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Gem of the Day 5/18: SHSU Announces 2012 Staff Excellence Awards

Four Sam Houston State University employees who have demonstrated excellence in service, commitment, meritorious performance and a high level of motivation have been selected as recipients of the 2012 Staff Excellence Award.

They are Lisa Garrett of the theatre and dance department; Debbie Henriksen of the agriculture and industrial sciences department; Karyl Horn of the payroll and tax specialization department; and Lori Rose of the biological sciences department.

Lisa Garrett

Lisa Garrett is the administrative secretary for the theatre and dance department in the College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication. She has been an SHSU employee for more than 21 years.

Among the comments supporting her nomination for the honor were:

“Our students would be lost without Lisa. She takes time to help them arrange schedules and always has a free minute to ask them about their day, no matter how busy she may be.”

“She is the captain of our theatre ship! She keeps us afloat with her positive energy, professionalism and hard work. I am so thankful to have her as a co-worker!”

“From day one, Lisa had a solid understanding of the needs of a very high maintenance theatre department (they don’t call it drama for nothing) and having the managerial skills to keep a full blown production company running smoothly requires many skills.”

“Secretary, accountant, business manager, office manager, production manager, student staff supervisor, psychologist, negotiator, party planner…How is it possible for one person to serve so many? We all are subject to the same number of hours in a day, yet Lisa somehow keeps an overactive theatrical production company humming along.”

“The theatre and musical theatre programs produce minimally 16 productions a year — four each long semester and eight in the summer. This does not include the many special projects that arise along the way. Lisa’s responsibilities include handling all the paperwork required to purchase materials (sets, lights, costumes, house and box office) for all productions. Much of her time is spent monitoring spending. She also works constantly with vendors, works with our house and box office manager in making deposits and is always available to give a tour to prospective students and their parents if need be.”

Debbie Henriksen

Debbie Henriksen is a secretary in the agriculture and industrial sciences department. She has been at SHSU for more than five years.

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Her outstanding organization and ability to quickly learn the complex processes that are required to manage our various fund sources and uses are qualities that few can master the way she does. Our department has the Gibbs Ranch, meats lab, horticulture lab, soils lab, electronics lab, dedicated computer lab, and many other specialized areas that generate mountains of paperwork and transactions. She handles them all in a professional manner that is unparalleled.”

“She manages many, many accounts for a very large department. She is always here early and stays late. She attends off-campus departmental functions as a true team member. She readily assists with departmental service activities and performs other duties that are outside her regular job description. And she always does so with a positive attitude. You can tell she enjoys her job, enjoys doing it well, and enjoys helping others succeed.”

“A large portion of Mrs. Henriksen’s job is to manage the financial aspect of our department. That is a huge role as we have over 1,100 students, 45-plus faculty/instructors/staff, the rodeo team, livestock judging team, SHSU show team, and a dozen student organizations.”

“Her work is exemplary of the highest ethics and professionalism. A most amazing quality that Debbie possesses is that she always finds time to assist students with their needs. She is a very caring colleague and willingly commits personal time to the mission of our department and university.”

Karyl Horn

Karyl Horn serves as the director of payroll and tax specialization in the office of the controller. She has been at SHSU for more than 27 years.

Comments supporting her nomination included:

“Karyl’s ideas for innovation push the capabilities of our systems to their limits. As part of implementing the Banner program, she oversaw the setup of the electronic payroll approval process. Her success in this area led a team from Rice University to visit SHSU to see how we have set up our systems. Another of her innovative ideas is to take all tax filings for the university electronic. This move will potentially save the university over $15,000 a year in postage, paper, envelopes, and printing.”

“She is always willing to help any student with any situation they need. If she is not the person to help them, she doesn’t just send them on their way. She tracks down who the specific individual is that they need to see to get their problem handled. They are always so thankful that she has taken the time to make sure their concerns are handled.”

“She is one of the most dedicated professionals I have ever met. She is always willing to step in and help anyone in our office or outside our office, just to be sure that the customer is satisfied with the resolution. She always goes above and beyond to help any student, faulty or staff member on this campus.”

“She is a hard worker and makes everyone feel important, no matter how large or small their needs are. She is highly respected because of her disposition and her work ethic.”

Lori Rose

Lori Rose is the lab coordinator for the biological sciences department and been employed by SHSU for more than 21 years.

“With both grace and professionalism, she coordinates four biology labs each year which, collectively, serve the needs of approximately 3,000 students who are enrolled in 60 sections of labs. Mrs. Rose personally prepares the materials for all of these labs and conducts lab preparation sessions with the lab teaching assistants each week. Because there are four lab courses, this requires four separate prep sessions. Given this tremendous workload and responsibility, I was literally astounded when she volunteered, without compensation, to take responsibility for the 10 additional lab sections associated with the new Foundations of Science course. She also taught some of the lab sections for an entire semester. Lab coordinators do not normally teach labs—but she did because of her commitment to education.”

“Lori’s development of new lab materials, prepping of the lab teaching assistants, and development of quizzes and PowerPoint slide shows for the labs have greatly benefitted our students. We have measured the gains in our students’ understanding of critical thinking and science literacy, and the results show that the Foundations of Science course for non-science majors, which Lori has played a key role in developing, results in greater gains than other general education science courses in the university and in other schools around the country which use these measures. In fact, students in the FoS course show more improvement in critical thinking after this one course than students typically gain after four years of college education.”

“She genuinely cares about students and she is passionate that they learn to think critically. She hopes to infect each with the same love of science that she knows lays the foundation for such critical thinking. Because of the passion, Lori provides caring counsel to students in trouble. Whenever there is a problem with a student in a lab, regarding academic integrity or a family emergency, Lori steps in, meets with the student, and 99 percent of the time resolves the issue to the satisfaction of all parties.”


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