2016 President's Distinguished Service Awards

The celebration of this year's President's Distinguished Service Award recipients, hosted by President Jamie Cassels, took place on March 31 at the University Club. Before the recipients were named, Valerie Kuehne, UVic's vice-president academic and provost, recognized and congratulated all those who had been nominated.

"This year there were 22 nominations for Individual awards and four nominations for the Team Award for Innovation," she said. "It may sound clich&e#180; to say that it is an honour to be nominated, but in the case of this awards program, it is very true. By nominating you for one of these awards, your colleagues are saying that they think a great deal of you and your commitment to UVic. That is something of which to be truly proud."

"I'm delighted to celebrate the 2015 PDSA recipients and nominees," said President Cassels. "As always, it was very challenging to select our award recipients-all of the nominees are deserving of recognition. I congratulate, and sincerely thank each of you for your contributions and dedication to UVic."

This year, the recipient for the Excellence in Service Award is Scott Scholz (biochemistry and microbiology), while Dr. Monika Winn (Peter B. Gustavson School of Business) was presented with the Award for Excellence in Leadership. Chris Barr (chemistry) received the First Five Years-Outstanding Contribution award; and the Team Award for Innovation was presented to the Vikes CARSA Implementation Team.


Scott Scholz

Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology

Scott Scholz has recently taken on the leadership of his department's Biotechnical Support Service Centre, where he has worked for over 30 years. His team provides technical support for the department's research and teaching programs, and the role includes everything from simple computer updates to maintaining over $25 million worth of complex, advanced systems and equipment across the entire Faculty of Science and beyond.

But it is Scholz's personal dedication and commitment to his work that has earned him this award. Numerous individuals contributed to Scholz's nomination package, and all of them noted of his technical expertise, ingenuity, humour and incredible generosity of time. No matter what the hour, no matter what day it is, no matter where he might be, when help is needed, he'll be there.

Perry Howard, chair of the Biochemistry and Microbiology department had this to say: "Scott is the saviour of many experiments for our faculty, staff and students. There are countless stories circulating among faculty of situations in which Scott has been called in to take over the repair of a computer that has failed utterly at exactly the wrong time or to repair a freezer full of vital samples. This frequently means that Scott will gladly stay late into the night or return to campus evenings and weekends to deal with an emergency."

Albert Labossiere, Scholz's former supervisor, noted: "His methodical, thorough, calm and good natured approach has helped him rescue countless department members from the depths of despair during computer crashes, and he routinely spares us all from the tedium and frustration of the endless upgrades required by a wonderful technology that also enslaves us."


Dr. Monika Winn

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

Since arriving at UVic in 1995 as a business and strategy scholar and instructor, Dr. Monika Winn has established connections across campus, and around the world, in order to create and advance awareness of sustainability and social responsibility issues, within a business context.

Winn pioneered curricular innovations by developing courses in business and sustainability at the undergrad, masters and PhD levels, which are now core requirements for most business students here at UVic. She has been one of the visionaries responsible for shifting the overall culture of Gustavson to its current integration of, and focus on, sustainability and responsibility within the business environment.

Through her efforts and vision, UVic's first intra-faculty research centre-the Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation-was established in 2011, with Winn as its first and current director. Under her administrative leadership, the centre helps to integrate business, sustainability and social responsibility into every aspect of education at Gustavson, via a wide range of initiatives. The work of the centre has been, in no small part, responsible for UVic being internationally recognized for its achievements advancing sustainability in higher education.

Gustavson Dean Saul Klein summed it up: "Monika has put us on the map through the strength of her research record. Her efforts and passion, both within the School and in the broader academic community are much appreciated. As the Sustainability Champion and Director of CSSI, she is helping us build a strong strategic position as a school. It is remarkable how much we have achieved in this area and I look forward to working with her as we continue to define the pioneering role we envision in creating sustainable value."


Chris Barr

Department of Chemistry

Chris Barr is the Senior Scientific Assistant for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in the Department of Chemistry. He came to UVic in 2011, after 14 years in government and industry, managing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facilities. NMR is the single most important tool for probing the structures of new chemicals, and a large portion of research and teaching in chemistry depends on the reliability and perfect functioning of the equipment.

Shortly after his arrival at UVic, Barr was tasked with designing a brand new facility for three of the four NMR instruments on campus. He designed the project from scratch and then guided the entire construction process through to completion. The new NMR facility opened in May 2013, and has been functioning flawlessly ever since.

In addition, Barr is an excellent manager who is capable of balancing his time between conflicting demands. He is a rare example of someone who has the organizational skills to maintain a perfectly operational facility; the technical skills to design highly effective experiments, and the communication skills to support students, faculty and researchers from many backgrounds and cultures.


Vikes CARSA Implementation Team

Vikes CARSA Implementation Team consists of Michelle Peterson, James Keogh, Don Chow, and Rob Mackay who are all members of UVic's Athletics and Recreation department.

Last May, the largest infrastructure project in UVic's history opened its doors. The Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities-CARSA-is a world-class facility that benefits thousands of community members both on and off campus.

The opening of CARSA was the culmination of seven years of planning and challenges, and throughout that time, the members of this team worked with an extraordinary level of positive energy and commitment, to keep all aspects of the project coordinated and on track. Traditionally, with a project of this size, most of the key contributors work in isolation: designers and builders don't generally collaborate with operations or marketing or fundraising or the community.

But in CARSA's case, the implementation team had their fingers on the pulse every step of the way. From design to construction, to transition and move in, operational start-up, equipment, opening activities, sales and marketing, donor recognition and customer service planning-the CARSA team made sure it all happened smoothly and seamlessly-an amazing feat of coordination and collaboration.

And the results of the team's efforts are on display for all to see. UVic has a stunning facility to further its institutional reputation for excellence. Feedback on CARSA remains highly positive, and membership and program registrations are exceeding projections. This is a credit to the work undertaken and completed, in remarkable fashion, by the members of this team.


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Keywords: president, award, community, staff

People: Jamie Cassels

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