Tarleton announces recipients of its 2017 divisional staff employee awards

2017 Staff Employee Awards Program

2017 Staff Employee Awards Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton State University has announced its 2017 staff employee awards, both at the division and university-wide levels, to recognize outstanding staff contributions within four award categories.

Beginning this year, the university’s staff awards have been expanded to include new division-level awards for each of Tarleton’s organizational units: Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Finance and Administration, and the combined areas of Advancement and External Relations, Athletics and President’s Office.

Division-level award winners are chosen by a three-member subcommittee that submits its selections to Tarleton’s Staff Awards Committee for consideration to receive the university-wide recognition for one of four awards: Horizon Award, Impact Award, Quality Service Award and Enhancing the Student Experience Award.

The Horizon Award recognizes staff members who volunteer their time or resources to the betterment of their community, building and maintaining relationships that extend Tarleton’s reputation and impact, or those who are active members of an organization that provides students with leadership and service opportunities that foster community service.

The Impact Award recognizes Tarleton staff members who display outstanding problem solving, resourcefulness and innovation to reduce university costs and improve safety.

The Quality Service Award recognizes staff members who “go the extra mile,” exhibiting outstanding dedication to Tarleton and their position, while maintaining a positive attitude and demonstrating exemplary service.

The Enhancing the Student Experience Award recognizes staff members whose roles do not involve teaching, but who directly and significantly contribute to the student learning experience. Nominees are those who interact enthusiastically and effectively with to promote learning and address individual student needs. The award recognizes extraordinary efforts to increase student success, and is presented to an individual who demonstrates the most outstanding achievements in providing inspiration and innovation in enhancing the student experience.

This year’s division-level staff award recipients are:
Division of Academic Affairs
Enhancing the Student Experience Award
Clint Dennard, advisor and program manager of community outreach at Tarleton-Waco, is the recipient of the 2017 Enhancing the Student Experience Award. A Tarleton alumnus, Dennard repeatedly shares his love for the university by working with students in transformative ways. Dennard’s colleagues describe him as an engaging staff member and instructor whose personal story resonates and inspires students. His commitment to students was evident in his desire to develop and implement the Waco Diplomats Program, a student leadership and service program that expands opportunities and experiences available to students. Dennard is a community liaison dedicated to recruiting and using every opportunity to connect students to real-world research experiences. He has a “Bleed Purple” persona, which helps students reach academic success, gain access to valuable career opportunities and make Tarleton a better place.  

Horizon Award
The 2017 Horizon Award winner is Alana Hefner, director of Career Services. Colleagues describe Hefner as an individual with an encouraging smile, positive attitude and exemplary professionalism who uses her character to influence students in positive ways. Hefner’s commitment to every student she serves is evident in efforts to advise and place students within the community. She actively volunteers as a member of the Cross Timbers Society of Human Resource Management, Chamberlin Elementary Parent/Teacher Organization, Rose Lafferty and Flora Foust Educational Fund selection board, and she recently competed in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Dancing with the Stars competition as a charity fundraiser. 

Impact Award
Lori LaRue, Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center operations manager, is the 2017 Impact Award recipient. She is well-known for working tirelessly behind the scenes to schedule, promote and supervise operations of the Fine Arts Center. LaRue utilizes her organizational skills, strong work ethic and commitment to Tarleton to host approximately 550 events annually. Her colleagues indicate she consistently steps in to provide resources and solutions whenever needs arise. LaRue has efficiently balanced the Fine Arts Center’s income and expenditures by encouraging community use of the space through rental programs. As a result, additional revenue was dedicated to new cork flooring in the recording studios. She is also dedicated to event management and safety, and her constant commitment to compliance, protocols, evacuation procedures and the training of student technical crews ensures an effective team is ready if a safety matter arises.

Quality Service Award
Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable are just a few phrases used to describe Melinda Lollar, budget and records specialist for the College of Education, and the 2017 Quality Service Award recipient. Lollar’s colleagues describe her attention to detail as outstanding and her kindness beyond comparison. She truly exemplifies the criteria for this award as her peers indicate she anticipates the needs of others and takes initiative to act on them, in essence solving any problem before it arises. Lollar sets the bar for Tarleton’s core value of civility, as she is kind, patient, firm and helpful while providing an exceedingly high quality of service. She is a dedicated employee full of Tarleton spirit, who often takes on additional assignments just to ensure the Tarleton name, or a Tarleton tradition, will be supported and upheld.

Division of Student Affairs
Enhancing the Student Experience Award
Dr. Christopher Stanley-Stevens, Student Counseling Center, is recipient of the 2017 Enhancing the Student Experience Award. Stanley-Stevens’ main priority is putting Tarleton students first. He delivers engaging and interactive classroom presentations on Mindful Self-Compassion, which students have described as classes “every student should take.” He partnered with the community, initiating a task force called “Students First” three years ago. That initiative led to the development of Tarleton’s Office of Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention. Stanley-Stevens has worked to make Tarleton a safer and healthier campus for students.

Horizon Award
The 2017 Horizon Award winner is residential coordinator Kavaris Sims, Department of Residential Living and Learning. Colleagues describe Sims as a role model, coach, friend and advisor whom students seek for help and professional development. Sims is advisor for the Residence Hall Association (RHA). He has turned RHA around by 200 percent, and he has never lost sight of the primary responsibility of an advisor, educating and developing student leaders. He dedicates a significant amount of time coaching and mentoring student officers.

Impact Award
The 2017 Impact Award is awarded to Nelda Moore, program coordinator with the University Police and Parking Office. Moore’s No. 1 priority is the safety of Tarleton’s students, faculty and staff. Her calm demeanor and ability to explain issues to achieve a fair resolution is something to witness. She is known to go above and beyond when it comes to mentoring student employees. Moore teaches them how to handle their experiences with customers and gives them confidence in themselves. Moore serves as a role model, mom, friend, supervisor and advisor for everyone she comes in contact with.

Quality Service Award
Ben Kunze, assistant director of Residential Living and Learning, is the 2017 Quality Service Award recipient. Kunze encourages those who report to him and holds them to high standards. In doing so, he builds their self-confidence and their respect for others, encouraging them to truly live Tarleton’s six core values. He is well-known for going the “extra mile” by meeting with contractors out of the normal 8-to-5 workday, often anticipating and resolving problems by being open-minded and a good listener. Routinely, Kunze deals with students who are upset and parents who are difficult and demanding. He addresses these challenges with a positive attitude, “going the extra mile” and putting the needs of students first.

Division of Finance and Administration
Enhancing the Student Experience Award
Marenda Horton, senior manager of student accounts, is recipient of the 2017 Enhancing the Student Experience Award for her division. Horton rejoined the Business Services team in September 2016 and, since returning to campus, she has been able to implement a number of student-focused initiatives. Under her direction, the student accounts team made several hundred personal phone calls to students who had missed a payment in their fall installment plan, or had not made payment for the spring semester. This allowed the department to hold the number of students dropped for non-payment this spring to less than 100, while extending 25 percent less short-term loans, meaning students were able to take care of their balance without relying on short-term debt to do so. In the weeks leading up to the spring semester, Horton helped a number of students navigate financial difficulties and persist toward graduation. One particular student stands out. Due to incomplete paperwork in financial aid, and a resulting unpaid balance, this student was not sure he was going to be able to complete his last semester. Horton communicated with financial aid and outlined the steps needed for the student to stay enrolled. Horton has a unique ability to balance tough love and grace, which allows her to enhance student experience even in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Horizon Award
Kandace Stone, student employment representative for Employee Services, is recipient of the Horizon Award. Stone volunteers her time both on and off campus to help anyone who needs assistance. She truly values the well-being of staff, faculty, students, alumni and community members. Stone has enhanced the university’s reputation through her volunteer work and involvement with the Tarleton Food Pantry, the Staff Council scholarship committee and the National Cutting Horse Foundation. Beyond her volunteer work, she was instrumental in coordinating an effort between the university, the city and the police department to place a stop sign at the corner of Vanderbilt and Neblett after witnessing a wheelchair-bound student struggle to cross that intersection during heavy traffic.

Impact Award
Wendy Haynes, manager of compensation and recruitment for Employee Services, is recipient of the division Impact Award. Her huge contribution over the past year has been the implementation of The Texas A&M System-wide pay plan. Haynes worked tirelessly to improve behind-the-scenes processes, transparent to anyone outside of the department, and streamlined the mapping process. Once the System project team realized her exceptional work effort, members quickly pulled her onto the team (for more work) to assist with much of the coding that went along with developing the new centralized pay plan. Haynes spent hours in telephone conferences and online meetings to assist the team with the BPP implementation of the pay plan as well as preparing the Tarleton campus for the transition. While working on the pay plan implementation, Haynes developed and designed a full webpage of resources and helpful information related to the Fair Labor Standards Act changes that were anticipated Dec. 1, 2016. Exceptional performance is her top priority.

Quality Service Award
Kent Styron, director of Risk Management and university compliance officer, is recipient of the Quality Service Award. Styron approaches every situation with a calm and positive demeanor, and is always genuinely concerned for those he assists. Over the years, he has taken on more and more duties to help provide a safe campus for students, faculty and staff, without reservation or complaint. This commitment to the Tarleton campus and his unwavering integrity has affected so many on a personal level. In the past year, Styron has led the university in the establishment and creation of Tarleton’s concealed carry rules and procedures. Although this was a difficult assignment, Styron did this with civility and integrity. He listened and considered the views of all sides on this sometimes emotionally charged topic, while keeping these policies within the state statutes and system guidance. Styron has been instrumental in supervision of the university’s expansion of the Title IX-related initiatives and growth of resources provided by the university to comply with this area of federal compliance.

Division of Advancement and External Relations, Athletics and Office of the President
Enhancing the Student Experience Award
Sue Goodman, community relations officer, is winner of the Enhancing the Student Experience Award. Goodman serves as an advisor to the Tarleton Ambassadors and is dedicated to optimizing their academic and personal development outside the classroom. She teaches, coaches, mentors and is a role model for these exceptional students. The Tarleton Ambassadors welcome VIPs, dignitaries, donors and special guests to campus, and have distinguished themselves as a premiere student group and substantial donor to the university as they have established a scholarship endowment surpassing $10,000. Much of their success is a direct result of Goodman’s hard work and dedication.

Quality Service Award
Alyson Chapman, director of Editorial and Creative Services, is the 2017 Quality Service Award recipient. Chapman goes to great lengths to provide service to the entire campus, Tarleton alumni and constituents. Often referred to as, “the Miracle Worker,” she works tirelessly to create everything from the Tarleton magazine and President’s Report to myriad brochures, invitations, graphics and publications to showcase Tarleton and its accomplishments. Regardless of the job or turn-around times, Chapman treats every client with civility and respect, never complaining but always delivering. In addition to her professional role, Chapman serves as advisor for the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and is a loyal alumna of Tarleton.

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.

#

Contact: Kurt Mogonye
254-968-9460
[email protected]

A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.