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K-State Today

April 9, 2021

2021 President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professional winners

Submitted by Human Capital Services

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 Kansas State University.

Five K-State employees have been selected for the 2021 President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals.

Recipients:

  • Mishelle Hay McCammant, academic services coordinator, College of Agriculture Academic Programs, in the Leadership Award category. 
  • Brent Weaver, learning assistant coordinator, Office of Student Success, in the Team Building, Group Activity, and Service to the University Award category. 
  • Marci Ritter, executive assistant, Global Campus dean's office, in the Productivity, Creativity and Innovation Award category.
  • Rich Llewelyn, extension assistant, Department of Agricultural Economics, in the Distinguished Accomplishment Award category. 
  • Mandi McKinley, program assistant, Office of Student Success, in the Belonging Award category.

Hay McCammant's efforts to support students and faculty have greatly enhanced student success in our college and across the university. Hay McCammant has demonstrated leadership at every level at K-State. In our college, she has responsibility for all academic records functions, leading the Student Records Office and working closely with student service coordinators in eight academic departments. She is the go-to person on any question about academic policies and procedures. The level of service her team has maintained while working remotely since March has been extraordinary, deploying and supporting new communications tools like Microsoft Teams and SSC-Navigate to better connect faculty, staff and students. Hay McCammant has generously given her time to serve in numerous leadership roles at K-State. She is currently a faculty senator, co-chairing the Professional Staff Affairs committee and representing K-State on the Regent’s University Professional Staff Council. She has served on many university committees, such as Academic Records, Processes and Systems, University Handbook, University Calendar, ImageNow Admin Users Group, and Curriculog. She provides key input and guidance to our college teaching coordinators and our Course and Curriculum Committee. She has also advised our Collegiate Cattlewomen student organization, helped develop multiple study abroad experiences for students, and served on search and review committees for department heads and an associate dean. Hay McCammant is well known across our college for her outstanding service to students, faculty and staff. She has a positive, can-do attitude that has positively influenced the culture of our college. She has made K-State a better place to study and to work, and is highly deserving of this recognition.

Throughout his tenure with K-State First for the past four years, Weaver has been dedicated to our learning assistants — a cohort of student peer mentors within our first-year classes, universitywide collaborative efforts, faculty/staff development, and program assessment through the continuous changes, challenges, successes and growth of the K-State First program. Through Weaver's efforts, the learning assistant program this year centered on maintaining support for students during a time of uncertainty as we all navigated the transition to virtual work and online learning along with hybrid models. Weaver's work as an instructor for the University Experience courses was exemplary, both inside the classroom with his students and through continued adaptation of the curriculum itself with other instructors and program partners from other units. Weaver coordinated with all instructors to quickly pivot to create a hybrid/hyflex option for teaching the course, connecting the University Experience course to university resources such as the Career Center and Powercat Financial. He observed all University Experience courses and provided support and feedback to the instructors. Weaver continued to build connections and represented K-State First as a highly collaborative unit through his work chairing and being on various search, scholarship, training and development, planning and facilitation committees. Weaver is unparalleled in the way that he cares for others, including students, faculty and staff at K-State. Through his supervisory duties with learning assistants and our graduate students, his work on various universitywide committees, and his collaborative programmatic efforts, it is clear how kind, thoughtful and supportive he is. Weaver's leadership with our peer mentor program is clear to others outside of our program, as others like the Learning Commission and the Arts and Sciences LA task force, took notice and asked for his support and feedback in their own efforts, which led to him co-leading a broader peer mentorship collaborative. In all that Weaver does, he prioritizes students' needs and the collaborations that lead to success in that endeavor, and he is a wonderful team member to work with daily. 

In her role as administrative consultant, Ritter uses creative problem-solving and her high drive for productivity to lead many initiatives for K-State Global Campus. Her efforts have an impact beyond Global Campus, positively affecting the university and the community. Ritter keeps the entire organization in mind at all times, working to ensure consistency and equity in each action. She worked to establish a records retention and archiving schedule for all of Global Campus, something that had not been in place before and mitigates risk to the university. She also developed an electronic on-boarding and off-boarding checklist for staff as they join and leave Global Campus. This has resulted in a more consistent experience for new staff as well as a better process for making sure past staff are removed from university systems. Under Ritter's leadership, Global Campus had transitioned to Microsoft Teams in late 2019. Ritter arranged for training, developed the initial Team structure and deployed a file structure within Teams for a newly organized unit. The timing was perfect as staff members were comfortable using Teams for chat, meetings and file access before moving to a remote work environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic making the transition seamless across Global Campus. Ritter was also tapped to co-lead a team of Global Campus staff as a permanent remote work structure was explored. She utilized her knowledge of the university and personnel processes along with information from other team members to develop a draft proposal, which is currently being finalized. Ritter continues to manage projects at all levels in support of Global Campus' mission. Her ability to manage multiple simultaneous projects is one of her strongest assets. In terms of her service beyond the university, Ritter served on the University Professional and Continuing Education Association Central Region awards committee for three years, 2016-2018, serving as the chair of the committee in 2017 and 2018. Under her leadership, award categories were reviewed and a new category for instructional design was created. In addition to her association work, Ritter organizes bimonthly Red Cross blood drives for Global Campus and the university community. The impact of these drives has been immense, collecting 853 units of blood with the potential of positively affecting 2,559 lives. She is creative, innovative, solutions-oriented, service-minded and continually ensures a positive impact in her work. The effects of Ritter's work can be felt across Global Campus, the university and the larger community and she is very deserving of this award.

Llewelyn has always been the glue that holds the extension team of professors and staff together for the Department of Agricultural Economics. In a typical year, Llewelyn manages four large programs for the department, manages the award-winning extension website, AgManager.info, and teaches a spring semester class. His productivity and commitment to K-State and the department is award-worthy in a normal year, but 2020 proved to be anything but normal. In a time where many faculty/staff were struggling with how to move forward, Llewelyn met the challenge head-on. He not only received the best TEVAL scores in his spring taught class on record — with many comments of how smoothly he transitioned his class online — he also coordinated and ran an Extension program out of the agricultural economics department that provided research-based information to a national audience. When people were scrambling for information, Llewelyn was able to showcase our expertise in the agricultural economics department across the country by using Zoom technology in timely and professional webinars. The first major effort was offering a series of webinars; providing understanding of what was happening in the commodity markets — eg., meat shortages and shutdown of ethanol plants affecting grain markets, as well as giving information about government programs that could be helpful to farmers, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration, and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program via the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Twelve large webinars were conducted between March and the end of May,and a 13th one in October, with recordings of these videos also made available. Nearly 2,500 people across the country participated live in these webinars with almost 10,000 views of the recordings. Llewelyn managed each of these webinars; marketing them to producers, lenders, extension agents and other agricultural stakeholders so that they could register and receive slides and materials. This benefited those needing the information, namely agricultural producers and agribusinesses, but also benefited the campus as a whole in taking on the role of national expertise. The program would not have been possible without Llewelyn taking charge of organizing, marketing, running technology during the webinars and managing the website with the recordings. Llewelyn's involvement in this project showed his dedication to the K-State mission of providing research-based timely information.

McKinley has been central to our efforts to build and support our entire K-State First team, which includes not only the full-time professionals in our office but also our graduate assistants, our learning assistants, the volunteers in our student groups, as well as the faculty who teach our learning communities and First-Year Seminars. She reminds us regularly of our goal to become a model office within the university; she often includes the hashtag #modeloffice in her reminders and communication to us to encourage us toward our shared team goals of collaboration across the university and the empowerment and support of all K-State students. Our team shared this mentality in our presentation in the What Matters to Me and Why series from Leadership Studies this past year, where McKinley highlighted the ways how she works to be gracious, grateful, and celebrate others as a way to build community within our team, our Student Success unit, and at the university as a whole. She also planned our 10th anniversary kickoff event in January 2020, where the more than 100 people in attendance, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors, were all celebrated as being central to the success of our program. McKinley has worked to move herself, our team and our program forward on our diversity and inclusion efforts, to make sure that all students who are in their first year feel a sense of belonging, are celebrated for their uniqueness, and have a voice within their classes, and that all of our colleagues feel the same when working with us. She took a leadership role within our K-State First cohort that was part of the universitywide "How to Be an Antiracist" Mastermind Experience. Being welcoming and contributing to a culture of belonging is in McKinley's DNA. She takes interest in others, she asks good questions and she helps people navigate complexity with skill and grace. We know that students and staff who feel like they belong are more likely to persist. McKinley is one of our superheroes; she is very deserving of this prestigious recognition. 

Please join Human Capital Services in congratulating the 2021 award recipients. All award winners receive $1,000 for their contributions to the K-State community.

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