Awards celebrate contributions of UVic employees

Engineering, Education, Humanities, Libraries

- Lisa Abram, Suzanne Ahearne, Sarah Grindlay, Stephanie Harrington

Library Digitization Team

The President's Extraordinary Service Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of our people. Six teams, eight individuals and five employee groups—a total of 68 people—were nominated for the 2018/2019 awards.

“I offer my sincere congratulations to each of the nominees and recipients for their extraordinary service to our university,” says President Jamie Cassels. “Each year it’s a genuine pleasure for me to celebrate the talent and commitment of our staff and faculty, who provide the foundation for our extraordinary environment.”
—UVic President Jamie Cassels

Congratulations to all of the nominees, and to the three individuals and two team recipients who were celebrated at the awards ceremony on April 30.

Erin Kelly: Collaborator Award

For the past three years, Erin Kelly has been working to transform UVic’s approach to academic writing.

An associate professor of English and advisor for the Academic Writing Requirement, Kelly has administered UVic’s only universal requirement, giving students the critical thinking, communication and research skills they need to succeed.

Managing the AWR, as it is known, is a massive undertaking: the program serves nearly 4,500 first-year students each year.

In addition to doing this job expertly, Kelly dedicated extraordinary effort to secure an external review of the program; skillfully navigated challenging waters to build consensus across diverse stakeholders within the university; and achieved significant changes. Starting in July, Kelly will take on the role of interim director as the AWR transitions into an official humanities program. 

“By forging alliances across campus and aligning with best practices in writing pedagogy, Erin has ensured that her vision for the AWR can become a reality,” says Faculty of Humanities Associate Dean Academic Lisa Surridge. “Erin’s ultimate legacy will be will be a cutting-edge AWR program that positively impacts the experience of every first-year student at UVic.”

Library Digitization Centre team: Innovator Award

Over the course of a decade, Katharine Mercer, Page DeWolfe and Leanne Gibb of the UVic Libraries Digitization Centre have transformed themselves into provincial leaders in the digitization of rare and delicate material. 

Their passion and commitment to developing the art of digitization has led them to play a key role in a growing list of UVic Libraries digitization projects—including maps, scrapbooks, blueprints, large legal volumes, delicate medieval manuscripts and even a 21-foot scroll from the 15th century—that require quick thinking, problem-solving skills and attention to detail.

“They’ve had many tricky assignments—including leather masks, tassels and shiny things—that required applied ingenuity. I’ve seen the team hanging objects from the ceiling, propping them up with beanbags, and trying everything within their power to get a good scan,” says Associate University Librarian Lisa Goddard.

While the focus of their day-to-day work primarily involves library digitization projects, this dedicated team does not hesitate to juggle faculty requests, donor requests, funding deadlines and preservation requests. 

“They are engaged in innovative work involving new technologies that will preserve important historical documents beyond the physical life of the paper on which they are printed, and they do so with professionalism and enthusiasm,” adds professor emeritus Richard King.

Susan Walton: Navigator Award 

For 25 years, Susan Walton has been more than the administrative centre of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria (IESVic)—she’s been its heart.

IESVic researchers and staff working together to develop sustainable energy systems agree that Walton’s extraordinary capabilities—conference planning skills, “big-picture” understanding of the institute’s research mission, and her deep caring—create a culture of support and respect that exemplifies the values of UVic.

She has a special place for the many students who’ve been a part of IESVic over the years. Always alert and sensitive to the challenges visiting students sometimes have when settling in, she’s also served as an emotional and compassionate support for students away from home.

“What stands out and permeates almost every facet of her work and presence is how much she cares for the well-being of all its members and of the success and reputation of IESVic and the university,” says engineer Ned Djilali.

Christine Webster: Connector Award

When the new Department of Indigenous Education (IED) was created in 2017, Christine Webster oversaw all aspects required to get a new administrative unit in place. This required precise understanding of university planning processes, collaboration with other units and with all staff and faculty within the unit.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that our department could not run without her,” says department chair Jean-Paul Restoule.

Webster contributes her knowledge and expertise to mentor new staff members of the Indigenous Education team, supports students in their experiences navigating the university’s processes and procedures, helps establish community partnerships and contributes to increasing the Indigenous acumen for those who are guests on these lands. Colleagues say she carries herself in a gentle way and, as an Indigenous woman grounded in her culture, makes everyone around her feel welcome.

As an incoming doctoral student, she’s in a unique position to develop and advance the skills and attitudes needed to support other students in their educational journey.

Facilities Management Interior Modification Services (“Salvagers”) Team: Cultivator Award

The Facilities Management Interior Modification Services team—Kim Fawthorpe, Dawn Lang, Jodi Miranda, Breanna Ransford, Mariah Taschuk and Sarah Teves—has become known as “The Salvagers” for their pioneering approach to evaluating and repurposing surplus furniture. Through the surplus furniture program, the team not only diverts waste from the landfill but adds value to the UVic student experience, to our extraordinary campus environment and the Greater Victoria community. 

For the past 12 years, the Salvagers Team has gone beyond the call of duty, creating cost-effective options for departments, forming partnerships with local charity organizations to donate furniture that doesn’t meet UVic’s standards for reuse, and championing sustainable recycling for furniture that can’t be reused. All proceeds from furniture sold go toward funding the revitalization of UVic public spaces that would not otherwise be updated.

“It was a pleasant surprise to see the David Strong Lobby transformed from a tired old study and gathering area with old torn vinyl cushions sitting on dirty concrete bases, to a clean modern and functional space that supports student engagement and learning,” says Kevan Gorham, director of business operations for the Gustavson School of Business.

The Salvagers are making quality, meaningful improvements one campus space at a time.



In this story

Keywords: administrative, staff

People: Jamie Cassels

Publication: The Ring

Related stories