Western University defines excellence in many ways, but with one award – the Western Award of Excellence. This year’s seven top staff members will be honoured at a special ceremony on Feb. 16.
The internal award is designed to recognize the tremendous work staff performs in support of providing an outstanding Western Experience.
More than 50 nominations were received for this year’s awards. The 2012 recipients join 49 of their colleagues who have been previously recognized for this honour.
“This Western Award of Excellence is the highest honour we bestow upon our staff colleagues whose knowledge, skills and commitment represent the best of our campus community,” Western President Amit Chakma said. “I’m very pleased to congratulate the seven individuals who have been recognized by their peers and colleagues for the outstanding work they do. To be honoured by those who work most closely with us speaks volumes of the impact we make to the life of the academy.”
Winners are chosen for their exemplary service, creativity and innovation, the ability to share their knowledge and expertise and their capacity to foster their values of integrity and respect across campus.
This year’s winners of the university’s highest form of campus-wide recognition are Diane Belleville (Department of Anthropology); Marta Bladek (Housing and Ancillary Services); Peter Frank (Department of Physics and Astronomy); Cindy Morrison (Faculty of Information and Media Studies); Eugen Porter (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering); Marie Schell (Department of Earth Sciences); and Marcia Steyaert (Communications and Public Affairs).
Register for the awards ceremony at the event website.
Graduate program coordinator, Department of Anthropology
Diane Belleville truly excels at fulfilling her mandate to provide the best graduate experience for Anthropology MA and PhD students at Western University. She has always embraced any opportunity for the further development of her own skills. In a way, this is simply doing her job, which she certainly does to the best of her abilities. Seen as the department’s ‘unsung hero’ and ‘our dear and grand Diane,’ many students have noted the importance of Belleville’s guidance through the application and admission process, which is, of course, where the student experience begins. Her diligence and communication skills are remarkable, and the always-pleasant, professional and to-the-point attitude is what endears Belleville to all who know her.
Residence clerk, Housing and Ancillary Services
Marta Bladek has worked on the front lines at Western University for more than 26 years. In her role as residence clerk, she has been that friendly face who has made a difference in the lives of many first-year students. Bladek is committed to her role and, most importantly, always puts the care of students first. Her simple-but-kind gestures – from consistently bring in baked goods and home cooked food to putting up holiday decorations – have always made a significant impact in helping residences feel more like a home. Going above and beyond the call of duty is considered the standard operation for Bladek. She is truly a remarkable person who has touched the lives of thousands of past and current Western students.
Head technician, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Anyone who walks into a lab class in the Department of Physics and Astronomy to see neatly arranged lab tables full of equipment can thank Peter Frank. And it is no small task considering he can arrange 10,500 lab stations within one academic year. Frank is a true leader. Not a leader who would present an elaborate speech in front of a big audience, but one who would walk side-by-side and guide you. He is an extremely valuable employee at Western who has helped to build the university’s core values by setting examples for students and co-workers. He has demonstrated a great commitment to service and, more importantly, a greater commitment to ensure Western students get the education they deserve.
Team leader (Graduate Student Services), Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Cindy Morrison has long been a treasure at Western during her 25 years. Speak her name and over and over again certain themes are repeated – ‘going above and beyond the call of duty’; ‘going the extra mile’; ‘unfailing good humour’; ‘heart and soul’; ‘a treasure’; ‘a gem’; ‘a shining star’; ‘the go-to person.’ She is not only thoroughly admired and appreciated by administrators, who recognize her crucial role, but by many current and former students, who all have a ‘Cindy story.’ Morrison doesn’t expect extra recognition for all she does – and is often surprised when her crucial role is acknowledged. It’s just what she feels needs to be done to do the best job she can.
Technician, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Eugen Porter acts as a knowledgeable mentor to Western Engineering students, leading them toward what they need to accomplish their goals. Sharing his wealth of experience in the building and operation of robots, Porter is perpetually in a good mood, always willing to answer students’ questions with a smile. Through promoting teamwork, student successes are plentiful and meaningful friendships are formed. A good leader needs to earn the respect of his followers. Porter definitely leads by example, working with unrivaled focus and a light-hearted spirit. He not only demonstrates an impressive knowledge base in the field of robotics and programming, but also a kind-hearted, welcoming personality. He values hard work and takes humble satisfaction in all his projects.
Administrative Officer, Department of Earth Sciences
To say Marie Schell goes above and beyond her normal role expectations in Earth Sciences is an understatement. As administrative officer, she has had a major impact on students, staff and faculty for the past 15 years, and it is her interaction with people that sets her apart. To many, Schell is the heart and soul of the department. Through her leadership, commitment and dedication to Western, she maintains not only her own integrity, but also that of the rest of campus. Considered the ‘backbone of the department,’ Schell’s work ethic is simply outstanding, with consistency, reliability, creativity, diligence, determination, dedication and compassion – all part of how she carries herself.
Editor, Western Alumni Gazette, Communications and Public Affairs
The most difficult thing in speaking of Marcia Steyaert comes in fully describing the multitude of roles, responsibilities and influence she has held at Western. Her contributions to the External portfolio, the university campus and the broader community have been, and continue to be, inspirational. Through her diverse involvement over the years she has helped support the positive Western experience. Steyaert is a true inspiration to work with and is skilled at building great teams. Her skills and personality combine to make her a role model for her colleagues in the department. Her work ethic, efficiency and focus on enhancing and protecting Western’s reputation means she is continually tapped on the shoulder as a ‘go-to person’ no matter what the issue.