlin summer program, and the list goes on and on. Elizabeth has an exceptional ability to organize efficiently. When the department moved to a new location, Elizabeth saw the opportunity for transformation, plowing through decades of accumulated paperwork, detritus, and chaotic bookkeeping, fashioning a departmental model of efficiency. Elizabeth also has a remarkable ability to create community, making everyone feel important, respected, and welcome: students, faculty, and the community at large, and is especially good at cultivating donor relations. Elizabeth is committed to Rutgers and to the values of the School of Arts and Sciences. As a Rutgers graduate (she holds both a B.A. and a Masters in Library Science), she understands the student perspective well, and reminds the faculty of what works for students: how to catch their interest and promote the disciplines in our department. She also has helped us reach out to the diverse student population at Rutgers, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. When Martha Helfer first designed the Fairy tales course—which now attracts over 200 students per semester—Elizabeth provided invaluable input about how to market the course to reach a broad audience. She also has been instrumental in helping us develop community outreach programs including professional development days for New Jersey teachers and events for area junior high and high school students. Our campus visitors are uniformly impressed with the support Elizabeth provides. Our students, who come from diverse international and cultural backgrounds, likewise benefit greatly from the welcoming environment she creates. Elizabeth has contributed enormously to the vibrancy and growth of the German and Russian programs, and is an excellent ambassador for SAS and Rutgers in the community at large. With her intellect, intuition, savvy, and expertise, Elizabeth deWolfe is an absolute gem who richly deserves the 2019 SAS Staff Excellence Recognition Award.
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Marie Ferguson, Program Coordinator I, Department of Sociology
Marie Ferguson has served as the Sociology department’s graduate administrative assistant for five years and performs her job at the highest possible level. She is preternaturally organized and efficient. She is fantastic at problem solving when new or complex questions/issues arise. She has an uncanny knack for anticipating future needs and addressing them before others even realize they are an issue. She is an important source of support and collegiality for all members of our department. And on top of that, she comes to work every day with great energy and a positive, can-do attitude. What would we do without her? Marie demonstrates ongoing excellence in service to faculty, staff, students, and the broader community in multiple ways. Marie maintains an accurate accounting of graduate student funding commitments, which requires constant attention, as the information is critical to department financial planning. Marie streamlined and effectively communicates complicated bureaucratic processes for graduate students in the program, helping them tremendously. In the words of one student, “I can't imagine the department running smoothly without Marie. Personally, she is a real anchor, someone to whom I know I can always reach out.” Marie coordinates the entire graduate admissions process, navigating the Graduate Portal and expertly compiling applicant information for assignment for committee review. Marie organizes the prospective student visitation day: coordinating transportation and housing, setting the schedule, creating folders of department program information and reimbursement instructions, organizing the breakfast, department-wide lunch and dinner, coordinating a Skype session for international students, as well as carrying out post-visit follow up with admitted students. These students praise Marie for going the extra mile to meet their needs. One of our current students worked in college administration before joining us and emphasized that Marie was by far the most competent and helpful administrator she has ever interacted with. Marie’s incredible efficiency comes with a big heart. Alongside programmatic tasks, Marie creates a supportive and productive environment for our faculty and staff, and serves as an important source of positive morale. The current graduate director states that “being a graduate director today is super challenging. Without Marie’s incredible skills and positive attitude, it would be nearly impossible and certainly a much less joyful job to do. Marie is among the most flawless administrators I have had the pleasure to work with.” Her support of the graduate program is also readily apparent from student testimonials. Says one student after her dissertation defense to Marie: “I just want to thank you again for all of your help this morning. I was already in total panic mode I actually managed to show up with neither the title page nor the candidacy form, and you made it all work out in about 15 minutes!” In the words of another student, “You are so great at what you do and you always do it with a smile and warmth.” Yet, Marie works tirelessly and creatively to support not only the graduate program but also to benefit the larger department and community. We are so tremendously fortunate and proud to have Marie as part of Rutgers Sociology. She is truly a remarkable member of our department and embodies all the qualities of a wholly deserving recipient of the SAS Staff Excellence Award.
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Donna Ghilino, Senior Department Administrator Supervisor, Department of Economics
Donna Ghilino, Senior Department Administrator Supervisor, Department of Economics Donna Ghilino is a phenomenal Senior Department Administrator Supervisor. Five departmental chairs have benefited from her guidance and her ability to run the economics department. Her expertise in budgeting, financial planning, human resources, her knowledge of all Rutgers systems, rules and procedures makes her indispensable. In fact, the unofficial motto of the department is “keep calm and ask Donna.” Donna has proven to be a valuable asset to the administrators of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) departments, the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers and our broader university community. Donna provides outstanding service to our faculty, staff, and students as well as to staff and administrators in SAS and Rutgers. Donna is highly competent in both budget and financial management. She administers, monitors, and reconciles over 40 budgets and accounts. For more than a decade the economics department has not done any budgeting or strategic planning without her input. To put that task into perspective, Donna manages a department with over 12,000 enrollments, over 1,000 majors and 700 minors, and 50 T/TT/NTT/PTL faculty. The department hosts more than 60 visitor speakers every year. She manages all of this with the assistance of just four staff members. Knowing that Donna is managing our accounts and staff allows the chair and Department Executive Committee time to develop strategic plans on how best to use department funds. These initial faculty-led planning sessions are inevitably followed by smaller group meetings with Donna. Donna is an invaluable source of advice and critical evaluation concerning department financial planning. One example is a project well-known on the College Avenue Campus—the replacement of our century old roof. Donna’s leadership was instrumental in managing this major capital improvement to New Jersey Hall—a 1.3 million dollar project. Donna worked with SAS administrators to insure the capital improvement funds were spent properly for all expenditures directly related to roof related repair. Donna’s excellence in service extends to record keeping and knowledge of systems and her expertise is recognized throughout the university. She has been asked to serve on multiple SAS and university committees, recently including: SAS Finance & Budget Liaison Group, 2019; Cornerstone Reporting Optimization (SAS representative to University level committee), 2018; HRSC, HR & Payroll Service Center Project (SAS representative to University level committee), 2018; SAS RCM and New Systems Committee, Spring 2016; SAS Strategic Plan Task Force, Infrastructure and Staff, Fall 2015. As a supervisor, Donna motivates and supports her staff, promotes positive relationships, creates a collaborative work environment, and shows a commitment to helping her staff improve their skills. Donna is a talented leader who plays an instrumental role in training staff and making sure that everyone works together as a team. She pays detailed attention to the workflow in the department and emphasizes professional development for team members, including SBS staff. Michelle Feeney, Director of Administration for SBS, writes: "She is a leader and mentor within the group of SBS department administrators, and they often look to her for guidance and support.” Donna Ghilino is the embodiment of staff excellence at Rutgers.
Dale Koznecki, Assistant Director, SAS Human Resources-Academics
When it comes to personnel matters having to do with the faculty at Rutgers, Dale Koznecki is the heart of the School of Arts and Sciences. On all fronts—the demonstration of excellence; of initiative and creativity in solving problems; building productive relationships; and promoting the school’s values of innovation, diversity, public engagement and leadership—she is at the very top of her game. EXCELLENCE—No Rutgers system, including our recently created Insight in SAS, is as foolproof as Dale in remembering the details, and histories of tenure track and tenured faculty member’s appointments. Dale, along with her very small staff, have taken on checking that the Form 1a and Form 4 (department narrative) have no technical flaws. Her reviews ensure that promotion packets from SAS have the professional appearance they should. This is not a trivial task. It requires an understanding of the many complicated elements involved in promotion packets and how to best present them. Dale shepherds through around 50 promotion packets a year, giving SAS an outstanding reputation for presenting quality packets. CREATIVITY—personnel and HR matters for faculty can be incredibly sensitive and complex. New divisional deans can have a hard time knowing the right judgement calls for a myriad of situations. It is no exaggeration to say that Dale essentially helps to train new Deans – and currently in SAS no Division Dean has been in office longer than two years. Dale knows the contracts upside down. She knows the rules and policies, and knows when they are black and white, or gray, and how to handle both cases, working with faculty on problems or personal situations. She handles it with a calm composure, deals with all sides, and just makes things works. This attitude does not show up in any quantitative metrics, but it is the essence of success for any HR person dealing with the academic staff. BUILDING PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS— Dale promotes productive relationships; strives to motivate and support others; contributes to a positive, collaborative work environment; and promotes positive morale. Dale is known for having strong working relationships with departmental faculty leadership. When problems do arise, Dale provides wise guidance naturally and exceedingly well. This kind of interpersonal work helps SAS run more smoothly, benefiting all the Deans and ultimately the Executive Dean. LEADERSHIP—Dale is at her strongest as a leader when she is advocating for faculty with ALR and UHR, for the Deans with the union, and overall balancing the needs of the school against the priorities of other offices throughout Rutgers. At SAS, the recently created Director of Administration (DoA) positions involve a heavy load of personnel-related tasks. Dale was directly involved in training the DoA’s and remains the go-to person for them on complex personnel-related questions. She has also begun to train members of her staff to take over, with the same thoroughness and thoughtfulness, some of the indispensable ways in which she has managed faculty affairs in her years of service. In summary, Dale Koznecki is an outstanding staff member, an asset to SAS and the University, who does absolutely excellent work in every aspect of her complex job. She is well deserving of recognition by the SAS Staff Excellence Award.
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Robert Porcja, Laboratory Support Specialist, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Robert Porcja, in his role of Chemistry Lecture Demonstration Specialist, in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, has contributed immensely to the elucidation of concepts and material taught in chemistry courses. He has managed to establish that chemistry can be fun. His demonstrations always elicit enthusiastic responses from students - this in turn helps students to be more receptive to learning challenging material. Faculty members who typically teach introductory liberal arts chemistry and General Chemistry courses rely on Bob to develop demonstrations to explain difficult concepts for several topics when they lecture. Bob does significant in-depth research into the literature to find the perfect demonstrations for particular topics—ranging from showing the corrosive effects of acid rain on metals for a course such as Impact of Chemistry to explaining the theory of kinetics and equilibrium with reactions that change colors. Bob significantly contributed many demonstration ideas for the inaugural presentation of the new course Chemistry of Art, taught by Dr. Geeta Govindarajoo. He demonstrated concepts such as how forgeries are detected and how glass etching worked were invaluable towards the success of the course, especially enabling students without any chemistry background to visualize the impact of chemistry in several aspects of art. Bob actively recruits undergraduates to help him with demonstrations, especially for events throughout the campus with ODASIS and Saturdays for Science. These undergraduates are inspired by the demonstrations that they witness when they are students in the chemistry courses and are happy to participate in such service. Bob has been crucial to the participation of the department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology during Rutgers Day. His organization of volunteers including these undergraduates, graduate students and faculty at the Chemistry and Chemical Biology to staff booths to make liquid nitrogen ice-cream and hands-on experiments have been key to the success of the event from the department. It is especially gratifying when these students are inspired to become science majors because of the excitement that was generated from taking part in demonstrations and from seeing his demonstrations in class. As one student wrote: “Firstly, I want to thank you for your clear explanations. They definitely helped in the final exam and I would approach dimensional analysis in an organized manner. Overall, thank you for being a clear and professional instructor.” Bob maintains a website outlining various demonstrations which are useful to faculty as well as being accessible to the public via the Chemistry department's main website, leading to inquiries from all over the world regarding listed demonstrations. The Chemistry Lecture Demonstration Facility website is one of the most popularly accessed parts of the Chemistry website. Furthermore, Bob engages the public and promotes diversity and inclusion by including young audience members of various ages and backgrounds to actively participate in safe demonstrations which entertain both the participants as well as the public audience. This strengthens the community and demonstrates a commitment to the School of Arts and Sciences values as evidenced by the parents of these children who come to Bob after presentations and praise the fact that their children love the shows, which pleases them no end in that they discover something which piques their children’s curiosity. It is Mr. Bob’s hope that this enthusiasm may one day result in these youngsters pursuing a career in the sciences – maybe even majoring in chemistry one day. Lastly, Bob promotes productive relationships, strives to motivate and support others, contributes to a positive, collaborative work environment; and promotes positive morale. These qualities certainly make Robert Porcja deserving of the 2019 Staff Excellence Recognition Program award.
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William Schneider, Supervising Instrument Maker-Repair, Department of Physics and Astronomy
William Schneider has served the Department of Physics and Astronomy for over 33 years, initially as a mechanic of the Physics and Chemistry machine shop, and later, since 2006, as the machine shop supervisor. His duties include supervising operation of the machine shop, machining and training of the shop personnel and students. Bill is also actively involved in advising the RU faculty and students on design of research equipment. Bill has continuously performed all his duties at the highest level of excellence and professionalism recognized through activities around Rutgers University. The Physics and Chemistry mechanical shop serves a diverse body of Rutgers researchers, primarily from Physics and Chemistry, but also from many other departments throughout the university. Below is a partial list of the recent projects that Bill has been involved in. His support is key to the continued success of these projects: For the restoration of the PRIN telescope (built in 1929) that is located in the Schanck Observatory on Old Queens Campus, Bill works closely with Steve Korotk, leader of the telescope restoration project. Bill has designed and fabricated replicas of several original parts that had gone missing years ago. His expertise and attention to details were invaluable for the restoration; Bill has worked closely with David Maiullo in creating new demonstrations for the physics courses and David’s "That Physics Show,” recipient of the 2016 Drama Desk Award for "Unique Theatrical Experience.” This project required much of Bill's time, and the result was worth the effort: the physics shows organized by Prof. Mark Croft and David Maiullo significantly increased the visibility and appreciation of the RU Physics program in the eyes of general public around the country. Some of the demonstrations are now used as the ideal model of a successful demonstration and have been copied by other Physics Departments, as they are that well-built and dependable; Bill was instrumental in arranging the students’ mechanical workshop and effective training of a large body of students. Students receive important hands-on training in machining, and are advised in the principles of scientific equipment design; Bill advised many research groups, including that of Prof. Joachim Kohn (BioMed), Prof. Rich Haber (Materials), and several groups from Mechanical Engineering, Psychology and Proteomics. Just an example: Bill made a custom replacement spring for a centrifuge used in the Robert Wood Medical School and saved the researchers a few thousand dollars; Other recent design and fabrication projects include components for the low-temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope in Prof. Eva Andrei’s group, CO2 flow analyzer for Prof. Charles Dismukes group in Chemistry, the pipette valve and ultra-high-vacuum chamber for Prof. Brent Turrin of Geology; Bill has been always an avid proponent of computer aided design (CAD) and computer assisted machining (CAM). Largely because of his efforts, several new CAD/CAM systems have been acquired for the machine shop in recent years. Bill has instituted in-house training of other machinists in CAD/CAM. To conclude, William Schneider is an exceptional asset to Rutgers University. His skills and initiative save many thousands of dollars for Rutgers researchers, making RU research more efficient and competitive. Rutgers faculty and students greatly benefit from interactions with Bill. He personifies the pride and excellence that represents the best that Rutgers has to offer, and tirelessly shares his skills across the University. He richly deserves the recognition of this Staff Award.
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Matthew Wosniak, Assistant Director of Information Technology, SAS - Information Technology
Matt Wosniak provides exceptional, timely support to what are often critical, time-sensitive IT related issues, exhibiting the four criteria of the SAS Staff Excellence program. First and foremost, Matt responds, quickly—and his response is always with a calming demeanor and a smile. When Matt receives an SAS-IT workorder from SAS Human Resources, he will sometimes follow up with a call or a walk down the hall. Matt always listens so that he can understand the issue/concern, and then strategizes, reaches out to colleagues and comes up with an effective and efficient solution. Matt offers creative solutions that bridge the physical distance in SAS. Matt has encouraged the use of shared drives, OneDrive and Box. Of critical importance, Matt does not just fix an issue for the short-term, he develops long term solutions to last-minute problems—this creates a very positive work environment and morale. Matt’s actions show that he considers himself a part of the “greater” SAS team and strives to support all of his teammates. It is incredible the breadth of knowledge and RU information Matt possesses. Matt is very committed to the development of the staff on his team and never hesitates to support a team member when a promotional or developmental opportunity arises. Everyday Matt supports the School’s values, including discovery and innovation; promoting diversity and inclusion; strengthening community, engaging the public; and, leadership at Rutgers, in the community and world. Is there anyone in SAS working toward these goals that does not rely on IT services, and the prompt, professional, and pleasant support provided by Matt Wosniak and his team? The answer, No. For SAS-HR a challenge is how to connect with the departments and units of SAS that are spread across RU-NB and do so in an effective, but also relatively hassle-free manner for all. To support this endeavor, Matt has made many technology solutions suggestions that may, at first, be imposing or uncomfortable —simply because they are new. But Matt takes to the time and explains the new solution and has even conducted individual training to ensure we are comfortable with the solution and understand the technology’s capabilities. Examples of Matt’s solutions are use of DocuSign for offer and appointment letters and Box for various projects where multiple individuals across SAS need to access the same information. Matt is creative in developing solutions that promote and support productive relationships and collaborative work environments. Matt’s patience and expertise promote positive morale and eliminate stress. Not only does Matt demonstrate ongoing excellence in service to faculty, staff, students and the community —Matt Wosniak helps other SAS units demonstrate excellence in service to faculty, staff, students and the community and is richly deserving of a 2019 SAS Staff Excellence Recognition Award.
Peter Zitelli, Unit Computing Manager, SAS - Information Technology
In his 8 years as Unit Computing Manager for SAS, Peter Zitelli has consistently shown one of the strongest work ethics against the backdrop of our many dedicated employees. Pete’s high standards, genuine service mindset, and IT acumen form the foundation of a truly exceptional record of contributions to our IT group and the advancement of our School’s mission. Pete is an integral part of the IT machinery that enables our school’s faculty and staff to be productive every day. Consistently among our “top workorder closers,” he addresses multitudes of requests for the numerous departments he directly supports as the Campus Manager for our busiest campus. However, more than just a workhorse, Pete is also well known and liked for his friendly demeanor, reliable service, and an unflagging willingness to help. Consider, for example, these comments from some of the people he supports: - “I continue to be amazed at how efficiently and promptly Peter Zitelli addresses requests for work from me and from my colleagues at AMESALL making sure that faculty do not have lingering issues with their IT requests.” —Anjali Nerlekar (AMESALL) – “Pete has been terrific ... unflappable when everything seems to be chaotic. He's been great to work with.” —Andrew Parker (French, Comparative Literature) – “Pete is always ready to help with large and small IT requests, and is always friendly and patient. He offers creative solutions—he helped us learn how to use Capture Space to record lectures and teaching demos given by the candidates in our tenure track professor search. Having him and his student employees in AB able to help in time-sensitive situations is incredibly valuable” —Elizabeth deWolfe (GREELL) – “Pete is a terrific help, I hope he knows how much my colleagues and I appreciate his support.” —Jeffrey Shandler (Jewish Studies) Pete’s outstanding service extends beyond our user community and benefits his IT colleagues. For instance, in addition to contributing articles to our internal IT knowledge base, Pete contributes to the SAS IT Slack community, where he shares his knowledge and experience helping others be more effective and efficient. He also regularly engages the Rutgers IT Slack community, Connect and Box Support, and a variety of other OIT, Rutgers, and SAS resources in order to find solutions to school-wide challenges. In addition to overseeing College Ave IT operations, and supervising a team of part-time technicians, Pete has also taken on responsibility schoolwide IT initiatives. Pete has primary responsibility for our Windows workstation build and deployment services, improving its efficiency and adapting it to changes, including the schoolwide upgrade to Windows 10. Pete is a key Rutgers Active Directory (RAD) administrator and was instrumental in developing and implementing plans to replace Novell with RAD. Pete also works closely with our classroom technology support personnel even while he accumulates whole groups of additional people to support: Our newly re-acquired EOF area, for example, recently benefitted greatly from Pete’s organizational and technical prowess when the re-joined SAS. In short, Pete is one of the most productive, effective, likable, and reliable members of the IT team that helps SAS run. We would simply not be the same without him, and nor would the larger School and University. This award is in recognition of the value he brings to our School and to our larger community.
Department of Psychology Undergraduate Office
Bonita Holt-Griffith, Student Counselor
Cremilde Roman, Senior Administrative Assistant
Bonita Holt Griffith and Cremilde Roman make the lifeblood of the Psychology Department flow, especially with respect to undergraduate education. This is no small feat – Psychology has an enrollment of about 16,000 students a year, including 700-800 majors and another several hundred minors. Both Cremilde and Bonita are recognized by our faculty, staff and graduate students as exemplars of initiative, drive, energy and unwavering competence and skill. Cremilde works directly with the undergraduate vice chair to implement all aspects of the department’s undergraduate teaching mission; Bonita works directly with the psychology adviser to ensure that psychology majors and minors are informed and guided appropriately, ensuring a clear path to graduation. As the Psychology Advisor, Bonita is the face of the Department to thousands of students each year. She helps with hundreds of major and minor declarations each year, reviewing students’ transcripts to see which courses they need to meet requirements in the students’ remaining time at Rutgers. Bonita handles transfers and walk-ins with a wide variety of questions such as: how do I get into someone’s lab? Or how do I sign up to do an honors thesis? Bonita’s expertise, experience, and warm touch is exactly what so many of these students need. She also assists with organization and programming for Psi Chi (the psychology honors society), insures that faculty syllabi are up to date and posted, and provides all sorts of other crucial assistance. Bonita’s work is a lynchpin in the smooth functioning of the Department and in providing a quality experience to the undergraduate students. Cremilde Roman complements Bonita perfectly. She is the mastermind behind psychology scheduling—with 70 faculty per semester teaching well over 100 courses, addressing student questions regarding registration, providing special permissions, checking prerequisites, and keeping an eye on enrollments. When faculty go up for promotions and reviews, Cremilde compiles all of their basic undergraduate teaching information from a summary of courses to tabulating their scores on student evaluations and the number of undergraduate research students mentored by the faculty. Cremilde supports the chair of the departmental honors committee, processing honors applications, and ensuring that all honors students meet deadlines of key milestones in the process including submitting their and submitting their abstracts and posters for the departmental honors night in mid-April—a flagship moment Cremilda organizes when we recognize the undergraduate researchers. And with her ear to the ground, she has provided input into what courses we should develop in the face of cultural shifts and changing perceptions, to offer courses that reflect the changing world around us. Emerging from these discussions, we are developing new courses on the positive and negative impact of social media and the legalization of cannabis. Finally, Cremilde, with our Tillett staff, helps organize graduate celebrations for our majors, attended by faculty and graduating seniors. For the students, it is a happy end (and a sigh of relief) to four years at Rutgers, and for the faculty, the end of another successful academic year (and perhaps, also a sigh of relief). These two very dedicated and compassionate women manage our entire undergraduate educational programs while assisting in any other faculty, staff and building related issues as well. We are beyond fortunate, to have such reliable, caring and compassionate people working for us. Nelson Mandela once said “A leader…is like a good shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” Bonita and Cremilde are the shepherds of our Tillett office and it is an honor and privilege to work with such team--Bonita Holt-Griffith and Cremilde Roman richly deserve the Staff Excellence Award. This could be a small token of appreciation for the decades of commitment to excellence and exemplary work.
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SAS Human Resources Onboarding Team
Heather Eng, Human Resources Assistant
Victoria Long, Human Resources Coordinator
Nadia Meyer, Human Resources Specialist
Stephanie Phang, Human Resources Coordinator
Mary-Elizabeth Thompson, Human Resources Assistant
Heather Eng, Victoria Long, Nadia Meyer, Stephanie Phang, and Mary-Elizabeth Thompson are on the frontlines of the onboarding and I-9 processing of all employees in the School of Arts and Sciences where their excellence, camaraderie, and mutual respect is on display. The onboarding occurs throughout the academic year, with fall being the period of highest volume including faculty, staff, and student workers new to SAS, returning to SAS, or transferred to SAS from another unit at the university. Everyone must be put into HCM in order to get paid, and to be in compliance with federal law, they must have an I-9 completed to confirm their eligibility to work. If the detail of personal information provided by the employee, offer letters, new hire forms, visas and status forms for our international faculty, staff, and students, along with a plethora of additional supporting documents is not handled with care and efficiency, that could cause inconveniences for the employee. The team’s extensive knowledge base is inclusive of university guidelines, state laws, and federal laws and mandates. The most significant result of inaccuracies during the onboarding process is someone not getting paid which could cause numerous implications to the employee. That is why this team has set very high standards for themselves in an effort to avoid such scenarios, and doing all that they can to serve the entire employee population within our school with efficiency and consideration. Each SAS-HR representative spends approximately twenty minutes per employee for the entire onboarding experience. This includes the HCM submission, I-9 processing in Guardian, as well as the time spent to explain parking, NetID activation, and other detail that an employee new to Rutgers University would need to know. The goal of this cohesive team is to do all that they can to make the onboarding experience a smooth, efficient process for every individual with whom they meet. If foreign nationals need special help, a team member will call Rutgers Global’s offices about international paperwork, guidelines, or general information to which there may be clarification required. In terms of numbers, this team of five had processed over 1,500 I-9s and just as many template-based hires in 2019. (Approximately 950 of the 1,500 were facilitated between August and October alone!). In addition to individual onboarding sessions, the team also coordinates approximately 35 onboarding sessions between mid-August and early October in multiple locations and times of the day. They work closely with their colleagues at University Human Resources. They are in touch each and every day with HCM specialists and I-9 compliance coordinators to verify pertinent information and other detail that is maintained centrally. The I-9 compliance coordinator for the entire university Cindy Hendricks has spoken very highly of this team’s work. We’d like to express additional recognition to Stephanie Phang as she manages all I-9 reverifications for the entire school. Overall, the efforts and efficiencies of this critical team directly benefit all SAS employees, all SAS departments and centers, and the entire School of Arts and Sciences. Whether faculty, staff, or students, each individual is treated with the utmost consideration and they walk away with confidence in knowing that their onboarding was handled by an expert in the field. Their confidence is a direct reflection of this wonderful team who has a most essential impact on the entire school. We could not ask for a better group of individuals to represent the Office of Human Resources for the School of Arts and Sciences, the School, and Rutgers University as a whole. Again, we are very proud to nominate this wonderful team for the Staff Excellence Recognition Award.