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