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Service-oriented faculty, staff to be recognized

12:00:10 PM CDT - Thursday, April 05, 2007

Two women who work tirelessly to guarantee education services to underserved populations, a longtime registrar who has seen the gamut of registration methods, and a faculty member who strives to ensure WSU is a good community partner are among this year's nine winners of the President's Distinguished Service Awards.

This year's honorees are faculty members Philip Gaunt, Kirk Lancaster and Lori Miller, and staff members Sherry Compton, Jaymie Faust, Corinne Nilsen, Melinda Ware and Bill Wynne. Deltha Q. Colvin, an unclassified professional, will be honored with the Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award.

Peers nominate candidates for the award, and the Classified, Faculty and Unclassified Professional senates select three honorees from each of the employee groups.

Philip Gaunt
Philip Gaunt's title is a mouthful, said his colleague Susan Huxman, but well deserved.
Actually Gaunt, a 16-year WSU faculty member, carries three official titles: He's a professor in the Elliott School of Communication, and is director of two WSU entities, the Interdisciplinary Communication Research Institute and WSU-LINK.

Philip Gaunt
Courtesy photo
Communication professor Philip Gaunt carries three official titles. As director of two WSU programs he has worked to provide service and forge partnerships between WSU and the community.
Both organizations are heavily involved in providing service and forging partnerships between WSU and the community.

Gaunt is spreading the expertise he's developed in forging partnerships in research and service work by helping launch another institute this week at WSU that is dedicated to aging research.

Since ICRI started in 1995, it has done 70 major research projects from opinion surveys to evaluating anti-truancy campaigns for groups such as the Centers for Disease Control, Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Sedgwick County Department of Corrections, and numerous other state and local government and business clients.
WSU-LINK, formed in 2001, is showing a similar successful track record under Gaunt's directorship.

Last year alone, it organized 22 campus-community forums on different issues and served 65 agencies as it helped partner WSU researchers with community agencies.

Gaunt, however, carries some unofficial titles, too, according to Huxman, who leads the Elliott School. He is a mentor, consultant and "all-around resource." He's helped recruit new faculty and provided encouragement to junior faculty starting research agendas, while publishing a number of research articles of his own.

He served on the steering committee guiding WSU's reaccreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission, and put his expertise to work by chairing a reaccreditation-related working group on how WSU engages and provides service to the community.

Additionally he's a member of a number of journal review panels and local boards and committees, including Episcopal Social Services' board.

Kirk Lancaster
For Kirk Lancaster, providing service is an important component of being a member of the faculty and critical to the life of the university.

Kirk Lancaster

Courtesy photo
Mathematics and statistics professor Kirk Lancaster feels providing service to various committees is an important component of academic life.

So, since joining the mathematics faculty in 1980, he's been involved in multiple departmental, college and university committees. He's also added a few years of service to state and national organizations during that time.

That "outstanding, continuous, tireless and very productive service" makes Lancaster deserving of this award, says Buma Fridman, professor and chair of the mathematics and statistics department.

Lancaster has been a longtime member of the Faculty Senate, serving as president in 2002-03 and in other offices on its executive committee during his total of 12 years of service to the group.

During his senate presidency, he also chaired the regents-level Council of Faculty Senate Presidents and testified on behalf of regents faculty before a Kansas House subcommittee.

As chair-elect of the Kansas section of the Mathematical Association of America, he organized the group's recent annual conference.

His list of various department, college and university committee service is long, filling an entire page, single-spaced, and include such committees as Graduate Council, a liberal arts and sciences' enrollment task force, and his current service on the department's doctoral admissions committee and the LAS college's tenure and promotion committee.

Lori Miller
Even a quick glance at Lori Miller's academic vitae shows a teaching and administrative career heavy on service. In their co-written nomination, her colleagues in kinesiology and sport studies further expressed the many ways Miller has advanced the university she has served since 1995.

Lori Miller
Photo by David Dinell
In a dozen years at WSU, kinesiology and sport studies faculty member Lori Miller has facilitated two degree programs, worked on the College of Education�s reaccreditation process, earned a law degree and participated in community volunteer programs.
Associate professor Clay Stoldt, instructor Jeff Noble and assistant professor Mark Vermillion note that, in her first five years as chair of KSS, she facilitated a bachelor's and a master's of education sport administration degree programs.

Miller's overall performance for KSS led to a two-year appointment as associate dean of the College of Education, where she helped the college receive national reaccreditation in 2005. She also led the college's effort to earn additional teacher education licensure programs through the state Department of Education.

In 2001, she was recognized as a North American Society for Sport Management Fellow, meanwhile continuing her service to the Sport, Recreation and Law Association as executive director.

These are just a few of the accomplishments her colleagues pointed out. In addition, she earned a law degree in 2003 from the Presidents College School of Law in Wichita to deepen her understanding of legal issues in sport administration.

In her outreach to students, including establishing the sport administration student club, she also has been heavily involved in the Wichita community in sports-related capacities and in volunteering through the Wichita school district's Reading is Fundamental program for elementary schools.

Deltha Q. Colvin
Robert F. Kennedy once said, "It is more important to be of service than successful." Deltha Q. Colvin has found a way to be both.

Deltha Q. Colvin

Photo by David Dinell
Bill Wynne has seen a variety of registration technology come and go during more than three decades as registrar at WSU.

Once a "faceless 'at risk' student," who as a high school teen helped keep together her family of 12 siblings after her mother's death, Colvin has been instrumental in growing WSU's programs that focus one way or another on economically and socially disadvantaged students, from K-12 to college, noted James Rhatigan, the former longtime dean of students.

When Colvin was a student at WSU in the 1960s, she was part of Project Together, one of three TRIO programs at the time. Now, as assistant vice president for campus life, she oversees seven TRIO programs at WSU and continues to direct one.

After graduation in 1972, Colvin stuck close to her roots in TRIO, taking a staff position with Upward Bound before working her way to an administrator. Colvin herself was a product of Upward Bound before coming to WSU.

By giving back to programs that helped her achieve a college education when odds were stacked against her, Colvin has ensured that thousands of students over the years have access to those same programs and more. She's done so well at it that she is recognized nationally as one of the most successful individuals in her field.

For more than 20 years, Colvin has been a national trainer to TRIO directors, Student Support Services director Deema deSilva pointed out.

"Even though (other) campuses are technically vying for the same limited dollars, Deltha has given her time, energy and ideas freely," said Rhatigan, who called her one of WSU's most successful grant writers ever.

"There are some people in our life whose influence has been so great that the result is permanent. We are different because of them," Rhatigan said in his compelling nomination letter. "For me, Deltha Colvin is one of those people."

Corinne Nilsen
Among the several individuals who nominated Corinne Nilsen for this service award, one summed up the sentiment that was expressed again and again: "Corinne is an optimistic force for good (who) enhances every situation she is in, (and) improves the individuals who have the privilege to serve with her.

Corinne Nilsen

Photo by David Dinell
Colleague after colleague at Kansas Kids@GEAR UP, which Corinne Nilsen directs, noted Nilsen's strong sense of fairness, her administrative skills and her commitment to service and mentoring.

Nilsen directs Kansas Kids@GEAR
UP, a federally funded program that helps primarily foster children prepare for a college education. Colleague after colleague noted Nilsen's strong sense of fairness, her administrative skills and her commitment to service and mentoring.

Those qualities are virtually necessary for someone who has been working since 1994 in programs for underserved populations.

Nilsen started at WSU as a statistician/program counselor for Student Support Services. Within a year, she was the assistant director for the program. By August 2000, she was the director of Disability Support Services. In January 2005, she became the state director for Kansas Kids@GEAR UP.

"In all of these positions, she has provided unparalleled service to low-income students and/or foster-care students, first-generation students and/or students with other special needs," wrote Victor Chavez, a GEAR UP site coordinator.

"The number of lives Corinne Nilsen has changed for the better in her 12 years of service at Wichita State University is incalculable," said colleague Barbara Kae.

Shortly after becoming the GEAR UP director, Nilsen brought a motivational speaker to speak at WSU: Steadman Graham, who may get more press as Oprah Winfrey's significant other. The lecture drew more than 800 students, campus and community members.

Nilsen has extended her caring nature to community by coordinating the "Light the Night Walk" for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Bill Wynne
One constant in a sea of change at Wichita State is registrar Bill Wynne. In fact, Wynne has been at WSU long enough that some of the changes he made, such as a telephone registration system, are now obsolete because of newer technology.

Bill Wynne

Photo by David Dinell
Bill Wynne has seen a variety of registration technology come and go during more than three decades as registrar at WSU.

In his 31 years as university registrar, Wynne has overseen the transition from paper to computerized student records and more recently to the new Web-based system.

It's easy to find faculty and staff who sing Wynne's praises. Donna Hawley, director of institutional research, said, "The fact that the academic history of thousands of students was successfully migrated to the new database without loss of information or crashing the system attests to the accuracy of the legacy system. This accuracy was achieved through his leadership and oversight."

In a nomination letter from six faculty and staff in the College of Health Professions, it was noted that Wynne has worked exceptionally hard to find better options to make the Banner system friendlier to users.

When a student satisfaction survey was done for several years, the Registrar's Office achieved more than a 90 percent satisfaction rate for three functions of the office that were rated — touch-tone registration, touch-tone grades and transcript service.

In her nomination letter, Hawley wrote, "When a major office such as the registrar's is efficient and quality services provided year after year, the accomplishment is usually overlooked and the leader unrecognized. Recognition of Bill Wynne's dedicated and very competent service to WSU and its students is long overdue."

One thing you may not know is that Wynne and his wife, Judi, have a marriage certificate in Japanese, as they were married in Okinawa 40 years ago, when he was in active duty with the U.S. Army Field Artillery.

Prior to his long stint at WSU, Wynne served as assistant registrar and associate registrar for nine years at his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati.

Sherry Compton
Sherry Compton was a little perplexed when she was notified that she'd won a President's Distinguished Service Award. She had nominated a colleague for the award, but had no idea that five development officers and a vice president at the WSU Foundation had gotten together as a group to nominate her. Compton is the scholarship coordinator at the fundraising organization for the university.

Sherry Compton

Photo by David Dinell
Sherry Compton, the scholarship coordinator for the WSU Foundation, has been invaluable during the Foundation's recent campaign, creating paperwork and follow-through on 170 new scholarships.

"We all have learned a strong sense of passion for the mission of WSU and service to our students, colleagues and campus community from Sherry," wrote Kelli Galyon.

Galyon and fellow development director Joni Brainerd praised Compton for helping them succeed early in their Foundation careers.

The knowledge and background information Compton shared "made me really good at dealing with donors and their unique and special needs and interests," said Galyon, who went on to describe Compton as a second mom because of her concern for Galyon's health and happiness, a caring nature she's extended to others on staff, too.

She has a knack for remembering little things that matter. When Mike Lamb returned to work at the WSU Foundation, Compton, who had worked with Lamb at the WSU Alumni Association several years prior, remembered he was left-handed and gave him scissors made for left-handers.

Compton has been especially invaluable during the Foundation's We are Wichita State campaign, which has a strong focus on raising scholarship money.

"Sherry has created paperwork and follow-through on 170 new scholarship funds," noted development director Andrea Bloodworth. "Without careful oversight, these funds never would be awarded."

Sharon Miles, another development director, said, "The Foundation's ability to raise new funds is directly proportionate to its ability to perform the service Sherry provides."

Jaymie Faust
Universities normally educate students and bid them farewell as they go through graduation's door. Then there are the students they can't stand to let go.

Jaymie Faust

Photo by David Dinell
Jaymie Faust started as a student employee in the communication sciences and disorders departments, and has become a much-valued permanent staff member.

That's Jaymie Faust, according to co-workers who nominated her. Starting in 1992 as a part-time student assistant in the department of communication sciences and disorders, she quickly became indispensable and worked her way through various positions and responsibilities while carrying a full course-load, they said. Now, as a full-time administrative assistant, she's made her co-workers wonder what they'd ever do without her.

Evidence of that, according to CSD professor Rosalind Scudder, rests among some the department's most frequently heard phrases: "Ask Jaymie." "Jaymie can do that for you." "Check with Jaymie — she knows where it is."

Scudder has worked with Faust since her student days and has watched her handle students, staff, clinic personnel and the public they serve, and faculty with equal respect and friendliness: "I have never seen her lose her temper or her patience, or heard her complain. I could not do my job without Jaymie. ..."

Faust's work is multifaceted and essential to the complex operations of the department, said CSD administrative specialist Johanna Hutmacher. Besides supporting CSD's five academic programs, Faust continually explores the latest in computer and technology advances to respond to the growing needs of the department.

Melinda Ware
Loyalty and a sense of dedication are qualities Melinda Ware is known for among both former and current colleagues.

Melinda Ware

Photo by David Dinell
Melinda Ware shows an extreme commitment to helping students and colleagues.

Ware "goes above and beyond to help students, adjusting her schedule to meet student needs for individual testing times, even staying after the close of day for someone who needs to finish a test," said Gayle Veltman, who works with Ware at the Counseling and Testing Center.

Her willingness to help other offices that serve students shows her commitment to WSU and its mission, colleagues said.

For several years, Ware volunteered to help during student registration and at the registration call center.

When Ware's former boss Martha Shawver began coordinating commencement through the academic affairs and research division, Ware volunteered to help at the ceremonies. Ware was Shawver's assistant for several years in enrollment services. They also worked together in the College of Health Professions.

Ware's current boss, Maureen Dasey-Morales, values Ware's dedication, as well.

"Without a doubt, Melinda goes above and beyond the call of duty," said Dasey-Morales. "In fact, we routinely have to coax her to take vacation days to give herself a break from time to time."

Ware's colleagues noted she also extends a sense of loyalty and dedication to fellow employees at the university, serving on the classified employees' grievance committee.

Winners of this year's President's Distinguished Service Awards will be honored at noon Tuesday, April 24, during the Shocker Pride celebration, which starts at 11:30 a.m. in the Rhatigan Student Center east courtyard. The rain site will be the RSC ballroom. To receive a free lunch, faculty and staff must RSVP by Tuesday, April 17, by returning their invitation that was mailed at the end of March or by calling 978-6224.

By Amy Geiszler-Jones, Shannon Littlejohn and Joe Kleinsasser



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