Monday, December 13, 2021

Denise Rothenbach named the UIS Employee of the Month for December 2021

Denise Rothenbach has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for December 2021. She is the executive assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The student who nominated her said, “Denise goes above and beyond what she is asked to do every day of the week. She works late and comes in early to do what she can for the university. She often puts other's needs above her own and does her best every day.”

Rothenbach has worked at UIS for 15 years, having started in 2006. She recently started working in the Vice Chancellor’s Office after several years in the Department of Residence Life.

“Denise is currently working in the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs suite in her new role, while still helping Residence Life find a replacement for her former role. That takes a lot of time and energy,” said Ann Comerford, her supervisor and interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. 

In her current role, Rothenbach is responsible for managing a lot of business functions and budgets. 

“She really enjoys budget management – this is a rare quality,” Comerford said. “She is very good at finding the money trail to help right size a budget. This takes a lot of memory and organization.”

Outside of the office, Rothenbach is very supportive of the Civil Service Advisory Council (CSAC) and other university events. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Robert (Bob) Baker named the UIS Employee of the Month for November 2021

Eric Chrans (left) and Robert Baker (right)

Robert (Bob) Baker has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for November 2021. He is a Culinary Worker I for UIS Food Service where he has worked for more than 20 years.  

His nominators said “Bob works his tail off and deserves to be Employee of the Month,” another added he “never stops working.”

“Over the past decades, Bob has exhibited hospitality for all,” said Eric Chrans, his supervisor. “His traits of honesty, integrity, dependability, reliability and great attitude should be the deserving qualities of all UIS employees.”

On a daily basis, Chrans said Baker does his job without complaint. He cleans appliances, pots and pans, sweeps, mops and takes the trash out in order to keep the UIS Food Studio clean and functioning for students, faculty and staff.

“Bob brings a commitment to his job, however more important is his helpfulness with others,” Chrans said. “Bob comes to work each morning wanting to do a good job.”

Chrans describes Baker as a hard worker, adding “it is just nice to spend the day at work with him.”

“Whenever Bob isn’t busy, he is always trying to help someone else out,” Chrans said. “He is punctual, accurate and very attentive to the details. Bob’s dedication is truly remarkable and his work ethic inspires all of us to get better. We are thankful that he is a valuable asset to Food Service.” 

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Kristin Nisbet-White named the UIS Employee of the Month for October 2021

Kristin Nisbet-White has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for October 2021. She is the Employer Development & Informatics Liaison at the UIS Career Development Center. In that role, she works to connect UIS students with employers. 

“Kristin has a strong work ethic and is well respected by her co-workers and members from other departments and in the community,” said her nominator. “Kristin does an incredible job leading and engaging others. She is incredibly detailed, thorough and dependable.”

Katherine Battee-Freeman, Nisbet-White’s supervisor, says she continually performs her job in a manner that merits the Employee of the Month Award.

“She is often the go-to person to resolve issues and find creative solutions to serving the needs of those we serve both at UIS and in the larger community,” Battee-Freeman said. 

During the pandemic, Nisbet-White found new ways to safely engage with students and employers, while always helping students present themselves in the best manner.

“The pandemic forced us to look at new ways of providing services and Kristin helped others feel comfortable embracing those new strategies and systems so that we could all work together smoothly with minimal stress about the unknown,” Battee-Freeman said. 

Nisbet-White continually improves her skills so that she can perform at the highest level; this includes becoming the subject matter expert on specific system changes that come from vendors and earning new certifications to expand her ability to work with both students and employers. 

She is a member of several professional organizations, including the Midwest Association of Colleges and Employers; Junior League of Springfield, Illinois; Central Illinois Chapter-Society of Human Resource Professionals and UIS Coalition Builders.

“Kristin is collaborative, friendly, and helpful in all her interactions,” Battee-Freeman said. “Even when she is personally stressed, she does not let that negatively affect her interactions with others. She is often the one who helps others get back to a place where they are comfortable moving forward even if something seemed like a challenge or problem.”

Nisbet-White’s nominator echoes the praise, saying that “Kristin is the type of employee that without a doubt, represents UIS and Student Affairs in a positive light at all times.”

“Kristin is an outstanding employee and UIS is lucky that she continues to work with us,” Battee-Freeman said. “She is a great example of a UIS alum who goes on the serve the public and make the world a better place through their work and personal lives.”

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Adam Hall named the UIS Employee of the Month for September 2021

Adam Hall has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for September 2021. He is the head men’s soccer coach for UIS Athletics.

Hall was nominated for the award based on his continued collaboration with the UIS Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI).

“Adam believes that all faculty and staff should be vigorously involved in recruiting students to UIS whether for academics, athletics or both,” said his nominator. “Adam has personally learned the nuances of the GPSI program and has avidly recruited graduate students for the soccer team, while encouraging them to apply for both the GPSI and GA programs to help defray the costs of their education and gain professional experience in their chosen field.”

He was successful, during the pandemic, in recruiting two international graduate students to UIS for both soccer and the GPSI program. Both students are enrolled in the MBA program and are thriving in their placements at state agencies.

Additionally, Hall has marketed the GPSI program to other UIS Athletics coaches who are interested in recruiting graduate students. He also continues to hold monthly check in meetings with the GPSI program to see how we might better coordinate and advance mutual goals. 

“This is the type of partnership and collaboration that I would like to have across campus programs and Adam is setting an example for all of us to model,” said his nominator.

Roy Brown III, Hall’s supervisor at the time he was nominated, praised him for his attentiveness and support of men’s soccer student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He went ‘over and beyond’ to make sure the men’s soccer student-athletes were taken care of when there were some in quarantine/isolation,” Brown said. “He was very attentive to their needs and wanted to make sure that their well-being was a priority.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Hall maintained an upbeat and encouraging attitude. He frequently served as a “sounding board” for everyone.

“Adam can be counted on to maintain a level of productivity every day,” Brown said. “For example, he will meet with a student-athlete via Zoom whether it is 6 a.m. or 11 p.m. It is a priority that his team is healthy and safe in order to be ready for their competitive season.” 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Stacey Gilmore named the UIS Employee of the Month for August 2021

Stacey Gilmore has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for August 2021. She is the director of the UIS Cox Children’s Center.

Gilmore’s nominator says she and staff at the Center have gone “above and beyond” during the COVID-19 pandemic to help children and families.

“During the state of Illinois stay-at-home period in 2020, they were helping families with activities to keep children engaged and learning, meals and even virtual classroom meetings, so the kids could see their friends. Stacey re-opened UIS Cox Children's Center as soon as they were allowed. This was important for all of the families that are essential workers in the community. They led the way on the UIS campus with a successful return to campus,” said her nominator. 

Gilmore and her staff have introduced health and safety precautions that have worked in keeping children and staff safe during the pandemic. She also worked to add a school-aged classroom to help working families since schools have been remote learning and had part-time schedules.

“Stacey’s passion for providing quality childcare, especially during the pandemic, so that essential personnel can perform their duties is commendable,” said Van Vieregge, Gilmore’s former supervisor who is now retired. 

Gilmore works to maintain the highest childcare professional certifications at the UIS Cox Children’s Center. She also ensures that the staff has the professional training they need to excel at their work. 

“Stacey is compassionate and dedicated to child development and educating parents on best practices,” Vieregge said. “Stacey’s friendly, positive attitude is demonstrated in her interactions with students, parents and staff. She strives to create a positive experience with all stakeholders.”

Gilmore often works after hours and on weekends to ensure operations are at the highest level. She is also highly involved in campus and community volunteer efforts including helping with UIS Move-In Day, food drives, coat and book drives and many other efforts.

“Stacey is an excellent leader at UIS,” Vieregge said.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Emily Boles named the UIS Employee of the Month for July 2021

Emily Boles has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for July 2021. She is an online learning and faculty development specialist for the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS).  

Boles was nominated by a faculty member, who praised Boles and the COLRS’ team, for helping the campus transition from the Blackboard to Canvas learning management system (LMS). The nominator says Boles and the COLRS’ team have always been available to help anytime and offered help via Zoom. 

“Emily provided excellent performance in moving the campus from Blackboard to Canvas as part of the COLRS team,” said Vickie Cook, Boles’ supervisor and executive director of online, professional, and engaged learning. “Migrating to a new LMS during the pandemic has been challenging for the campus. Through her skill, kindness, and care for others has made the process less daunting for faculty with whom she has worked.”

Boles went “above and beyond” to help faculty move from regular instruction to remote learning during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

“In addition to her regular responsibilities in online learning, she has provided high quality faculty assistance and instructional design work for faculty who were suddenly immersed in providing remote instruction,” Cook said. “Emily goes the extra mile to help faculty know the best way to use technology to provide high quality instruction and is always willing to assist faculty in thinking about the pedagogical implications used in assessments and content creation.”

Cook calls Boles “an amazingly kind and patient member of the COLRS team” who works diligently to find solutions to a problem, no matter the difficulty or how long it takes.

“Emily has the gift of understanding technology in ways that significantly changes the outcome to a positive one for the end-user,” Cook said. “While Emily understands technology in integral ways, she also has a patient and considerate way in which to explain difficult and challenging concepts to people using the technology.”

Boles has “an amazingly upbeat positive attitude” about her job responsibilities, according to Cook. Even when she is tired and being challenged by difficult situations, she is positive to those around her.  

“Emily has stated many times recently that she is so grateful for the opportunity to work with such a wonderful group of colleagues at a job she loves,” Cook said. “I think this statement embodies Emily’s attitude about her job. She is also very passionate about the university and takes her responsibility as a COLRS staff member at UIS as a significant accomplishment in her career.”

Emily has served in leadership roles on the Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC), multiple hiring committees, Web Services committee, and a number of other committees and provided support for projects across campus. Additionally, Boles volunteers in her community of Mechanicsburg with her local school’s education foundation board.

“Emily is definitely a superstar employee,” Cook said. “I highly recommend Emily for recognition as Employee of the Month. Emily is a significant reason why the pivot from on-campus to remote modality has worked so well at UIS.”

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Bethany Bilyeu named the UIS Employee of the Month for June 2021

Bethany Bilyeu has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for June 2021. She is the executive director of Student Support Services overseeing the Counseling Center, Health Services and the Office of Disability Services.

Bilyeu has led UIS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing testing, contact tracing, vaccination clinics and outreach to the state and local health department. 

“Bethany has made significant contributions towards the University’s pandemic response, at the same time she has done a phenomenal job managing the Student Support Services,” said Jantzen Eddington, her supervisor. “Bethany’s leadership has been instrumental in our success as a community.”

Her nominator says she has “gone above and beyond to train and keep stats for the COVID-19 testing team, as well as her own job.”

Bilyeu’s supervisor says she is always willing to help where there is a need and shows initiative in making improvements.

“Bethany has a good working relationship with members of our community and the public,” Eddington said. “Bethany developed connections with the local and state officials that have been key to assisting us with our pandemic response.”

At the start of the pandemic, it was Bilyeu herself who volunteered to coordinate the University’s response.

“Bethany is extremely dependable; she is one of the first people to identify areas of need within our community and takes the lead to address the needs and make improvements,” Eddington said. “Bethany is an amazing asset to our University community, and I am grateful for her leadership.”

Monday, May 17, 2021

Valerie Gebhardt named the UIS Employee of the Month for May 2021

Valerie Gebhardt has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for May 2021. She is the Alcohol & Drug Prevention Coordinator for the UIS Counseling Center. She has worked at UIS since 2005.

Gebhardt’s nominator praises her for believing that “at UIS we all have value.” She has been involved since day one with Safe Zone Training, which helps to educate the UIS students, faculty and staff about LGBTQIA+ topics, and was part of the initial campus presence for the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI). Her nominator says Gebhardt “sees” people and provides a safe place to encourage them to find their voice. 

“That’s huge,” said her nominator. “Valerie understands that every contribution, regardless of how large or small has merit. Valerie recognizes creativity comes first and that large budgets are not required to manage successful student engagement and diversity programs. Sometimes having a smaller budget prompts you to be even more creative in programing and presentations.”

According to her nominator, Gebhardt is involved in writing grants, sexual assault awareness campaigns, the THINK program, Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) programs, student exhibitions and more. Outside of work, she is active in volunteering at Kumler Outreach Ministries.

“Valerie is a living example of Leadership lived both on campus and in the community,” said her nominator. “I am proud to call her my colleague and my friend. She is an asset to the students, staff, and community at large. Valerie celebrates people’s successes. She is that rare person in our community.”

Gebhardt’s supervisor, Bethany Bilyeu, executive director of the UIS Counseling Center, says she “goes above and beyond for students,” often responding to crises during off hours.

“She has a positive attitude, a willingness to do whatever it takes and rolls with changes,” Bilyeu said. “She relates well with others and is an extremely hard worker.”

Monday, April 05, 2021

Nikita Hutchings named the UIS Employee of the Month for April2021

Nikita Hutchings
has been named the
University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month
for April 2021. She works for the University Bursar Office as a business administrative associate helping students at all three universities in the U of I System.

Hutchings’ nominator and supervisor, Alice Seaton, says her willingness to help students, parents and colleagues is “remarkable.” “Her famous ending to any conversation is ‘I'm happy to help!’ She doesn't just say that - she truly means it,” Seaton said.

“Nikita exemplifies good customer service in her words and actions,” Seaton said. “Her positive attitude towards people and her job makes her a great team player and an asset to UIS. In addition, she is a supervisor to our student workers and provides extensive training and support. She is a great role model for our student workers.”

According to Seaton, Hutchings always looks for ways a process can be more efficient. She recently took on the responsibility of becoming a trainer for the Bursar’s customer service staff at all three universities.

“She has researched training opportunities for herself to take advantage of, so that she can be well informed,” Seaton said. “In addition, she keeps all of our resource material updated.”

Outside of the office, Hutchings represents the Bursar’s Office at UIS Orientations and had to adapt this past year to present virtually. She spends a great deal of time creating the orientation presentation, so it would be eye catching to keep the audience's attention.

“Nikita is very dependable,” Seaton said. “She never minds working past her normal quitting time when it is necessary to finish a task.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Jeremy Durbin named the UIS Employee of the Month for March 2021

Jeremy Durbin has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for March 2021. He is a building service foreman working for Campus Recreation in The Recreation and Athletic Center (TRAC) building. 

His nominator says Durbin is known for his initiative and pride in his work. He takes on additional duties without complaint and is always willing to help students and staff.

“Though he has a list of daily duties, Jeremy continually looks for ways to make TRAC look better and he takes great pride in how the facility looks and operates,” said his nominator. “It is important to him that it is clean and looks good both for our students and visitors.”

Durbin’s nominator says he was excited to come back to work in May 2020, after being away several weeks due to the shutdown of the TRAC building during the COVID-19 stay at home order.

“(The building being closed) allowed him to do some serious deep cleaning and waxing floors without interrupting staff and students. He was so proud of the way things were looking he would send me pictures,” said his nominator.

Durbin’s supervisor, Jay Swenson, says he’s been working “above and beyond” to keep TRAC clean and disinfected during the pandemic. 

“With both athletes and general students using the facility, he not only has had to keep the building clean, but also disinfected,” Swenson said. “To combat this, he created an hour-by-hour disinfectant plan. This allows him and the other BSW in TRAC to stay on schedule, but also is a strong safety net if either of them miss a day.”

Swenson says Durbin “has always done an outstanding job.” He takes pride in keeping TRAC looking good and doesn’t cut corners.

“With everything that has been asked of Jeremy during the pandemic, it would have been very easy for him to keep just doing the solid job he has been," Swenson said. “Instead, he has taken it in stride, hasn’t complained, and has helped TRAC stay a clean and safe place for students.”

Durbin has strong relationships with the staff at TRAC. This allows him to be approachable which gets problems solved quickly.

“Jeremy works in a position where he would be okay just blending into the background to do his job, yet he does the opposite," Swenson said. “He is visible and makes a point to get to know the staff at TRAC. This allows for a strong relationship when it comes to helping those employees.”

Durbin's supervisor also praises his ability to prepare for large events at TRAC.

“He makes sure everything looks good and the bathrooms are clean and stocked,” Swenson said. “Since TRAC hosts outside groups, this could be the first and only time someone sees campus. It’s important they have a good first experience and Jeremy helps make that a reality.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Sean Crawford named the UIS Employee of the Month for February 2021

Sean Crawford has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for February 2021. He is the news director at NPR Illinois (WUIS 91.9 F.M.). Crawford started at NPR Illinois as a reporter and was promoted to news director in 2009.

“Despite a demanding job that requires flexibility, dedication and often working outside the normal work day, Sean always takes others' best interests into consideration,” said his nominator. “He truly wants to make NPR Illinois an outstanding news organization that is a feather in the cap of the University of Illinois Springfield, and takes pride in doing so.”

From the Statehouse service, which provides news to NPR stations across the state to producing programs and news stories like "Statewide", Crawford’s nominator says he “truly exemplifies NPR Illinois' mission to ‘Explain Illinois’ by informing, analyzing and engaging our listening audience.”

“Sean is always professional and courteous representing the University admirably as he has contact with many newsmakers,” said Randy Eccles, Crawford’s supervisor and general manager of NPR Illinois. “Sean manages our reporting staff, develops interns, works with contacts from other parts of the University and is a fine representative.”

Crawford is a graduate of the UIS Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) master’s program. In his role as news director, he has mentored many PAR interns who have gone on to work at other new organizations around the state and the country. 

“He takes great pride in giving many of those accomplished journalists a start at NPR Illinois,” said his nominator. 

Crawford’s nominator and supervisor also praise him for recently served as the acting general manager of NPR Illinois for a six month period. His nominator calls him “a leader for the entire staff at the station.”

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Jason Noyes named the 2020 UIS Employee of the Year

Information Technology Service’s Help Desk Manager Jason Noyes has been named the 2020 Employee of the Year at the University of Illinois Springfield. He was honored during a virtual reception on Feb. 2, 2021.

Before announcing the winner, UIS Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney thanked the eleven Employees of the Month who were nominated for the award.

Noyes, who was the May 2020 Employee of the Month, is described as always going “above and beyond” each and every day to help students, faculty and staff. As Help Desk manager, he manages a team of student workers who typically respond to computer and other technical issues seven days a week.

“Jason is always helpful and always professional,” said Kara McElwrath, his supervisor. “No matter the problem, no matter what else is on his plate, he has never said ‘that’s not my job’ or ‘let me ask someone else to do that.’ He treats faculty, staff, and students with respect and takes on each of their problems as his own.”

Noyes was nominated for the Employee of the Month award by a person who agrees that he goes above and beyond, a faculty member who he recently helped set up a customized computer.

“Jason has been spectacularly helpful in enabling me to work at UIS this spring,” his nominator said. “He worked with me to find a proper computer, and then he customized it for me, and then he assisted me with challenges I faced upgrading a computer at home. All of this took many meetings and he has been unfailingly helpful and highly available.”

Noyes has taken on big roles lately, such as managing the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for the entire campus, while also working on a replacement to the UIS Help Desk ticketing system.

“When someone goes to Jason with a problem, they know they are in good hands,” McElwrath said. “The confidence and assurance that he will stick with them until the issue is resolved puts everyone at ease. As a recent example, Jason worked tirelessly earlier this week to recover files from a damaged flash drive. Instead of giving up, instead of asking why there were no backups of the files, he just dug in and found a way to recover each and every file. This is the kind of service and diligence that he expresses every single day.”

Outside of work, Noyes hosts a morning radio show on Saturday’s on 970 AM WMAY and serves as a volunteer firefighter.

“The entire campus community (including me) depends on him and he doesn’t disappoint,” McElwrath said. “Honestly, I can’t imagine doing my job without him.”

As Employee of the Year, Noyes will receive a check for $500, plus a special parking spot for the entire year.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Employee of the Year celebration to be held virtually on Feb. 2

The 38th Annual Employee of the Year Recognition event will be held virtually at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. At the celebration the 2020 Employees of Month will be recognized and the Employee of the Year will be announced.

The celebration can be viewed via Zoom at: 

Click here to download the virtual program

The 2020 Employees of the Month are: 

Connie Komnick
Chrisa Potthast-Leezer
Lorie Mick
Jason Noyes
Justin Rose
AJ Hamm
Marie Watson
Robin Vansacik
Nicole Hager
James Gleeson
Katherine Battee-Freeman