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K-State Today

April 5, 2018

2018 President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professional winners

Submitted by Diana McElwain

The President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals fosters excellence in the workplace by rewarding and recognizing unclassified professional staff members who achieve excellence and/or make exemplary contributions to the mission and values of K-State.

Five Kansas State University employees have been selected for the 2018 President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals.

Recipients are Rita Newell, budget fiscal officer II in the College of Human Ecology, in the Leadership Award category; Michelle Langvardt, executive assistant in the Office of the Provost, in the Team Building, Group Activity, and Service to the University Award category; Sarah Barrett, Clery Act compliance coordinator in the Office of Administration and Finance, in the Distinguished Accomplishment Award category; Jo Maseberg-Tomlinson, academic and professional program coordinator at K-State Global Campus, in the Productivity, Creativity and Innovation Award category; and Nathanael Bascom, assistant director in the Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab, in the Belonging Award category. 

Newell has led the College of Human Ecology for 23 years while excelling above and beyond in her position responsibilities as budget fiscal officer. She has provided exceptional leadership for the fiscal management in the College of Human Ecology which has been difficult with the recent budget cuts. She has found ways for the College to assist the departments with the budget cuts without jeopardizing the mission of the college. Newell is the "glue" that holds all elements of the college together whether it is within the budget and fiscal environment, human resource and personnel needs, projects, buildings and facilities management or any number of issues that come up. She was nominated by Dee Rush, executive assistant in the College of Human Ecology dean's office.

Langvardt has served as the coordinator for the fall and spring university commencement ceremonies for more than 15 years. The university commencement ceremony is the signature capstone event in the lives of our undergraduate and graduate students, and their families and friends. Langvardt is committed to ensuring that this experience is one the students and their families will not only relish and enjoy in the moment but also recall with many fond memories throughout their lives. The coordination of these ceremonies is a tremendous undertaking that requires both very broad oversight and very fine attention to thousands of details. The list of tasks she must oversee and coordinate is incredibly long and tedious. She is indeed, the "Queen of Commencement" and is truly dedicated to ensuring that the commencement ceremonies are the highest for each and every graduate of our university! She was nominated by Ruth Dyer, senior vice provost for academic affairs, Office of the Provost.

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Barrett has the ability to holistically assess an individual's health and wellness which allows her to effectively consider the needs of others. Through her work in the Office of Student Life as an assistant dean and director, Barrett recognized that many of the challenges students were often presented with had a financial stress or food insecurity, and this was very concerning to her. Barrett partnered with colleagues on campus to assess students' financial attitudes, behaviors and various experiences on and off campus. With information provided by the assessment, Barrett led a grassroots group of students and faculty to address issues of food insecurities across campus. This initiative created the FEED group which is a collaborative effort among students, faculty, staff and community partners dedicated to Fueling Educational Excellence Daily: FEED. Under Barrett's direction, this group sought to address the challenges of financial hardship and food insecurities in a comprehensive and holistic way. Through these efforts, the Cats' Cupboard was established. Since its opening, the Cats' Cupboard has seen more than 210 unique visitors and close to 530 visitors in all. Barrett continues to supervise the pantry because she believes that with increased access to food and other resources, K-State students will be more able to focus on their success in, and outside of the classroom — in line with the K-State Office of Student Life mission. Barrett's efforts in establishing Cats' Cupboard is an important step in addressing food insecurity and helping all members of the K-State community live a more healthy and successful life. She was nominated by Heather Reed, assistant vice president, senior associate dean and director of the Office of Student Life.

In her role as academic and professional program coordinator for summer school, intersession and evening college, Maseberg-Tomlinson has seen no shortage of challenges thrown her direction. Perhaps Maseberg-Tomlinson's biggest professional challenge at Global Campus was the addition of K-State's summer school program and all of its coordination responsibilities to her workload three years ago. From the start, Maseberg-Tomlinson's focus was on utilizing the existing platform of summer school to help students graduate sooner, emphasizing on-time graduation and summer school as a tool to get there. She worked closely with the marketing and communications team to utilize creative marketing techniques and strategies that proved to resonate with the on-campus student population. Maseberg-Tomlinson's work with summer school included a close partnership with the provost's office and has also resulted in the creation of an advisory committee, which she co-chairs. Once a plan for summer school was set, Maseberg-Tomlinson went above and beyond to put the committee's ideas into action. For all programs, she analyzed waitlists and other metrics to identify the need for alternative scheduling or additional accommodations in order to enroll the most students. The three criteria in this award category are productivity, creativity and innovation and you'd be hard-pressed to find three words that describe Maseberg-Tomlinson any better. Her creativity, both with marketing efforts and willingness to experiment with programming, have resulted in a variety of valuable K-State programs, many of which are truly innovative. She was nominated by Grant Guggisberg, communications and marketing specialist, K-State Global Campus.

Bascom is a team builder, playing a crucial role in helping people with diverse personal and academic backgrounds come together as a cohesive team. This is essential to the mission of the Feed the Future labs where Bascom has had such a big impact. He has a natural ability to make everyone feel welcome and part of the greater whole. His approach to every person he interacts with, from distinguished professors to people trading goods on the streets of Addis Ababa, show his sincerity in approaching all people as worthwhile and important. Bascom is committed to seeing real change happen for the world's most vulnerable populations. He has a gift for pulling people together from different cultures, places and perspectives. Our successful research team, from five institutions on two continents, is a testament to his ability to make everyone feel as though they belong. Not only does Bascom represent the characteristics of this award, more importantly he represents what it means to be a member of the K-State family. He was nominated by Barry Bradford, professor of animal sciences and industry.

Please join the Division of Human Capital Services in congratulating the 2018 award recipients. All award winners receive $1,000 for their contributions to the K-State community.

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