The Distinguished Staff Awards, the university’s highest staff recognition, annually honors 12 staff members for their exceptional leadership, accomplishments and service to The Ohio State University.
College of Social Work
Since 1993, Dianna Barrett has taken on the work of three positions in the College of Social Work, including the duties of a former assistant dean. That position was never refilled because of Barrett’s diligence.
“Only Dianna’s immense loyalty, work ethic and excellence have allowed this arrangement,” a colleague said. “We have no expectation upon her retirement that we could realistically assign all of these duties to her successor.”
Barrett, who began as a Typist Two in 1979, doesn’t just see tasks; she sees opportunities. As coordinator she is credited with revitalizing a moribund continuing education program that now provides in excess of 75 workshops each year to hundreds of social workers. As College Alumni Relations Liaison, she has helped the college’s alumni organization create a strategic plan, have successful fundraisers, establish a presence on the Web and encourage faculty participation. She also developed the College of Social Work Hall of Fame to honor distinguished alumni.
“It is difficult to find a good idea around here that does not bear her fingerprints,” a colleague said.
Director of Housing Education for Honors and Scholars Residence Halls
Office of University Housing
Hui-Ling Chan’s ability to make a person feel as if he or she is the most important in the world has led students to invite her to their weddings, graduations and family dinners.
Often she can be found staying up all hours of the night talking to students and helping them cope with college life — while still taking excellent care of her two children.
“Most impressively, she has championed many students who probably would not have graduated from our institution,” a nominator wrote. “Hui-Ling is a testament to what makes a land-grant institution truly great.”
Chan, a 13-year staff member, takes an active role on numerous university initiatives, including the Student Affairs Diversity Council, the Sexual Assault Committee, Images of You Multicultural Committee, Black Student Association, Faculty Friends coordination, English as a Second Language (tutor) and Alcohol Coalition — to name just a few.
“There is no single area where she has demonstrated more commitment to the university’s mission than the area of diversity,” a colleague said. “She has done this by ‘standing in the middle’ on difficult issues that require great personal strength and balance.”
Business Services officer
School of Music
The constant flow of money through the School of Music as well as travel requests, bills and equipment purchase orders falls on the desk of one person: Marilyn Cook.
And those who know her say she does the work of two, takes work home to make sure everything balances and never takes all of her vacation. Cook also believes in going above and beyond her duties to make her school and The Ohio State University a better place by using her lunch hour to tend the flowerbed in front of Weigel Hall.
Already the faculty and fellow School of Music staff are lamenting her March 2008 retirement after what will be 30 years of service to Oho State.
“What makes Marilyn Cook special is that she manages the job of two people in an environment where more and more demands are placed upon employees who handle financial matters,” a colleague said. “Her departure will leave a huge gap to fill.”
Department of Mathematics
Mark Garner’s official title may be program associate, but his colleagues in the Department of Mathematics believe his business card should say something more like “Oracle of the Largest Department on Campus” or “Gatekeeper of Mathematics Enrollments.”
For the past 16 years, Garner has quietly served behind the scenes in his department, first as an academic counselor and then as program associate since 1998. In his present position, he works the hidden switches that manage enrollments, course and room assignments for math sections attended by more than 25,000 undergraduates per year.
Every quarter, Garner studies and analyzes data to predict enrollment trends, restructure mathematics courses and assess the department’s instructional efforts. He sees and averts scheduling disasters before they happen. And he puts in many long hours to make it all work smoothly.
Garner does his job well so that the department can do its job well, says one reviewer. “Even though his work often goes unnoticed by outsiders, it is central to the instructional mission of the Department of Mathematics. Without his expertise, students would not be able to take advantage of the variety, the depth and the high quality of the mathematics courses available to them at Ohio State.”
Associate General Counsel
As former chief legal counsel for the Medical Center, Kate Haller provided legal services in the areas of litigation, contracts and other commercial transactions and risk management. Haller now works for the Ohio Department of MRDD.
While at Ohio State, her duties went beyond legal representation. She presented educational seminars to physicians and spearheaded the creation of the university self-insurance program to include the faculty of the medical center. She directed the legal work for the Medical Center’s acquisition of the former Park Medical Center and helped transform it into University Hospitals East.
Haller, who was at Ohio State for 16 years, was a key member of the team that created OSUPhysicians Inc., the integrated practice plan for more than 700 Medical Center physicians. The merger of all these providers into one corporation has meant cost savings and streamlined delivery of care.
But that was just her day job. In her free time, Haller works on the Diversity Vision Council of the United Way to promote race relations. She leads CARE Columbus, a United Way initiative to improve public heath through cultural competency training for health care professionals.
Closer to home, Haller chaired The Ohio State University Medical Center Diversity Committee and instituted the Diversity Book Club, where Medical Center employees gather to read and discuss books dealing with diversity issues. She also served as the second chair of the President’s Council on Women.
A colleague, looking at the scope of Haller’s contribution to the university, said, “Kate Haller has been at the center of all the projects that make the Medical Center what it is today. She always operates with integrity and serves with humility. She is a role model for other administrators and lawyers in her tireless commitment to always doing what is right.”
Center for Molecular Neurobiology
With 14 research labs, more than 400 precision instruments and tanks full of 15,000 zebrafish to look after, Scott Hines doesn’t often get bored at work.
His job description — “Do whatever it takes to keep Rightmire Hall and the laboratories functional” — is deceptively simple. What it actually entails is fixing anything that breaks, from centrifuges, water baths, incubators, shakers, autoclaves and glassware washers to other highly sensitive scientific equipment.
The Center for Molecular Biology houses equipment and researchers charged with studying aspects of nervous system development and functioning. By keeping the machinery up and running, nominators say, Hines is making a real contribution to the collection and analysis of data that may someday help people who suffer from cancer, spinal cord injuries and developmental defects.
“Scott Hines is the type of dependable, flexible staff member that every department and unit would love to have,” a colleague said.
One example of Hines’ flexibility is the time he came to campus one early, cold December morning to fix a temperature control unit located on the roof of Bevis Hall.
“Mr. Hines has been essential to our jobs in that his advanced engineering skill allows him to repair our equipment and our facilities quickly,” a colleague said. “His professional and caring attitude consistently characterizes his interactions with everyone that he comes into contact with.”
Director of Bereavement Services
No one would say that June Hinkle has an easy job, but most would agree that she has an essential one. As director of Bereavement Services, Hinkle plays the difficult role of comforting grieving families through the death of a loved one and guiding them through the ensuing paperwork process. She also works with families, health care providers and staff on the delicate issue of organ donation.
In her 22 years at the Medical Center, Hinkle has conducted countless bedside vigils and provided training for nurses and doctors on critical care topics, organ and tissue donation and end-of-life issues. She has written and received grants through The Second Chance Trust Fund to educate medical residents on sensitively delivering bad news to families and tactfully approaching the topic of organ donation.
Her work with the National Collaborative to Increase Organ and Tissue Donation has resulted in an increase in organ donation consents at the Medical Center, from 28 percent in 2003 to 77 percent in 2006. With more than 2,000 people on the Ohio waiting list for transplants, that increase represents a significant number of lives being touched and saved in Ohio.
Hinkle spearheaded efforts to implement a team of bereavement specialists at the Medical Center. She also instituted a regular “Service of Remembrance” at which more than 400 families and friends gather to remember and honor loved ones who died at the Medical Center.
“Through her dedication, compassion and commitment, June has helped countless people with this unavoidable aspect of life. She has touched lives and saved lives in an incredibly meaningful way,” a colleague said.
Administrative Associate and Fiscal and Human Resource Office
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
When Brenda Hosey joined the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures (GLL) in 1998, her impact on the program was noticed immediately, colleagues said.
Organization improved immensely and things that had once taken months to process were being handled in a fraction of the time.
“Not only does she keep our department running with utmost competence, innovations and sense of fairness, but she shows herself to be firmly committed to the humanities and its larger mission of serving the human spirit,” said a colleague.
Hosey has been at Ohio State since 1977, when she started her career in the Admissions Office. Now the office administrative associate for GLL, she prepares and monitors the department’s budgets and accounts, performs all tasks regarding human resources, schedules courses and monitors enrollment.
But her highly developed people skills and commitment to humanist values are what makes her stand out. She has created a friendly, open and respectful atmosphere that makes it a pleasure for faculty to come to work and tackle even the most difficult problems with her.
“What distinguishes Ms. Hosey’s work as truly unique, though, is her commitment to service not only inside, but outside the university. She has served on the Board of Directors at Contemporary American Theatre Company. Just as she does within the College of Humanities, she works tirelessly to help keep the community connection to culture and arts alive and growing,” a colleague said.
Prem Rose Kumar
Graduate Program Administrator
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Playing a major part in transforming the Office of Graduate Student Advising within the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Prem Rose Kumar’s initiatives for the graduate program have been described as extraordinary by colleagues.
Kumar counsels more than 300 graduate students in mechanical engineering, advising and assisting them through each of the stages in their education. Guiding such a large population would not be possible without the leadership skills and innovation she brings to the position.
In her position, she has taken it upon herself to address the well-being and success of graduate students in the department, sacrificing countless personal hours and expanding an effort far beyond what is expected.
Kumar practices the concept of academic advising without borders where every student, regardless of degree objective or department affiliation, receives prompt and high-quality academic counseling in pursuit of their academic goals.
“Prem’s contributions to enhancing the educational experience of our students are truly inspirational,” a colleague said.
Students say Kumar goes beyond the call of duty to respond to questions promptly.
“She does her job with an outstanding sense of purpose — she wants to do all that she can to ensure the success of graduate students in the department,” a student said.
Office of Enrollment Services and Undergraduate Education
Brad Myers came to Ohio State as a freshman in 1973 and hasn’t stopped moving up since. Known as an articulate and insightful leader, Myers has advanced through a number of high-profile administrative positions to become a well-known and respected registrar.
As registrar, Myers collaborated to change facets of registration at Ohio State, from the once-innovative telephone registration system BRUTUS — in which he acted as the voice of BRUTUS — to the current Web registration that students use. Along with his leadership in these areas, Myers is involved in the implementation of the new Student Information System and the construction of a new Student Academic Services building.
“He has an unwavering commitment to excellence, the ability to articulate a clear vision that inspires others and a sincere dedication to the highest level of professionalism,” a colleague said.
Known for his accessibility to faculty, staff and students, Myers is seen as a mentor and role model to those who know him. He remains actively involved in student organizations and the community and he contributes to collegiate registrar associations, including the Ohio Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in which he has served as president. In this organization, he is fondly known as the “FERPA Doctor,” because he is a well-known expert on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and has been instrumental in publishing a guide about its laws.
“I have always considered him to be one of the most important people on campus,” one colleague said. “He is a critical part of the glue that holds our great university together, and his hard work, dedication and competence are unparalleled.”
Wellness Program Manager
Ohio State University Managed Health Care
Her fearlessness in experimenting with fresh, creative ideas on wellness at Ohio State has allowed Marianne Robinson to implement innovative proposals that have altered university health care plans.
Robinson has initiated a plethora of programs, including a biometric screening plan that monitored the health status of more than 6,000 employees in the program’s first six months. She helped provide the university with the flu vaccination program, a successful annual health fair and a wellness education program for employees called Lunch and Learn. She also is responsible for placing blood pressure kiosks around campus, allowing employees to monitor their own health.
“Marianne’s wellness mindset is always switched on, and the university community is usually the beneficiary,” one colleague said.
Much of Robinson’s work during her 19 years at Ohio State has been incorporated into the new health benefit design Your Plan for Health. Her expertise on the technical aspects of wellness has been critical in ensuring the effectiveness of the new plan, a colleague said.
“Her intimate knowledge of the population we serve and her relationships with other stakeholders continue to facilitate the implementation of this system-wide change,” another colleague said. “Marianne’s contributions have affected the well-being of thousands of our employees either through direct or indirect contact.”
Academic Adviser and Staff Assistant
Student Affairs on the Mansfield Campus
Rick Stewart has worked at Ohio State Mansfield for more than 19 years and has made contributions that better not just students, but faculty and staff as well.
Those who know him rave that Stewart is the driving force in developing the successful Columbus Campus Connections Fair. The ever-growing annual event helps students transitioning from Mansfield to the main campus.
“It is so refreshing to work with an adviser who is committed to students’ success,” a colleague said.
His dedication was evident when he made appointments for students when a colleague visited from the main campus and volunteered to give up his office so she could privately counsel the students without his intrusion.
Stewart also is committed to diversity, as he promotes and recruits students for the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences event. Because the event is in Columbus, he even has offered transportation to students interested in the event, a colleague said.
Not only does Stewart go above and beyond to help students, he is the first to volunteer with staff and faculty events as well, including staff appreciation functions and serving on several faculty committees.
“Rick is one of the most dedicated and conscientious people I have ever known,” one colleague said. “He is committed to continuous self-improvement and is relentless in his efforts to improve the programs and processes he works with.”