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.
John W. Anderson
Research Associate 2-B/H
Department of Animal Science, OARDC
No matter what team he’s on, John Anderson is a clutch player — and that’s not just because he’s a poultry expert.
During his almost-three decades of service at Ohio State/OARDC, Anderson has worked with a variety of researchers on a range of projects, from genetic lines of turkeys and Japanese quail to poultry physiology and the development of poultry 4-H and FFA programs. Though his vocational focus has shifted, one thing has remained the same: His commitment to excellence in his work.
“He is very goal-oriented and always gets the job done, no matter the effort required,” wrote one former supervisor. “John Anderson has contributed greatly to the success of the poultry program at OSU.”
Examples of his contribution include co-authorship of 26 peer-reviewed, full-length scientific papers and discovery of a trend in turkey muscle development that could lead to a significant change in the way commercial turkeys are produced. These achievements, combined with leadership and service with Ohio 4-H, earned him a Meritorious Service Award from the Ohio Poultry Association in 2008 — an award normally given to faculty members.
“John is a unique individual who always goes beyond the expectations for his position,” wrote a nominator. “He is dedicated, cares about the quality and impact of his work and truly wants to help and inspire others. He is always willing to help when he has expertise in an area.”
Grant Development Specialist
Department of Human Development and Family Science
The phrase “Show me the money!” may not have been coined specifically in reference to the work Bobbie Bowling does for the Department of Human Development and Family Science, but it certainly could have.
“Since Bobbie has been with the department, the grant dollars received by our faculty have increased by $5.5 million,” wrote a colleague. “Her ability to juggle many different tasks and do so smoothly and competently speaks to her hard work, organizational skills and commitment to the job.”
Her juggling skills have made her a bit of a superhero around the department, not just among faculty but among grad students and staff as well. She is described as immensely patient, cheerful, knowledgeable and upbeat — not to mention calming and confident — all traits that come in handy in her line of work, which involves submitting grant proposals, managing awards and trolling for additional grant possibilities.
Part of her trade secret is a dogged determination to get the job done and done right. Her attention to detail and her willingness to put in long hours, coupled with her eagerness to learn and apply new skills, make her an invaluable team member.
“Department members also know Bobbie is the first one to go the extra mile for them,” wrote another colleague. “The type of service Bobbie provides keeps members of the department happy and productive.”
Elizabeth Ann Davis
Department of Recreational Sports
The next time you sweat your way through a group fitness class at Ohio State — Zumba, perhaps, or maybe kickboxing — there’s one person you should be thanking as those calories melt away: Liz Davis.
Since 1978, Davis has been committed to wellness and recreation for the Ohio State community and has spearheaded the development of numerous programs that advance the goal of physical fitness on this campus. In the early 1980s, Davis — affectionately known as “The Mother of Fitness” by her peers in the field of recreational sports — pioneered the Buck-i-Robics program, which has since evolved to offer more diverse programs such as pilates and yoga.
“She then went on to develop, implement and oversee the department’s first personal training program, massage therapy programming and athletic training services,” wrote one colleague. “As an innovator, Liz understands the need for change and continued growth of new and exciting programs and services.”
Some of those new and exciting programs include the Body Image and Health Task Force (BIHTF), which Davis helped launch in 1996 as a way to foster healthy body image, acceptance and awareness on campus. In conjunction with the annual Body Image Bazaar, the BIHTF provides resources on health, nutrition and eating disorders.
Davis also is an active member of the campus Wellness Collaborative, which promotes a wellness culture and education for all members of the campus community.
“Liz’s dedication and influence have assisted in moving wellness to the forefront on this campus,” two nominators wrote. “She is dedicated to improving others’ lives through her dedication to fitness, positive body image, leadership and healthy relationships...always offering a smile and encouraging words.”
Director of Facility Scheduling
Department of Recreational Sports
For more than eight years, Andrea Hall has held down a vital but largely unsung position in the department of Recreational Sports. As the “central cog” in a very complex scheduling system, Hall is the gatekeeper for more than 4.8 million square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, attending to more than 65,000 reservations and requests every year.
“Andrea is the first point of contact for students, faculty, staff and community members who often are overwhelmed in the scheduling process,” wrote one nominator. “Effective communication and attention to detail are Andrea’s strengths. Her ability to synthesize a project is a talent very few possess.”
Examples of projects she has undertaken include the implementation of an electronic scheduling system, Event Management Systems, in 2007 to streamline outdated methods of reserving event space. Real-time scheduling was her next innovation, allowing patrons to easily identify available spaces and ongoing activities.
Hall also works as an adviser to the student-led group Student Professional Development Association, an organization devoted to providing student employees of Rec Sports with professional development opportunities. Additionally, she serves on a number of campus committees such as the Buckeye Event Network, which brings various campus constituents together to coordinate use of outdoor space. And she works with the Ohio Special Olympics to coordinate meal services for the athletes, coaches and family members attending the summer games.
Another nominator wrote, “Andrea sees the bigger picture of what a great staff member at The Ohio State University exemplifies and consistently embodies these qualities.”
Glenda La Rue
Director, Women in Engineering Program College of Engineering
Women in the engineering fields, a vastly under-represented group, can breathe a little easier knowing they have Glenda La Rue on their side.
As director of Ohio State’s Women in Engineering program, La Rue has oversight of all recruitment, retention and outreach programs. What’s more, La Rue also excels in her duties as teacher, fundraiser and undergraduate and graduate adviser to students in the program.
“During the past seven years, Glenda has propelled the Women in Engineering program into the national spotlight through her involvement in professional organizations,” wrote a nominator.
The extensive list of organizations includes the American Society of Engineering Education and the Women in Engineering Proactive Network, of which she is currently the president-elect. Her participation in the organization even earned the university’s program the 2006 Women in Engineering Initiative Award.
La Rue is also a vital leader in the Honda-Ohio State Partnership. She coordinates and administers outreach and education programs through the Woman in Engineering RACE summer camp, which is geared toward 10th- and 11th-grade high school girls. “Through many of her own innovations, and through the leadership she has exhibited, Glenda has achieved the objectives of the program and has exceeded our expectations,” wrote another nominator.
Yet one nominator stresses that La Rue’s most important contribution to the university is “her natural ability to inspire others,” most notably the nearly 1,000 pre-college and undergraduate students the program reaches. “Glenda demonstrates great leadership,” the colleague wrote. “It seems like every female engineering student knows Glenda and is part of her team. I see the sense of community that they have, which I know is instilled by Glenda.”
Director of Academic Advising
College of Engineering
In her role as director of academic advising in the College of Engineering, Judith McDonald often has to be frank with struggling students, persuading them to change their discipline or their career path altogether. She is confronted with students who simply have poor study habits and even some whose drug and alcohol issues are holding them back.
But the fact she handles them all with aplomb while exhibiting compassion for their individual circumstances shows how talented an adviser and problem solver she has become during her 30 years at Ohio State.
“What stands out is that she does this in a way that makes students realize that she is looking out for their best interests,” a nominator wrote.
Along with her passion to better serve students comes a never-ending drive to improve the processes. McDonald took it upon herself to organize the academic advisers in all 14 engineering programs into a single, cohesive team. Early on the advisers chatted informally over lunch. But eventually it progressed to formal meetings and participation in professional societies, and Engineering now has a highly coordinated freshman orientation and uniform survey courses across all disciplines.
Another nominator who works in the Department of Mathematics was impressed that McDonald put her on the Engineering advisers’ e-mail list, just so she could stay abreast of similar issues or concerns.
Many of the nominators noted McDonald makes the impossible seem possible and brings clarity to muddied waters.
“While Judith’s job is under the radar and certainly not glamorous,” another nominator wrote, “the College of Engineering would not function well without the many things that she does behind the scenes, and the students would be at a disadvantage.”
Linda Jo Mauger
Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology
Although Geriatrics and Gerontology may not seem a well-known field of health care, Linda Jo Mauger has made it her mission to make Ohio State’s division a leader in the field.
As program director of the office, Mauger is in charge of the development and implementation of education and outreach programs that train healthcare providers in elderly care. Mauger has combined her passion for the field and a progressive business sense to create multiple educational programs to improve care of the elderly.
Among the many programs she has developed is SUNSET, a series of 14 online continuing education modules focusing on longterm elderly care, as well as SAGE, a three-course distance-learning program that provides a Certificate of Completion in Gerontology.
Mauger also created PCS, a program that partners the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology and the American Association of Service Coordinators. The program provides online professional development for service coordinators working with older adults, persons with disabilities and at-risk families moving toward independent living.
“Her pioneering of web-based education strategies extended the research and knowledge of the university to new audiences, arguably the members of our community who need it most,” wrote a nominator. Another insisted that these online modules, which are both affordable and revenue-generating for the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology, “enable the department to innovate while continuing to serve the community.”
The praise for these endeavors, as well as a mountain of others, is nearly as extensive as Mauger’s accomplishments themselves. Wrote a nominator: “As her past accomplishments and future plans demonstrate, Linda Mauger is truly an inspirational model of exceptional leadership and service to the university and its community.”
Director of Finance and Administration
Moritz College of Law
Tim Meager’s colleagues don’t hesitate to point to him as a shining example of Ohio State’s One University ideal. As director of finance in Moritz College of Law, Meager serves as fiscal officer, a position from which he also oversees all fiscal and human resources operations.
But, as one nominator affirmed, “What makes Tim special is his ability to exceed expectations, to act as a strategic thinker, a problem solver and a teacher of colleagues.” Meager is renowned for his superbly forecasted fiscal directions and planning for a variety of public finance contingencies. And this expertise in the area of financial decisions is precisely what made Meager the outstanding candidate for his position.
When Fiscal and Human Relations were merged in 2008, the two departments were to fall under a single leader. “It was clear that Tim was the right person for this new position,” wrote a nominator, “and under his leadership, the transition (with above-and-beyond work along the way) has been a tremendous success.”
What’s more, Meager is described as a committed Buckeye on the whole who “seizes each opportunity to build the excellence of Ohio State.” He has served on numerous university committees, offering his time both inside and outside of the College of Law.
And his willingness to help is only enhanced by his dedicated and friendly attitude toward his fellow staff members. As one nominator simply put it, “All who work with him trust that he speaks as someone who shares their goals to build a fine university. He is an expert, and he is an empathetic teacher.”
Facilities Operations and Development
Simply put, Phyllis Rawlings is a valued member of the Department of Mathematics family. As a custodian who has serviced the offices and meeting rooms in the Mathematics Tower over the past 17 years (among 22 years in all at Ohio State), Rawlings knows every personality quirk and tidiness trait of the hundreds of inhabitants. As such, she has an established tenure of personalized service. But when Rawlings adds in her brand of care and devotion, she takes her job to a level that few staff ever reach.
Rawlings’ most endearing example of this is how she makes sure to keep an eye on a distinguished emeritus professor who suffered a stroke about five years ago. Where the professor used to be in the office 12 hours a day, seven days a week and would make the rounds in the department, he is now mostly confined to his office and is a bit unsteady on his feet.
“Phyllis keeps watch over him when he is in, where he goes and when he misses a day or two, she begins to ask about him, both out of concern for him and to make sure that we too are aware that he has not been in,” a nominator wrote. “She also keeps watch over ‘his people’ to let him know who is in the department, who she has seen. We think it is a great human service to our colleague, probably more than either one of them realizes.”
Rawlings also takes it upon herself to expand her duties, volunteering to help fellow employees in other buildings with tasks they can’t do by themselves. When other custodians in the math department are absent, Rawlings will often take on their duties as well — without prompting.
She does it all with a smile on her face, a cheerful disposition and a true interest in the answer when she asks each person, “How are you doing?”
Wrote another nominator: “With both actions and words, it is obvious that Phyllis is truly concerned about each and every one of us.”
Stephanie Rene Sanders
Senior Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions and FYE
It was a monumental task in 2003, revamping the admissions process when the Supreme Court ruled out a direct consideration of race and ethnicity in undergraduate applications. But Stephanie Sanders, who is described by colleagues as dedicated, adaptable, extraordinary, tireless and innovative, built an even better system focused on the individual applicant. As a result, every freshman class since that ruling has been higher-achieving than the previous one.
“To devise a process that has consistently resulted in freshman classes which at once meet the university’s quality, economic, diversity, low-income and first-generation goals (among others) while factoring in the unique talents and circumstances of each applicant required tremendous creativity, focus and especially leadership,” one nominator wrote. “This was among her highest accomplishments.”
Sanders, who began at Ohio State as a medical records clerk in 1981 and completed an undergraduate degree and MBA at Ohio State along the way, has the innate ability to see the big picture. She routinely asks how changes in her area will affect others and she builds a constant line of sight between everyday actions and the university’s drive to reach eminence.
Sanders oversees 30 regular staff and trains 20 seasonal application reviewers, one of whom noted Sanders comes across as an astute mentor — an especially valuable quality in a leader when 40,000 freshman and transfer applications must be reviewed for individual panache with a quick turnaround.
“She is the calm voice on the other end of the phone when one is in the deepest agony of ‘deny’ or ‘defer,’” the reviewer wrote. “Her focus is always on the applicant, not the reader’s biases or preconceptions. Her patience is her best quality. And we have learned from Stephanie not to be gatekeepers, but to offer opportunity.”
Molly N. Wambold
Office Administrative Associate
In her 30 years at the ElectroScience Laboratory, Molly Wambold’s diligence and consistency has made her one of the lab’s most valued — and valuable —staff members.
“Every organization relies on a few remarkable people whose work ethic, excellence, personality, service consistency, reliability and dedication makes them the heart and soul of that organization,” a nominator wrote. “For the ElectroScience Laboratory, Molly Wambold is that person.”
Although her primary responsibility is to serve as administrative associate for the laboratory director — she has served four during her time there, each with equal aplomb, they say — Wambold regards everyone as a customer, whether that person is an external sponsor, a faculty member, a student or a staff member who needs help or information.
She coordinates meetings, organizes background material, maintains the director’s extensive travel schedule and provides guidance and assistance to faculty members and researchers concerning the lab’s policies and procedures. She also assists with the ESL graduate student recruiting effort, and she supervises and evaluates the work of ESL support staff. She’s also a superior problem-solver, well-versed in the intricacies of university bureaucracy.
“When a task is assigned to Molly, she will always follow through and ensure that it is carried out,” wrote a nominator. “She will find the right person to reach, an acceptable solution or simply do it herself if necessary.” It is not surprising that some faculty and researchers at ESL have referred to her as the “Mother” of the ElectroScience Laboratory.
Her work has been recognized with several awards through the years, including multiple ESL Staff Achievement Awards, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Outstanding Staff Member Award and the College of Engineering “Above and Beyond” Staff Recognition Award.
Robert D. Wells
Research Assistant 2 - Physical
Department of Physics
Bob Wells has a long history of achievement built during his 20 years in the Department of Physics, but his service excellence doesn’t stop at the departmental border.
“Bob willingly and enthusiastically helps across departments and across traditionally assigned roles proving his multidimensional commitment to excellence throughout the university,” a nominator wrote. “He is continuously looking for the next problem to solve or the need to fill to keep progress moving forward.”
Wells was instrumental in the recent move of numerous researchers from Smith Laboratory to the new Physics Research Building, a process made extremely complicated by some of the conditions it was necessary to maintain in the various labs.
Technical staff from the Department of Physics worked outside normal job assignments to help researchers, movers and project planners get the moves accomplished. “In Bob’s particular case, this involved hundreds of hours of physical labor to move, clean, organize and purge equipment,” wrote a nominator. “Because of Bob’s efforts, the originally projected move costs were trimmed by tens of thousands of dollars.”
On another occasion, Wells was approached by a group of engineering students who were participating in a NASA program involving research to be conducted aboard a zero-gravity flight over the Gulf of Mexico. “Throughout that quarter, Bob helped us organize our thoughts and design what became an incredibly complicated experiment,” one of the students wrote. “Whenever we thought we were stuck, he would make a suggestion that could only come from someone with years of experience. I have no doubts that the success of our experiment was a direct result of Bob Wells’ donated time; we would not have flown if not for him.”
Wrote another nominator: “Bob’s cheery, don’t-worry-it-will-get-done attitude is backed up by hard work, creative thinking and a commitment that whatever the task, no matter how challenging, a means will be found to get it accomplished.”