By Casey S. Elliott
In retiree Danny Kasler's opinion, technology improvements have brought some of the biggest changes and benefits to Ohio University over the past 40 years.
Kasler, the recently retired cash management manager in the treasury department, was one of more than 150 employees recognized Thursday for their service during the 2009 Outstanding Administrator Awards. He retired from the university with 42 years of service.
"When I first started out, we just started working on computers, but used the punch card system," he said. "The computer age makes your job easier, but you can also do more things with it, so you have more work to do."
He said the technology improvements have made it possible to speed up account management and student information issues such as registering for classes.
Thursday's administrator recognition did not stop at retirees – it included recognition for employees who have served between 10 years and 40 years at Ohio University, and honored the administrators. The honorees are: Environmental and Plant Biology Department Administrator Connie Pollard, Executive Director of Residential Housing Christine Sheets and College of Medicine Human Resources and Administration Director Beth Maxon.
The awards were granted by President Roderick J. McDavis, who praised the service of all administrative employees at the university while highlighting the above-and-beyond contributions of this year's Outstanding Administrators.
"This has been one of our most challenging years for all kinds of reasons," he said. "I certainly want to thank each and every one of you who have been forced, quite frankly, to make some very difficult decisions in your roles as administrators. Oftentimes, we don't give you enough credit for making things work and work very well at Ohio University. Thank you for doing what you do every day to lift this university to higher heights."
Maxon's nominators described her as a consummate problem solver, willing to go the extra mile in providing needed information, developing sound strategies and realizing innovative solutions to complex problems. They also praised her ability to earn the trust and confidence of staff across campus in handling sensitive information and situations.
"I truly enjoy coming to work every day, knowing I'm making a contribution to the successes of Ohio University and the College of Osteopathic Medicine," she said. "I'm proud to say I work for Ohio University."
Pollard was described by her nominators as pro-active, dedicated and an outstanding listener who has strong organizational skills and a get-things-done attitude. She was praised for building community in the department by fostering an atmosphere that values teamwork and allows for constructive feedback and supporting her staff.
"It is an honor to be nominated, but to actually win was hard to absorb," Pollard said. "I will continue to focus on my first priority which is investing in people – everything else seems to fall in line when I do that."
In her work balancing multiple tasks and planning major projects such as opening and refining the operations of the Baker Center Food Court and in planning and construction of Adams Hall, Sheets said she believes in the importance of teamwork above all else. Her nominators commented on her concern for all members of her staff and her ability to work hand-in-hand with staff to get things done, as well as her willingness to learn about all aspects of an operation in order to make good decisions.
"I feel honored and humbled to receive this award, because I know there are so many out there that are deserving of it," she said. "I am proud to be part of Ohio University's history, and I look forward to being part of the growth and the journey as it continues towards excellence."
Outstanding administrators are employees who have worked a minimum of five consecutive years as a full or part-time administrator. Executive staff, deans, faculty eligible for Faculty Senate, and the secretary and treasurer to the Board of Trustees are excluded from nomination for this award.
First given in 1975, Outstanding Administrator Awards are presented annually to individuals who exemplify a strong commitment and distinguished service to Ohio University. The awards program is sponsored by Administrative Senate and voted on by a nine-member Administrative Senate committee.
Each award included a certificate and $1,000.
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl also was recognized for her initiative and dedication to the university, and a donation was made in her name to Heifer International, an organization that works to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.