RIT Staff Recognition Awards honor outstanding employee service

Staff members recognized for exemplary service, commitment and involvement

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The Campus Advocacy Response and Support Team

RIT honored employees for outstanding service and dedication to the university during its annual Staff Recognition Awards ceremony Oct. 3 in Ingle Auditorium. Awards were presented based upon RIT’s core values: student-centeredness; professional development and learning; integrity and ethics; respect, diversity and pluralism; innovation and flexibility; and teamwork and collaboration.

Staff Excellence Award winners are:

• Wendy Gilmore, student support specialist, Academic Support Center. Gilmore’s nomination included a comment from a student employee: “Never before have I had any other supervisor that had been so open to collaboration and innovation with students as Wendy. She is an experienced professional with a true dedication and passion for the students she supports.” Another colleague stated, “She has built a great network of colleagues and works hard to keep student success a priority.”

• Peggy Noll, senior staff assistant for the history, fine arts and philosophy departments, College of Liberal Arts. Noll’s nomination cited: “She is truly the heart and soul of these three departments and two degree programs she helps administer. Peggy is collegial, helpful and trustworthy and she shows a great degree of flexibility and ability to innovate.”

• Colette Shaw, student support specialist, Academic Support Center. One of Shaw’s colleagues stated: “She is warm, encouraging, motivating and wise—an inspiring mentor and role model, not just to students but to all members of our community. She is a powerful exemplar of the joy and effectiveness of involvement and giving back—both in her zeal to link students with service and involvement opportunities, and of course, in her own personal example of engagement.”

• The Campus Advocacy Response and Support Team: Sherill Anderson, Sharitta Gross, Rauncie Ryan, Natasha Dailey, Nancy McDonald-Stoler, Lea Stavoli, Jeannette Giagios, Kathleen Schreier and Mike Servé (team member Linda Bryant is not eligible for the award because she is faculty). The team is comprised of volunteers that have been trained to support students and ensure their safety and comfort through difficult times. The team’s nomination cited “their remarkable flexibility in dealing with unanticipated schedule changes. The volunteers address situations that make many people uncomfortable. Their respect for the privacy and dignity of our students ensures ethical handling of calls.”

The Rising Star Award is presented to a staff member with three years or less of service and who presents progressive examples of high-quality service, has demonstrated a willingness to work collaboratively with colleagues and constituents, and shows imagination, creativity and innovation that embody the RIT spirit. This year’s winner is Stanley Van Horn, director of the English Language Center. Van Horn’s nomination cited that he is “a high achiever who is known for his professionalism.” One colleague described him as kind, warm, earnest, invested, intensely deliberate and principled, and a strategic thinker. “He is committed to excellence, consistently exhibiting student-centeredness, and undertaking vast changes in the English Language Center curriculum, instructor training, the establishment of a technology classroom, and oversight of multiple new hiring processes.”

The Dancy Duffus Outstanding Citizenship Award recognizes staff members who demonstrate a high degree of excellence, professionalism and integrity. This year’s recipient is Nizhoni Chow-Garcia, co-director of the Future Stewards Program. According to her nomination form, “RIT has 142 Native American students and Nizhoni has touched every one of them in her capacity as the co-director of the department. In addition, she helped secure the $500,000 grant that re-established the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. She possesses a unique ability to connect with others and make them feel at ease.”

The Isaac L. Jordan Sr. Staff Pluralism Award recognizes a staff member for significant contributions to enhance diversity at RIT. This year’s recipient is Rauncie Ryan, academic advisor, College of Liberal Arts. According to her nomination form, Rauncie has “transformed her workplace by exhibiting the type of character and passion that Isaac L. Jordan Sr. would have truly respected and valued. Rauncie’s accomplishments and her dedication to fostering an environment of mutual inclusiveness, diversity and respect for all members of the RIT campus are nothing short of exemplary. Her kind demeanor and compassion for all people make her a true asset for the advancement of inclusiveness and pluralism on the RIT campus. Her dedication to the welfare of others is contagious.”