During Staff Recognition Week 2017, Mizzou employees were honored for dedication to the university. In a May 22 awards ceremony, members of the MIzzou community celebrated retirements, years-of-service milestones and accolades such as the Service Champion Award, Staff Development Awards and Education Awards. Some staff members earned special honors for exceptional service.
Major Mick Deaver Memorial Award for Student Relations Excellence
April A. Colbrecht
Lieutenant, MU Police Department
April Colbrecht started working with MUPD as a campus safety officer — then called a cadet — in 1994 while she was an undergrad studying animal science. “Chemistry sort of killed my dream,” Colbrecht jokes about her veterinary-medicine aspirations.
But she had gotten to know her colleagues at MUPD and liked the environment, so she trained and stayed on as an officer after she graduated. Today, Colbrecht is a lieutenant supervising a sergeant and eight officers to ensure proper coverage during the evening shift. With more than 20 years of experience, Colbrecht views her role as that of mentor. Often, this means molding newer officers to the MUPD mentality, which is different from many municipal police departments. “There’s a higher level of tolerance, and you have to be more patient,” Colbrecht says.
One of the department’s goals is to foster a climate of trust and respect between officers and students, so MUPD hosts special events such as Pizza with Police to help students become acquainted with officers in a non-enforcement setting. MUPD also is present at campus events such as Summer Welcome. Colbrecht often is responsible for ensuring MUPD has a presence at these and other events.
Colbrecht coordinates the Rape Aggression Defense courses for MUPD and serves on the MU Council on Violence Against Women committee. She also teaches a number of self-defense courses — including Citizens’ Response to Active Threat, Basic Rape Aggression Defense, Aerosol/Keychain Defense, Advanced Rape Aggression Defense and Weapons Defense — to members of the campus community. Some of these courses are specially tailored to women who have survived violent attacks.
“The most rewarding thing is to watch them leave with a whole new level of confidence,” Colbrecht says.
She recently coordinated the development of a self-defense course for men. In recommending Colbrecht for the Mick Deaver Memorial Award for Student Relations Excellence, Colbrecht’s nominator wrote: “I believe you would be very hard-pressed to find anyone more committed to the students on this campus and to ensuring the No. 1 priority of campus safety.”
Mizzou Alumni Association Award for Alumni Relations Excellence
Senior Student Service Coordinator, Career Center
For Carrie Collier, work at the MU Career Center is an opportunity to give back. “I’ve gotten so much from Mizzou. I got my master's here. I found such a community here,” Collier says.
In her role as Senior Student Service Coordinator at the MU Career Center, Collier supervises a team of almost 40 paraprofessional and career counselors and serves as an academic liaison with MU faculty and staff to provide career services such as StrengthsQuest. She began her professional career at Mizzou in the Trulaske College of Business in the Crosby MBA Program, and she helped launch the execMBA program, which allows working professionals (including many MU alumni) to pursue advanced degrees through a hybrid online/in-person format. She has been highly involved with the Griffiths Leadership Society for Women through the Mizzou Alumni Association, which connects MU collegian women with accomplished alumnae; she served as chair in 2016-17. Collier’s nominator says she has a talent for fostering connections, even in challenging situations.
“After protests in 2015, which coincided with and interrupted the Griffiths fall conference, Carrie helped facilitate conversations between protestors and Griffiths members in a way that informed and reassured alumnae. She has continued to facilitate conversations about diversity and inclusion in an accessible, positive way that brings about confidence in the university that we love,” Collier’s nominator wrote.
Collier’s success in these interactions might be attributed to her professional background, but there’s something inherent in her character that also plays a role.
“Carrie is a never-ending source of optimism and energy. She possesses a natural curiosity about everyone she meets and is passionate about helping others be the best version of themselves. She strives to build diverse teams, and she capitalizes on individuals’ strengths to get a broad range of unique perspectives to make better decisions on behalf of the university. In addition, she goes out of her way to be kind and help others without seeking praise. Carrie would not hesitate to inconvenience herself if it meant making another person’s life easier. She is truly committed to helping others, and she embodies this quality in every aspect of her personal and professional life,” her nominator wrote.
Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award Administrative/Professional Category
Associate Director of Student Financial Aid, Enrollment Management
It’s said that money talks, but for many navigating the processes of student financial aid is a daunting process nonetheless. Gena Boling, associate director of Student Financial Aid, strives to make it less so. “My goal is to make regulations understandable to students so they can be successful in applications,” Boling said.
To achieve this goal, Boling keeps abreast of changes in regional, state and federal policy and moves quickly to update procedures to ensure accessibility to MU students and their families.
Other duties include managing and coordinating financial aid operations, providing leadership to a team of professional and office support staff, maintaining a collaborative exchange of information with other administrative and academic offices, committees, institutions and individuals and developing up-to-date policies and practices. Boling has been with a number of professional organizations such as the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel, the latter for which she served as president in 2015. That same year, she was invited to attend the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative on early FAFSA, which sought to help students better understand financial aid eligibility.
One of Boling’s nominators said that in addition to educating students on financial aid processes, Boling helps financial aid staff better understand the services they provide.
“Gena has an open-door policy and staff go to her regularly with questions varying in scope. She has a broad regulatory knowledge and takes the time to research each question to ensure accuracy,” the nominator wrote.
Another nominator said Boling’s commitment to sharing information helps make her own job more enjoyable.
“Gena has ignited a passion in me for financial aid and assisting students with their college journey,” the nominator wrote. Boling, for her part, said helping her colleagues learn more about the industry is rewarding.
“It’s exciting to see your financial advisers find a passion for access and affordability,” she said.
Equally rewarding is continuing to grow in her own expertise.
“As I’ve progressed, I’ve been able to branch out, broaden my knowledge. I feel like I’m having an impact on student financial aid,” Boling said.
Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award Crafts/Maintenance Category
Groundskeeper II, Landscape Services
If you are looking for a good spot for a moment of quiet on campus, Andy Williams highly recommends the wildlife ponds on the white campus. Williams knows what he is talking about. As a lead groundskeeper with almost 15 years of experience at Landscape Services, he knows the ins and outs of MU’s most notable landmarks as well as its hidden treasures.
No matter the season, Williams’ work keeps him busy.
“It’s a constant job. You never have nothing to do,” he said. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. Williams prunes, pulls weeds, mulches, cleans up litter and removes snow. Regardless of the task at hand, Williams enjoys the work he does beautifying the campus.
“I’m not going to lie: There’s nothing I don’t like,” Williams said.
One of the aspects of his job that Williams appreciates most is the opportunity to learn new skills. When he started working for Landscape Services, his primary duties were mowing and trimming. Over the years, he’s been able to learn more specialized skills that allow him to play a greater role in manicuring work.
“I’m excited to learn that stuff,” Williams said. “I’ve come a long way.” Williams’ nominator said his work ethic is “second to none.”
“When Andy was asked to take over the white campus three years ago, he inherited a part of the campus that had been underserved. Working very methodically, Andy has whipped this part of the campus into shape and it is now an area that is another source of pride for our department,” the nominator wrote.
The pride Williams takes in how the campus looks makes him a trustworthy, dependable member of the team.
“All one has to do with Andy is to give him an assignment and then get out of the way as he attacks the problem,” the nominator wrote.
Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award Clerical/Office Category
Lisa L. Jones
Business Support Specialist II, Campus Facilities
Lisa Jones is a people person in the purest sense of the term.
“I enjoy people more than anything,” said Jones, a business support specialist for Campus Facilities, a department she has served for 19 of her almost 40 years at MU.
One of Jones’ nominators said it’s this appreciation and concern for others that leads Jones to exceed expectations in her work.
“Lisa volunteers to help and goes above and beyond. Many of the duties she performs are because she asked to learn someone else’s job so that customers, other employees, etc., would not be inconvenienced,” the nominator wrote.
Another nominator echoed this sentiment.
“She does this with a can-do spirit, a positive mind and the willingness to learn the details of each area so that she can serve them better,” the nominator wrote.
Jones first came to MU to work in advancement. After a brief leave of absence, she returned to work at Campus Facilities. Among Jones’ myriad duties are working with the safety trainer to set up safety-training plans for all union-eligible staff and maintaining a database, scheduling classes and enrolling eligible staff. She also arranges transportation and accommodations for Mizzou Botanic Garden events’ speakers.
“I’m not one to say, ‘That’s not my job.’ Wherever the need is, I like being able to assist,” Jones said.
One of Jones’ favorite tasks has been serving on the Campus Facilities health fair committee.
“The health fair is almost like a reunion each year because we get to see staff who work in different shops. I enjoy the festive mood and appreciate that we are able to provide important information, some of which has prompted people to make real changes or follow up with a doctor afterward,” Jones said.
More recently, Jones has taken on additional responsibility with Landscape Services and Mizzou Botanic Garden.
“With my previous experience in advancement, I’ve been able to offer suggestions on how to improve our correspondence with the Friends of the Mizzou Botanic Garden. I enjoy working with the Friends board and am looking forward to helping with the annual Pollinator Dinner in June,” Jones said.
Jones’ commitment to others not only contributes to workplace harmony and efficiency, but also to visitors’ impressions of the university. “I find Lisa honest, compassionate and thoughtful. … Lisa also cheerfully helps others have better experiences with campus facilities through her caring attitude,” one nominator wrote.
Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award Technical/Paraprofessional Category
Michaelle E. Dorsey
Library Senior Information Specialist, MU Libraries
There’s much more to keeping a library running smoothly than knowing the Dewey Decimal System and shushing rowdy patrons.
Since 1994, Michaelle Dorsey has worked in the physical processing unit at Ellis Library. There she supervises a staff of two full-time employees and multiple students in binding, security stripping, marking and repairing books for all of MU’s libraries. Organization and attention to detail in this area are crucial to keeping books from getting mislabeled, misshelved and, as is easily possible in a facility as large as Ellis, lost.
Additionally, she is responsible for book and artifact preservation and conservation. This means monitoring environmental conditions in libraries and storage facilities to prevent issues such as mold and insect infestations. “In a way, Michaelle is the guardian of the University of Missouri’s collection,” wrote one of Dorsey’s nominators.
After an arson attack in 2011 and a mold outbreak in 2014, Dorsey was the first to respond and organize efforts in assessing damage and examining options for the recovery process. Another nominator lauded Dorsey’s efforts in these instances, pointing out that fewer than 100 items were lost after the fire and that while recovery from the mold outbreak, which affected almost 20 percent of the book collection, still is underway, it is under control.
Dorsey also has been working as an apprentice under a conservator to learn the craft of repairing and restoring books and artifacts. It can be an arduous task at times, but Dorsey, who has a background in studio art, enjoys it — especially when she gets to handle items from the Special Collections and Rare Books.
“I love the final product. I love knowing that it will continue to be used. This is my way of preserving scholarly resources,” Dorsey said. Although she doesn’t regularly interact with library patrons face-to-face, Dorsey feels this is her way of interacting with and serving them.
In addition to processing and preserving books, Dorsey has been working toward a master's degree in information science and learning technologies with an emphasis in library science.
“In the midst of Michaelle’s regular work, from the disastrous to the mundane, she has been taking university classes to earn her master’s degree in library science. After full days of working in the library, she goes home to immerse herself in libraries even more, writing papers and studying for exams. It’s made for many long days for her, yet the library has benefited from her fresh knowledge and all the classes she has taken,” a nominator wrote.
Exemplary Service Award for Outstanding Service to the MU Staff Advisory Council
Betty Jo Wilson
Administrative Consultant II, Economic Development
Betty Jo Wilson recognizes the importance small details plan in the larger picture. As director of Conflict of Interest in the Office of Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development, she works with faculty and exempt staff to navigate rules and regulations to ensure compliance with Conflict of Interest.
“We help people on the front end so they aren’t frustrated on the back end,” Wilson said.
With a reporting rate of 99.6 percent, the department can boast some success. But Wilson likes to give credit to the faculty and staff who submit their disclosures.
“People are helpful and want to do the right things,” Wilson said. The same could be said for Wilson, recipient of this year’s inaugural Exemplary Service Award for Outstanding Service to the Staff Advisory Council.
Wilson’s nominator said Wilson has been enthusiastic in her commitment to SAC.
“All you have to do is ask and she will be happy to volunteer if she is available. In the past, she has asked for more opportunities to help SAC. She is great to work with and is very reliable. When she says she is going to be available, she will be available,” Bergfield wrote. An example of Wilson’s devotion is her efforts toward the annual Arts and Crafts Showcase.
“At least three years ago, SAC needed volunteers to help with security for the Arts and Crafts Showcase. We asked for volunteers with an all-staff email and got one — just one — response. That person was Betty Jo Wilson. She volunteered to sit with the showcase more than once that year and has been involved ever since. She didn’t just come to make sure the items in the showcase were safe; she engaged the visitors to the showcase and the artists themselves. People who visited the showcase had a better time because she greeted them and made them smile with her wonderful personality,” Wilson’s nominator wrote.
In this way, Wilson doesn’t just achieve stellar results but serves as a role model for others.
“She continues to inspire me because she is the type of MU employee that I want to be — someone who is hardworking, respectful and gives back freely to her employer and her coworkers, treating everyone as if they are the most important person at MU,” Wilson’s nominator wrote.