This year’s College of Arts & Letters staff appreciation event, which is held each year to recognize the dedication, outstanding service, and exceptional work of the College’s staff members, was held virtually via Microsoft Teams on June 5.
The highlight of this online event was the presentation of the group and individual awards. Those awards and the 2020 winners include:
- Jo-Ann Vanden Bergh Award – Leann Dalimonte, Administrative Business Professional and Assistant to the Associate Deans
- Outstanding Leadership Award – Ken Desloover, College of Arts & Letters Chief of Staff
- Exceptional Service Award – Jennifer Tetreau, Human Resources Administrator/Language Pod Office Supervisor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages and the Department of Romance and Classical Studies
- Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Award – Brian DeVries, Assistant to the Chairperson and Graduate Secretary in the Department of Theatre
- Rising Star Award – Marina Valli, Graduate and Undergraduate Secretary in the Department of English
- Golden Staff Award – the College’s Technology Support Team, which is led by Scott Schopieray, Assistant Dean for Academic and Research Technology
Six staff members also were recognized for their years of service.
45 years of service:
- Angela Hunt, Fiscal Officer in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
35 years of service:
- Rhonda Hibbitt, Secretary in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
- Dawn Lehman, Unit Human Resources Coordinator in the Dean’s Office
25 years of service:
- Michele Burton, Budget and Personel Administrator in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages and the Department of Romance and Classical Studies
- Ken Desloover, College of Arts & Letters Chief of Staff
- Walter Peebles, Woodshop Technician in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design
Jo-Ann Vanden Bergh Award
Leann Dalimonte, Administrative Business Professional and Assistant to the Associate Deans, is the recipient of this year’s Jo-Ann Vanden Bergh Award, which is the gold standard of staff awards within the College. Dalimonte also was the 2016 Rising Star Award recipient.
“Leann is known across the College for her extremely high-quality work, good sense of humor, ability to learn very quickly, think flexibly and innovatively, particularly in the area of technical data and information collection and reporting, and her incredible patience,” said Sonja Fritszche, Associate Dean of Academic Personnel and Administration, in her nomination letter. “Leann has also been instrumental on the CAL Connect (Intranet) Team, which is responsible for the creation of an internal College staff reference site. This project is on the cutting-edge of technology in Sharepoint and communication at the university and is now being used as a model in other colleges.”
The Jo-Ann Vanden Bergh Award is named in honor of Jo-Ann Vanden Bergh, who served the College of Arts & Letters for more than 25 years in various staff positions. Established in 2011, the award’s first recipient was its namesake, Jo-Ann Vanden Bergh. Criteria for the award includes being A creative staff leader who is dedicated to problem solving and fostering high-quality work; who treats others with dignity, respect, and integrity; who promotes teamwork that enhances effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace; and who shows impeccable evidence of superior work performance.
As the recipient of this year’s award, Dalimonte will receive a plaque and $1,000.
Outstanding Leadership Award
Ken Desloover, College of Arts & Letters Chief of Staff, received the 2020 Outstanding Leadership Award, which recognizes a member of the support staff who embodies exceptional leadership by building community, nurturing a culture of care and support, exhibiting strong stewardship of institutional resources, and developing a shared vision of institutional excellence.
“Ken’s forward thinking, creativity, and ingenuity would certainly be invaluable to any program, and the College of Arts & Letters struck gold when they snagged him to oversee their budget needs,” said Melissa Staub, College of Arts & Letters Dean’s Office Project Manager, in her nomination letter. “Ken sets a tone in the workplace that allows employees to feel confident and mentally and emotionally safe.”
The Outstanding Leadership Award, established in 2018, honors staff members who build and maintain a sense of community with colleagues, seek to continuously improve operations within the College as well as student and faculty experiences, understand and manage work assignments from a holistic point-of-view, and help others recognize how their contributions are part of a larger whole.
As the recipient of this award, Desloover will receive a plaque and $750.
Exceptional Service Award
Jennifer Tetreau, Human Resources Administrator/Language Pod Office Supervisor in the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages and the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, received this year’s Exceptional Service Award, which recognizes support staff members who have worked for the College at least three years and have consistently demonstrated outstanding performance and a commitment to delivering exceptional service. Tetreau also was the 2018 Rising Star recipient.
“Jen’s dedication to work with an excellent skillset, together with her thoughtfulness, creativity, and compassion, makes her a real precious gem in the world of professional staff,” said Yen-Hwei Lin, Chair of the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages, in her nomination letter. “At the same time, she rarely makes mistakes and remains very caring and creative. Such a combination of efficiency and quality is truly impressive.”
The Exceptional Service Award, established in 2016, honors staff members who anticipate the needs of the College and are proactive and forward-thinking in addressing those needs. They also promote productive relationships across the College and University while demonstrating diplomacy and responsiveness.
As the recipient of this award, Tetreau will receive a plaque and $750.
Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Award
Brian DeVries, Assistant to the Chairperson and Graduate Secretary in the Department of Theatre, received this year’s Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Award, which recognizes a member of the support staff who demonstrates adept skills in engaging across differences among the communities in which they work.
“Brian continues to set an example for our student artists and entrepreneurs who wish to use their skills in artmaking to enact change in their communities,” said Department of Theatre Chair Kirk Domer, who nominated DeVries. “He has contributed to a faculty research project on classroom inclusiveness, gathered resources on mental health services for student artists, and is currently working with department leadership and our student organizations to secure a ‘quiet study’ space for students.”
The Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Award honors efforts to actively work to make Michigan State University a more accessible and welcoming place by understanding the complex, intersectional nature of identity, and employing such knowledge to improve the student, faculty, academic staff, and support staff experience.
As the recipient of this award, DeVries will receive a plaque and $750.
Rising Star Award
Marina Valli, Graduate and Undergraduate Secretary in the Department of English, was awarded the Rising Star Award, which recognizes support staff members who have worked in their position within the College for one to three years and have shown promise early in their CAL careers with a potential for growth and advancement.
“Marina has been, and continues to be, utterly professional in every aspect of her work: prompt and courteous in correspondence, attentive to student needs, aware of how to prioritize and delegate tasks,” said Justus Nieland, Chair of the Department of English, in his nomination letter. “Her competence, affability, patience, and sense of humor have immediately earned her the respect and admiration in our Department.”
The Rising Star Award, established in 2016, honors staff members who have exhibited exemplary dedication to the mission of the College and Michigan State University while consistently demonstrating outstanding performance in fulfillment of their job responsibilities.
As the recipient of this award, Valli will receive a plaque and $500.
Golden Staff Award
This year, the Golden Staff Award was presented to the College of Arts & Letters’ Technology Support Team, which includes the Educational Technology Office and IT Services staff. This team quickly moved the College to remote working and teaching and have been recognized by MSU IT and the university as a model of success.
The team is led by Scott Schopieray, Assistant Dean for Academic and Research Technology, and also includes Kate Sonka, Assistant Director of Academic Technology; Dan Trego, Technology Specialist; Tom Hakes, Academic Technology Coordinator; Tony Rogers, Information Technology Professional; and Brian Adams, Lead Developer.
The College of Arts & Letters Golden Staff Award, established in 2015, recognizes a department, program, or group in the College that demonstrates exemplary service, hanging in there when the going gets tough, or for just being a good model for the rest of the university.