An awards ceremony — Honoring Excellence: Performance Beyond the Ordinary — to honor University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff faculty and staff who best exemplify the school’s commitment to teaching, research and customer service was held Monday, realizing a dream for Interim Chancellor Calvin Johnson.
“I wanted to make a special effort to recognize those individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty,” Johnson said prior to the Chancellor’s Awards Recognition Program. “I want them to know that their tireless service to our students didn’t go unnoticed.”
Jessie Walker, coordinator of the computer science unit, won the Faculty/Staff Excellence Award in Research.
“He works tirelessly to write grants that will reward students for their classroom participation,” Johnson said of Walker. “He always makes sure the students have the best equipment for research and classroom study. Because of his commitment to research and a desire for his students to excel, he has accompanied students to Italy and Japan to present the results of their research.
“He has significantly enhanced the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff,” Johnson said. “He has been an outstanding leader on the campus, particularly in the domain of campus cyber infrastructure. He is resourceful and diligent, and the university is proud to announce our first ever supercomputer on campus due to a grant he received.”
Richard Redus — distance learning, audio/video technician and campus photographer — won the Outstanding Staff Award.
“The awardee has been employed at the university for 24 years,” Johnson said of Redus. “He has dedicated himself with love and devotion to the university. He was one of the first in the state to be trained as a distance learning technician while collaborating with the Arkansas Educational Television Network and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
“He has always been willing to give more, come early, stay late and do whatever is needed to advance this university independent of his job requirements,” Johnson said. “He knows that it takes more than coming to work eight hours a day and doing only the minimal requirements. He performs his responsibilities with a smile, has the ability to remain calm in difficult situations and is committed to the university and its mission.”
Cynthia Anderson won the Outstanding Customer Service Award.
“The awardee has been an employee with the university for 18 years and has an open-door policy regarding the services offered by the university,” Johnson said of Anderson. “She is never too busy to help you with any problems or situation that may arise. She goes out of her way to ensure that everything is well thought through with a positive attitude.
“She always displays a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition,” Johnson said. “She has excellent administrative abilities and excels in her knowledge of policies regarding the university. She is a team player with good judgment and a mature outlook that ensures success in her endeavors.”
Alf Haukenes, assistant professor in applied fish reproductive physiology with the Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries, won the Faculty/Staff Excellence in Teaching Award.
“The primary reasons for his nomination are because he has brought a high level of creativity and innovation to our teaching program as well as enabling UAPB students to engage with top professionals throughout the world by taking advantage of the availability of technology in the classroom,” Johnson said of Haukenes. “He has also successfully enhanced critical thinking skills in students and has committed to a productive undergraduate student research program that has brought numerous awards to students and prestige to UAPB.
“He is a positive influence on our graduate and undergraduate students because of his broad background,” Johnson said. “Our students clearly benefit from the thought-provoking questions and guidance he brings to the table. He is a firm proponent of the scientific method and he is good at making students think carefully about their hypotheses.”
The guest speaker was John Kuykendall, assistant professor in the department of educational leadership at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a UAPB graduate.
“The No. 1 reason students stay in school is the interaction with faculty members,” Kuykendall said. “Students need to be assured that they’re getting the best opportunities available to become successful and reach their goals. This university has some of the most dedicated faculty and staff that I’ve ever seen.”