USM Board of Regents Announces Winners of Annual Staff Awards
Recipients to be Acknowledged During Sept. 22 Regents Meeting, Scheduled for UM Global Campus
Baltimore, Md. (Aug. 22, 2023)—The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents is honoring nine members of its staff at institutions across the system as recipients of the 2023 USM Regents’ Staff Awards.
The awards are the highest honor presented by the board to exemplary staff members. The awards honor excellence in the following categories: Exceptional Contribution to the Institution; Outstanding Service to Students in an Academic or Residential Environment; Extraordinary Public Service to the University or to the Greater Community; Effectiveness and Efficiency; and Inclusion, Multiculturalism, & Social Justice.
Institutional staff nominating committees make recommendations to the institutional presidents, who review nominations and supporting material and forward recommendations to USM Chancellor Jay A. Perman. The Regents Staff Review Committee makes the final recommendations.
Each award carries a $2,000 prize provided by the institutions and the University System of Maryland Foundation. Chancellor Perman and Board of Regents Chair Linda Gooden will offer notice of the awards at the meeting of the full board on Sept. 23. The meeting is the board’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the 2023-24 academic year and will be held on site at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC).
“Every time I hear about an experience that’s changed a student’s life, or a program that enriches our communities, or a process that improves our service, I know there are dozens of staff behind the scenes who made it happen,” said Chancellor Perman. “And so every year, when we pick just a few of these employees to honor—among thousands doing extraordinary things every day—you can be sure they represent the best of us. I can’t wait to celebrate their excellence next month.”
EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE INSTITUTION
Michael Humphrys, Technical Director of the Microbiome Service Laboratory (MSL), part of the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in Maryland in March 2020, Mr. Humphrys and his team at the MSL were hard at work. Recognizing the significance of the pandemic and the unique challenges facing USM’s densely populated institutions, Mike and his team transformed a genomics lab into a large-scale COVID-19 testing platform.
With support from IGS leadership, the University of Maryland Pathology Associates, and hospital staff, Mike initiated efforts to open a CLIA-certified testing lab weeks ahead of anyone else. Once operational, the lab was able to process more than 10,000 tests per day and ultimately tested over two million nasal swabs.
Phillip Brunecz Jr., Administrative Assistant with TRIO Student Support Services at Salisbury University (SU)
A first-generation college student himself, Mr. Brunecz has served in SU’s TRIO office for six years, supporting hundreds of first-generation students, students with financial need, and students with disabilities.
His commitment to these students inspired him to make significant improvements to TRIO’s management processes. Working with IT, the Admissions Office, and other departments, Phillip was able to “attach” the TRIO application to the online incoming student application, making TRIO more accessible to SU students. As President Lepre noted, thanks to Phillip’s willingness to collaborate with others and his desire to improve the student experience, more SU students have access to TRIO’s important services.
OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO STUDENTS IN AN ACADEMIC OR RESIDENTIAL ENVIRONMENT
Archilline Tablada, Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP)
From recruitment, to admission, to orientation, Archie Tablada’s work as Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Psychology requiems a unique blend of patience, dedication, professionalism, and care. In combining those elements, Archie has contributed significantly to the success and well-being of these students.
She is committed to being a true advocate for these students. She understands the impact of making sure students feel seen and feel welcome. As a woman of color, Archie understands the unique situations and difficulties that graduate students—especially those from diverse backgrounds—can face.
Brooke Church, Academic Program Specialist in the Music, Theatre and Dance Department at Salisbury University
Arts programs, which depend on significant face-to-face interaction, faced unique challenges during COVID. Music-making was an especially high-risk activity, requiring strict safety guidelines for students, faculty, and staff.
Brooke Church purchased and distributed specialized PPE for arts students. She worked to schedule activities in appropriate spaces with adequate breaks in between for ventilation. These and other efforts were essential for allowing SU’s arts programs to safely continue.
During the pandemic recovery, her attention has turned to recruiting efforts, including her leadership in organizing a “Music Major for a Day” event last October. The response from local schools was overwhelming, prompting requests for a repeat of the event this year.
EXTRAORDINARY PUBLIC SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY OR TO THE GREATER COMMUNITY
Stanyell Odom, Director of Alumni Engagement at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
Stanyell Odom is committed to connecting UMBC’s current community with its alumni community, celebrating the institution’s continuing story. When the Chapter of Black and Latino Alumni was established in 2006, she worked with the chapter to honor the contributions of early UMBC faculty and staff of color. The following year, she coordinated with the alumni, retired faculty, and retired staff who were celebrated at UMBC’s inaugural Legends of Excellence event. An impressive 400 alumni attended the event, which honored teachers and mentors of color from UMBC’s earliest years.
Stanyell also co-led the team that planned UMBC’s highly successful 50th anniversary celebration in 2016. This 18-month project engaged an estimated 5,000 individuals in 12 months of celebratory activities.
Todd Waters, manager of the Department of Entomology’s Insect Zoo at the University of Maryland, College Park
Since 2017, Todd Waters has maintained a blistering pace promoting the Insect Zoo. The zoo has been featured at more than 100 events, reaching more than 10,000 people. In this brief time, he has had a highly positive influence on learners from across academic environments.
On campus, Todd was instrumental in bringing the Insect Petting Zoo to Maryland Day. Members of the campus community—including President and Mrs. Pines—and members of the broader community eagerly lined up for their chance to hold an insect. He also visits classrooms and holds entomology minor recruitment events on campus, introducing students to the diversity of insects.
EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY
Anthony Rosas, Technical Director in the Department of Theater Arts at Towson University
Mr. Rosas is the first of two exempt staff winners in this category. He created a comprehensive recycling program in the Department of Theatre Arts that has reduced the department’s negative environmental impact in several ways while increasing funds for the department by more than $10,000.
The reduced negative environmental impact has been achieved by lumber reuse and recycling, scrap metal reuse and recycling, and the recycling of cardboard, plastic, and packing material. This ongoing effort has eliminated the need for a 30-yard dumpster onsite. Mr. Rosas has also increased funding for the department by leveraging the “GovDeals” auction site.
Margo Young, Director of the Earth & Space Research Administration (ESRA) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Ms. Young helped create the Office of Earth & Space Research Administration (ESRA), a centralized shared services center supporting UMBC’s research centers with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The new administrative center facilitated effectiveness and efficiency in many ways.
First, it combined staff and resources to build a single administrative entity supporting four major research centers at UMBC which receive NASA funding. Second, ESRA restructured staff responsibilities to create the staffing back-up needed to avoid any “single point of failure” in grant administration. Finally, ESRA let the scientists focus on the scientific work, while Margo and center directors develop their proposals.
INCLUSION, MULTICULTURALISM, & SOCIAL JUSTICE
Dr. Courtney Jones Carney, executive director of the Intercultural Leadership and Engagement Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore
When she was serving as director of the Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiative, Dr. Jones Carney recognized the need for diversity programs at UMB. She launched heritage month events, developed a university-wide Safe Space program for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff, created the President’s Student Leadership Institute to engage students from across UMB as culturally competent leaders, and launched the Poverty Simulation and the Safety Pin Initiative, now known as The Learning Edge.
Most recently, Dr. Jones Carney launched an Intercultural Leadership Graduate Certificate program and helped create the new Master of Science in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Degree program.
The USM comprises 12 institutions: Bowie State University; Coppin State University; Frostburg State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; the University of Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and the University of Maryland Global Campus. The USM also includes three regional centers—the Universities at Shady Grove, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland—at which USM universities offer upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses.
USM institutions and programs are among the nation’s best in quality and value according to several national rankings. To learn more about the University System of Maryland, visit www.usmd.edu. To learn about the new USM Strategic Plan, “Vision 2030: From Excellence to Preeminence,” visit https://www.usmd.edu/vision2030/.
Contact: Mike Lurie