Introduced in 1977, this award honors professional staff members whose extraordinary service contributions have significantly enriched the university. Award recipients have served energetically, innovatively and knowledgeably in their fields.
Office of Resource Planning
Currently a resource analyst in the Office of Resource Planning, Bin Chen receives this award for her work as research administrator in the Department of Electrical Engineering, where she provided comprehensive management of the department’s grant funding process from proposal submission through post-award administration, and prepared detailed departmental data on submissions, expenditures and research activity. Recognized for her expertise in managing grants and research payroll, Ms. Chen served on numerous search committees within the school for financial and research staff. Committed to providing exemplary support to faculty, Ms. Chen attended training sessions for both faculty principal investigators and staff to stay apprised of best practices, policies and procedures, and she often trained faculty on the administration of sponsored funds. Ms. Chen also contributed to a wide array of departmental projects such as K-12 outreach events, faculty recruitment and seminar speaking events.
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Advanced Pharmacy Practices Experiential coordinator in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kris Jordan manages the experiential education placements required for pharmacy students to graduate each year. Her coordination of these placements—826 during the 2020-2021 academic year—is an enormous responsibility by sheer number alone, but she also addresses any placement complications that arise and often serves as a liaison for students with faculty and placement preceptors. When COVID-19 posed significant challenges to students’ abilities to fulfill their placement requirements, Ms. Jordan worked tirelessly to revise placements and ensure students could effectively work toward graduation. With more than three decades of service to the school and UB, Ms. Jordan is an invaluable mentor to her colleagues, who praise her wealth of knowledge.
Curator of the Poetry Collection and coordinator of the Rare & Special Books Collection, James Maynard, PhD, enthusiastically provides oversight and guidance for his staff while building, maintaining and promoting the Poetry Collection’s resources. He has developed local, national and international partnerships and collaborations to increase the collection’s visibility, and he participates in substantial outreach, organizing private tours for researchers, alumni, donors, elected officials and community members. Dr. Maynard has personally curated several highly successful exhibitions showcasing the Poetry Collection. Dedicated to maintaining author James Joyce’s legacy through UB’s James Joyce Collection, he is working to create a landmark museum that will ensure that UB remains a cultural destination for Joyce scholars and the general public alike.
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Director of administration in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cheryl Michalowski is responsible for departmental budgets and personnel matters, including faculty tenure and promotion dossiers. The first and only professional staff member in the department for two years after its founding, Ms. Michalowski handled all aspects of departmental functions, including scheduling, finances and documentation for the new graduate program. Ms. Michalowski is a key recruiter for the department at student recruitment events, and she supports outreach efforts as webmaster, newsletter coordinator and organizer of in-person and digital promotional booths. She is also heavily involved in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ social outreach efforts, including STEM education for K-12 students.
School of Law
Vice dean for communications in the School of Law, Lisa Mueller has been integral to the school’s communications and outreach for more than two decades. Over the last four years, Ms. Mueller conducted a complete overhaul of the school’s strategic communications plan, transitioning the primarily print communications strategy into digital formats and centralizing the school’s communication efforts. Ms. Mueller’s distinctive abilities were clearly demonstrated through her work on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s visit in 2019, when she effectively coordinated a collaborative and comprehensive communications strategy that led to international media coverage of this historic event for UB. In 2020, Ms. Mueller was instrumental in the school’s responses to COVID-19 and evolving racial violence and social justice issues across the nation.
College of Arts and Sciences
Assistant Dean for human resources in the College of Arts and Sciences, Michelle Scott is responsible for overseeing all human resources functions for the college and serving as a liaison with UB’s Human Resources department and numerous other university offices. Praised for her expertise on UB and SUNY human resources procedures, she has been instrumental to the college’s organizational restructuring and serves as a member of the Dean’s cabinet. During the early days of the pandemic, Ms. Scott played a critical role in hiring the inaugural cohort of the Distinguished Visiting Scholars program, navigating complex human resources procedures and enabling the visiting faculty to focus on their institutional leaves and make a seamless transition to UB.
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Assistant dean for online education in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and senior strategist of academic innovation in the Office of the SUNY Provost, Lisa Stephens, PhD, has made tremendous advancements in distance education through her work on initiatives such as the SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant program and Massive Open Online Courses. She also spearheads FLEXspace, a global open education repository featuring innovative learning environment exemplars from over 1,400 educational institutions across 80 different countries (including UB). Throughout her career with UB and SUNY, she has held numerous leadership positions in programs and on committees, and she has received more than $6 million in awards, grants and sponsorships in support of her work.
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Administrative director of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Margaret L. Wendt Foundation Clinical Competency Center and Behling Human Simulation Center, Karen Zinnerstrom, PhD, is responsible for the implementation, coordination and evaluation of training programs and curricula used at the centers. She identifies methods and content that develop highly competent medical professionals, and she collaborates with faculty and other health science professionals to ensure the delivery of performance-based assessment and teaching. Dr. Zinnerstrom has co-developed new patient scenarios for each of the courses’ active learning sessions and has overseen the clinical competency training of thousands of students and residents. A dedicated scholar, she has contributed to papers on incorporating standardized patients in interprofessional learning and training standardized patients to be representative of the LGBTQ+ community.