Awards presentation highlights staff and faculty commitment to university
The fifth annual Brandman University awards dinner gave Chancellor Gary Brahm a chance to highlight the many contributions made by staff and faculty during the academic year.
“It’s because of your contributions we are able to move forward and up, building on the wonderful success this year,” he said. He highlighted the university’s high graduation rate, low default rate and overall satisfaction of Brandman students for earning the university national recognition for its excellence and innovation.
Staff members are nominated by their co-workers for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence (C.A.F.E.). Awards are presented for each of the university’s core values – innovation, service, respect, integrity and teamwork. A sixth award goes to the person who exemplified all five values and contributed to the university’s culture and success beyond normal expectations.
That award went to Shannon Frith, senior academic advisor at the Bangor campus. In making the announcement, Brahm said, “This person is considered a master at creating efficient workflows and sharing best practices.” She is “professional, empathetic and respectful, even in the midst of misdirected anger and frustration” and is known for handling difficult conversations with grace and tact.
Frith took on additional duties, basically doing two jobs, when another campus experienced a shortfall, while still advocating for students, staff and faculty she never met in person.
The core value awards for staff members went to:
- Ilia Moldovski, director of Student Accounts, for innovation: He led a team that combined data from a variety of sources, making it easier to track student records, financial aid and accounts receivable. His team’s effort led to a drop in money owed the university from $13.8 million to $5.1 million. “This is just scratching the surface of the ways he has made a difference to Brandman by way of innovation,” said Brahm.
- Carol Price Aliano, One Stop specialist at the Antelope Valley campus, for service: She’s described by her nominators as “kind, supportive, available, selfless, knowledgeable, detail-oriented, understanding, gentle, caring, respectful and considerate.” A 20-year employee of the university, Aliano is known for remembering each of the students she’s been in contact with and regularly volunteering for commencement duty.
- Maris Alaniz, the senior Doctoral Program Support specialist for the School of Education, for respect: In a role that includes managing complaints from students and faculty, her “ability to diffuse escalated situations draws praise from student surveys.” She’s also known for taking on tasks and duties beyond her job description, developing systems for processing dissertations and providing every kind of academic support.
- Karen Hamilton, One Stop specialist at the Victorville campus, for integrity: “She has shown the utmost respect to students, creating a trusting relationship between them and the campus team,” said Brahm. Her nomination said, “People of integrity can be counted on to stand up for what is right, even when it might be unpopular. But more important to behave with honor even when there is no one around to see.”
- Shanna Vaughn, director of Financial Aid, for teamwork: She is known for always finding solutions for students whether in person, on the phone or via email, maintaining a pleasant and professional and prompt response. One Stop specialists were particularly appreciative of her efforts to help them help students by going out of her way to make sure students receive their funding.
Kat Ringenbach, president of the Faculty Assembly, presented the Faculty of the Year awards, noting that overall the faculty managed 1,118 course shells, mentored 450 adjuncts each term, worked on program reviews, program assessments and new programs while still finding the time to present at 43 conferences and volunteered in their communities.
The Faculty of the Year award for the entire university went to Jalin Johnson, Ed.D., from the School of Business and Professional Studies and an assistant professor at the Ontario campus.
“Her fingerprints are found throughout Brandman, including CII, faculty governance, the Veterans Center, competency-based education, the Ed.D. doctoral program, the Institutional Research Board and more,” said Ringenbach. Equally important is Johnson’s eagerness to create an exciting learning environment, even working in comic books, manga, Batman, Bruce Wayne and DC vs. Marvel comics into an ethics discussion on justice versus license to kill.
Winners of Faculty of the Year for each of the schools are:
- Karen Woodcock, Ph.D., School of Arts and Sciences: The creator of Brandman’s social work programs and the lone faculty member in that discipline for her first two years at Brandman, she was praised by her colleagues for her support, dedication and commitment.
- Laura Galloway, Ph.D., School of Business and Professional Studies: Known for being the first to volunteer when something needs to get done and always going the extra mile, Galloway “asks for little recognition for all her hard work and collegial ways and winning this award would be a complete surprise to her, which makes it all the more exciting to put her name forward,” wrote one of her nominators.
- Jeffrey Lee, Ed.D., School of Education: A relative newcomer to the university, Lee is known for “identifying and implementing needed changes to take programs to the next level of excellence,” said Ringenbach. His colleagues praised his high standards, excellent communication skills and good judgment, as well as being a “nice person to be around.”
- Patric Schine, DNP, Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions: He was praised for his student-centered approach, collaborative and innovative instruction and positive attitude. Schine is a medical expert on transgender medical issues and lectures in forums nationwide, as well as being Brandman’s in-house expert on LGBTQ+ medical information.
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