Thursday, September 24, 2020

Robin Vansacik named the UIS Employee of the Month for September 2020

Robin Vansacik has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for September 2020. She is an academic advisor in the Center for Academic Success and Advising. 

Vansacik’s nominator describes her as “a very compassionate and caring employee,” adding that her work with students as an academic advisor is “phenomenal.” 

“She truly cares about the students she interacts with, not just on their academic performance, but on their overall well-being. You cannot walk past Robin without smiling, as her bubbly personality (and saying ‘hello’ to everyone) brightens your day,” her nominator said.

Vansacik’s supervisor, Tarah Sweeting, echoes that praise, calling her “an excellent employee and advisor.” 

“She is patient, kind and knowledgeable when working with students in an advising capacity,” Sweeting said. “She is also an excellent advocate for her department and works closely with faculty to ensure students are on the path to success.” 

She routinely volunteers to participate in various advising community committees. Most recently she organized and led the Recognition Committee, taking the time to note and award the accomplishments of various advisors across campus. 

“Her determination to make advisors feel valued and appreciated contributes to the overall advising culture of campus and helps us build community and a positive work environment,” Sweeting said. 

“Her leadership in this area is outstanding.” Vansacik’s supervisor says she is highly productive in handling her advising load. She is also very reliable and does whatever she can to make herself available to students. 

“Robin is a team player,” Sweeting said. “She contributes thoughtfully to group discussions, volunteers to work closely with others and encourages other staff and students in their endeavors. She is a strong communicator and is always thoughtful and professional.” 

Outside of work, Vansacik is active in her local high school athletic booster club and regularly volunteers to assist with various athletic activities.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Marie Watson named the UIS Employee of the Month for August 2020

Marie Watson has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for August 2020. She is the associate director of Student Life.

Watson’s nominator calls her “the epitome of Leadership Lived,” while her supervisor says “she’s brought new life” to every area of Student Life under her leadership, including the Student Activities Committee, the leadership program and the cultural/diversity and Greek registered student organizations for which she is the liaison.

“The nature of Marie’s job requires her to be present within the student community outside of the traditional 8 a.m.-5 p.m. workday,” her nominator said. “You will find Marie on campus after hours, on the weekends, sacrificing time at home with her family to be a support system and advocate for students. Marie does not complain or tire, instead she does quite the opposite, she thrives.”

Not only does Watson work long hours to help support student groups and programming on campus, but she also creates an environment where students feel “welcome, included and comfortable.”

“Many times when I walk by her office, she has students sitting at her table talking about life, work or school,” her nominator said. “She has created an atmosphere where students want to engage, participate, give of their time and grow personally and professionally. Marie has gone above and beyond to help support students in bringing diverse programs, speakers and professional development opportunities.”

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she challenged everyone in the Student Affairs Division to engage with students virtually. She started the Virtual Engagement Committee and hosted weekly meetings that allowed all members to connect, share ideas and successes. She also hosted a series of Instagram lives, which were popular with students.

“She had guests from all over campus and included student leaders,” said her nominator. “She found ways that were not traditional to engage our students and by doing so set the bar for the other U of I campuses and campuses across the U.S. Her work has created a new norm that will be incorporated in the future, so that students from all over, not just residential, but also commuter and online students can participate in the college experience.”

In addition to her Student Life responsibilities, Watson has also chaired a job search committee and served on various other campus committees. In the community, she has served on the planning committee for the Springfield Art Association’s Fine Art Fair.

“Marie is highly dependable and productive,” said Cynthia Thompson, her supervisor. “Even with a family and the added responsibilities of COVID-19, she has managed to complete all tasks assigned to her – as well as a few new and innovative ones.”

Thursday, September 10, 2020

AJ Hamm named the UIS Employee of the Month for July 2020

AJ Hamm has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for July 2020. He is a building service worker on campus.

His nominator says he is always eager to help, loves UIS and is also a student, works well with employees from all over campus and has a strong desire to stay busy.

“AJ has a great personality and good communication skills when relating to customers all over campus,” said Jason Gibson, his supervisor. “He always wants to be helpful and understands the importance of a positive attitude.”

Hamm played an integral role helping to shut down on campus operations in March 2020 during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“AJ was very adamant that he be brought into work instead of any co-workers that were considered high risk,” Gibson said. “His attitude and willingness to work was very helpful because there were several instances when things had to be completed on campus.”

Gibson adds that Hamm never needs to be given instruction more than once and is a team player with co-workers and everyone on campus.

“He relates to everyone in a friendly and respectful manner,” Gibson said. “He greets people with a smile and is always willing to help.”

Hamm is always on time and completes work orders promptly. For several years, he was the only employee covering weekends and could always be relied on to keep things running smoothly.

“When a task could easily be stressful he just meets it head on and does whatever is needed to complete the task,” Gibson said.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Justin Rose named the UIS Employee of the Month for June 2020

Justin Rose has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for June 2020. He is the director of diversity and inclusion in the UIS Diversity Center.

Rose’s nominator says he is without a doubt one of the hardest working people at UIS. In February, he led the UIS Black History Month Celebration “with record attendance, passion and unmatched energy,” according to his nominator.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and is always thinking about what he can do for others,” his nominator said. “I would even go so far as to say UIS is a better institution and community because of the energy Justin J. Rose puts into his work.”

Rose’s supervisor, the late Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Clarice Ford, called him “a beacon of light for all at UIS,” when evaluating his performance in February 2020. “I cannot think of anyone in my division who lives and breathes UIS like Justin.”

Ford added that Rose is always available for students and student groups even on his days off. He often works more than eight hours a day and serves as a role model for students.

“Justin is always positive and motiving others to be great no matter what the sacrifice,” Ford said. “He is committed to make sure he is present, listening and providing support to all of the students he comes in contact with on a daily basis.”

On campus, Rose is the advisor for Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc.; the Black Male Collegiate Society and the UIS Gospel Choir. He is also the co-advisor of the Rotaract Student Organization. Outside UIS, he is a member of Frontiers International and the Downtown Springfield Rotary Club.

At the same time, he is also earning his doctorate and routinely shares with the Student Affairs Division all he has learned about the best practices in higher education.

“He teaches, provides programming, advises and listens to his staff and students with his ears and heart,” Ford said. “His performance is beyond expectations and he always does it with a smile.”