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The Northwest Leadership Team recognized employees in three categories with its inaugural Northwest Excellence Awards. Left to right are Dr. Cindy Tu, Dr. Charitha Hettiarachchi, Dr. Jerry Qin, Dr. Michael Oudshoorn, Dr. Joni Adkins, Dr. Scott Bell, Lt. Amanda Cullin, Teresa Immel, Dr. Richard Toomey, Gabrielle Ray and Edward Gibson IV. Not pictured is Dr. Bayo Joachim.

The Northwest Leadership Team recognized employees in three categories with its inaugural Northwest Excellence Awards. Left to right are Dr. Cindy Tu, Dr. Charitha Hettiarachchi, Dr. Jerry Qin, Dr. Michael Oudshoorn, Dr. Joni Adkins, Dr. Scott Bell, Lt. Amanda Cullin, Teresa Immel, Dr. Richard Toomey, Gabrielle Ray and Edward Gibson IV. Not pictured is Dr. Bayo Joachim.

Jan. 4, 2018

Northwest recognizes employees for excellence, commitment

Northwest Missouri State University recognized high-performing faculty and staff during employee meetings Wednesday as the institution prepared to begin its spring trimester.

During the University’s morning All-Employee Meeting, the Northwest Leadership Team (NLT) recognized four individuals and two teams with its inaugural Northwest Excellence Awards. Later, during an afternoon meeting for Northwest staff members, the University’s Staff Council recognized four staff members with its first Staff Commitment to Excellence Awards.


Northwest Excellence Awards

Last fall, the NLT asked University leaders to nominate faculty and staff who have shown excellence in three categories: Student Success and Recruiting Bearcats, Civility, and Agility and Innovation.

“The NLT chose these categories because they are competencies and behaviors needed to ensure the University is successful in achieving its mission, strategies and priorities,” Vice President of Strategy and Operations Nola Bond said, adding NLT members selected one faculty and one staff member or team to receive the award in each category.


Student Success and Recruiting Bearcats

In the category of student success and recruitment, which recognizes employees who have shown commitment to student success, retention and recruitment of students, the team of Diversity and Inclusion Coordinators Edward Gibson IV and Gabrielle Ray received the staff award and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Richard Toomey received the faculty award.

A nomination for Gibson and Ray commended them on their interactions with Northwest students as well as their participation in high school visits and college fairs. “I see these two meeting with anywhere from 10-12 students per day and have discussions on everything from academic success to being a respected Bearcat socially and personally as well,” a nominator wrote.

The nomination for Toomey recognized him as an outstanding instructor who is dedicated to student success and facilitates it through his work on various University committees. “The amount of hours he puts in during the week working with students is amazing as is the numbers of hours he works weekends and holidays to constantly update his classes using the latest technology such as the Top Hat student engagement software,” the nominator wrote. “Rick Toomey’s students love him because he is both an amazing teaching, and they know he is dedicated to their success.”

Other nominees were Lisa Crater, office manager for the Department of Natural Sciences; Elizabeth Dimmitt, senior instructor of psychology; Kayla Etherton, adviser and coach in Academic Retention Services; Shannon Heitman, student payroll manager; Rachael Mayfield, counselor in Wellness Services; Brian Swink, instructor of mathematics and statistics; the Wellness Services clinic staff; and Jolaine Zweifel, computer specialist in the Learning and Teaching Center.



The award in the category of civility recognizes staff and faculty who exemplify inclusivity and care for others. Recipients are selected on their ability to share needs and beliefs without degrading others and seek to understand different perspectives and cultures. Nominees model high standards of honesty and integrity and show consistency between words and actions.

The faculty recipient, Professor of Communication Dr. Bayo Joachim, was nominated for his commitment to civility and multicultural engagement. He regularly works with Professor of Chemistry Dr. Michael Bellamy on humanitarian aid and development projects in Haiti that support a high school and teach students how to earn a living providing clean drinking water for communities. Joachim also volunteers to support the water treatment lanes at Northwest’s Missouri Hope disaster response field training exercise. “I was struck by how kind he was and how he reached out across skin color, religion, cultural, and socio-economic background to connect with everyone he met,” his nominator wrote. “Recently I attended the International Student Association Potluck Dinner where Bayo was the guest speaker. He captivated everyone as he spoke about how food is representative of culture, but how food in every culture is a device to bring people together. Besides these experiences, I can say that Bayo is just one of the nicest people on campus. People love to work with him and to be around him.”

University Police Lt. Amanda Cullin received the staff award. In addition to her work with Helping Everyone Regardless of Orientation (HERO), the Maryville Host Lions Club and Maryville Partners in Prevention, Cullin creates spaces for understanding, relationship building and conversations. Her nomination noted her work to create pathways for inclusivity and critical thinking while holding herself and others to said standards, adding she has infused training and development across all units within the University Police Department as well as the student and civic organizations that she belongs. “Lt. Cullin understands critical thinking and oftentimes examines others’ viewpoints in order to improve her decisions. She understands the importance of relationships as the sinew that holds people and organizations together when things are difficult. Lt. Cullin knows that relationships are important in order to have difficult conversations. She works tirelessly to ensure that as police we are welcoming and displaying a sense of care as we do our work. She has accomplished a welcoming and caring unit through invitation, not through policies or enforcement.”

Other nominees were Troy Brady, an electrician in the maintenance division; Dr. Brian Haile, associate professor of mathematics and statistics; Dr. Shelly Hiatt, associate professor of counseling; and Chris Jacobson, instructor of psychology.


Agility and Innovation

The award in the category of agility and innovation recognizes an individual or individuals who used creativity to develop or improve processes, methods, systems, products or services and encouraged others to do the same. They encouraged reasonable and calculated risk-taking and, as a result, improved the University and made Northwest a better place to live and work.

Teresa Immel, an executive secretary in the Graduate Office, received the staff award in recognition for her role in managing the office’s changing processes. Immel’s nomination acknowledged her efforts to streamline work processes, identify practices to discontinue, and assign student employees to additional duties as well as her assistance in identifying policy changes. Her nominator wrote, “Terri has also served on the Staff Council this year and has helped on many tasks including the stakeholder focus work this summer. Her specific contribution was the Doggie Day for University employees to bring their dogs to work for a day last July. This was very popular and very well received. Next year we will benefit from the many new initiatives that we have deployed this year.”

The faculty award was presented to a team responsible for developing the University’s new cybersecurity program, consisting of faculty in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Dr. Joni Adkins, Dr. Scott Bell, Dr. Charitha Hettiarachchi, Dr. Michael Oudshoorn, Dr. Jerry Qin and Dr. Cindy Tu. The team worked efficiently last summer to develop the program so it could be approved by the University’s Faculty Senate and Board of Regents and submitted to the Missouri Department of Higher Education before a Nov. 1 deadline; the program has been approved and will launch in fall 2018. Their nominator wrote, “This faculty team spent a great deal of time researching these new curriculum guidelines and then adapting them to a program that best fits our student as well as national and regional industry standards and needs.”

Other nominees were Girija Chavala, enterprise solutions architect in the Office of Information Technology; Deanne Cordell, Data Management Coordinator in the Office of Financial Assistance; Ashley Greeley, bursar; Tammi Grow, associate director of admissions; Dr. Michael Hobbs, professor of English and chair of the Department of Language, Literature and Writing; Kristina Martinez, University Police officer; the Math Pathways Development Team; Dr. Jenny Rytting, associate professor of English; and Chris Thomas, director of information technology.


Northwest's Staff Council presented its Staff Commitment to Excellence Award to four employees. Left to right are Tina Frueh, Pele Trump, Garland George and Todd Weddle.
Northwest's Staff Council presented its Staff Commitment to Excellence Award to four employees. Left to right are Tina Frueh, Pele Trump, Garland George and Todd Weddle.

Staff Commitment to Excellence Awards

Northwest’s Staff Council, which facilitates communication and engagement between University staff, president, Board of Regents, NLT and the Office of Human Resources, recognized staff members with its Staff Commitment to Excellence Awards.

“One of our goals on the Staff Council is to recognize hard-working individuals on campus and really uplift each other,” Staff Council Chair Ashley Henggeler, who works as the international affairs coordinator at Northwest.

The names of the award recipients and excerpted remarks from their nominations are provided below.

Tina Frueh, office manager for custodial services: “Tina's dedication to this University is like no other, she is always there to offer support to other departments-wherever and whenever it is needed. Tina is an asset to the custodial department, facilities and the University.”

Garland George, cataloger at the B.D. Owens Library: “Garland does so much behind the scenes. She doesn’t require accolades or recognition to take pride in the job she does here, and she does it with daily excellence. She is a role model of service and dedication.”

Pele Trump, secretary for the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing: “Her robust laugh, sincerity, her giving nature and genuineness are attributes that everyone thinks of when they think of Pele. She is engaging, knowledgeable and professional. In times of crisis, she has the experience and wisdom to stay calm and is the first to offer assistance. Her passion and love for Northwest is refreshing and inspiring.”

Todd Weddle, senior multimedia specialist: “Todd always gives each project 110 percent. His commitment to uniquely covering University events to displaying profession-based learning is always top notch and cutting edge in photography and videography. He works quickly and is respectful to all who come into the studio for a shoot or on location to catch special moments across campus.”

Other staff members nominated for the award were Leslie Abarr-Chandler, associate director of academic success and retention; Shelby Bottiger, a transfer specialist in the Office of Admissions; Katrina Burden, dispatcher for University Police; Melissa Chesnut, a secretary in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Kim Hullinger, an education compliance specialist in the Professional Education Unit; Bryan Freemyer, groundskeeper; Will Murphy, a TV and video engineer in the School of Communication and Mass Media; Andy Peterson, assistant athletics director; Robert Redig, stationary engineer in the maintenance department; Sydney Smith, University Police officer; and Kim Ziegler, brand manager in the Office of Communication and Marketing.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215