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Six IU employees recognized with Staff Merit Awards at an annual ceremony

Jan. 11, 2017

Six employees at IU Bloomington were presented with Staff Merit Awards by Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and Associate Vice President for Human Resources John Whelan in a ceremony in December. The annual awards are given to staff based on exemplary job performance and special efforts to improve the university.

The award recipients are:

Professional staff

Shing Shong "Bruce" Shei

Shing Shong "Bruce" Shei of the Department of Computer Science | PHOTO BY JAMES BROSHER, IU COMMUNICATIONS

Shing Shong “Bruce” Shei, Department of Computer Science

Shei’s colleagues have said his smile is infectious. “Bruce greets students, faculty and staff alike with his warm smile and gracious, soft-spoken tone that conveys his competence and invites collaboration with ease,” said Donna Arkins, director of infrastructure and technology in the School of Informatics and Computing and one of many who nominated Shei for the Staff Merit Award.

His nominators also commented on his work ethic and dedication. “I could fill several pages with stories about how he rescued our work through a late-night fix or last-minute request. I am not sure when Bruce sleeps,” said David Crandall, associate professor of informatics and computing.

Lee A. Walters, Facility Operations

Walters’ work with students and her dedicated support of IU’s Office of Sustainability have not gone unnoticed.

“Under her direction, the student-led Energy Challenge has grown to become the largest single-campus energy and water conservation competition in the United States,” said Bill Brown, university director of sustainability.

It’s not just what Walters has done for students and IU that made her deserving of the award, her nominators said; it’s also her attitude. 

“Although she has been working here for over 30 years, Lee shows no signs of losing altitude or her positive attitude as she relentlessly does everything in her power to make IU Bloomington a better place to live, learn, work and play, especially for our students,” Brown said.

Service staff

Vicky L. Shrum, Residential Programs and Services, Dining

Vicky L. Shrum

Vicky L. Shrum of Residential Programs and Services, Dining | PHOTO BY JAMES BROSHER, IU COMMUNICATIONS

Shrum’s nominators are ready to vouch for her as a leader as well as an excellent cook.

“In her role as a team leader, she provides training to the student staff working at the Union Street Café,” said Ancil Drake, associate director for production in RPS Dining Services. “She has the ability to do this in a professional and upbeat manner, building confidence in the student staff as well as building the team.”

“She is an outstanding cook and prepares some of the best made-from-scratch dishes,” said Andrew Smith, Union Street Market manager. “Her technique is out of this world, and you always go away wanting more of her cooking.”

Tim Thacker, School of Optometry

It’s not just Thacker’s skill and efficiency as a carpenter that his nominators appreciate about him; he’s simply a kind and caring individual, too.

“He is a skilled craftsman with a keen logic for solving problems and a valuable asset to IU and our school,” said Pete Kollbaum, associate dean for research in the School of Optometry.

“After every interaction I have with Tim, I think about how fortunate the School of Optometry is to have him on our team,” said Whitney Switzer, human resources associate for the school. “He is a wonderful representative of IU and has an exceptional work ethic that is accompanied by an attitude all should aspire to reach.”

Support staff

Gayle Higgins

Gayle Higgins of the Ostrom Workshop | PHOTO BY JAMES BROSHER, IU COMMUNICATIONS

Gayle Higgins, Ostrom Workshop

Higgins has a wealth of knowledge about the Ostrom Workshop as well as a “generous caring spirit,” her nominators said.

“She is a patient source of detailed information who creates an exceptionally welcoming environment,” said Margaret Baechtold, operations manager at the Ostrom Workshop. “She easily communicates with and supports individuals from all corners of the globe, caring about each individual as a human being.”

“Gayle always has a smile on her face,” said Lee Alston, Ostrom chair and professor of economics. “I need to stop by just for her sunny disposition. I always leave feeling less burdened.”

Connie Sue May, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Professional, tough, determined and caring are just a few of the words May’s nominators used to describe her.

“Connie has shown superior effort over the last year by not only executing the demanding requirements of her primary position’s tasks, but also by providing critical support to the School of Global and International Studies as a whole during this time of rapid growth by taking on the primary administrative and fiscal responsibilities for the newly awarded Arabic Language Flagship,” said Hilary Kahn, assistant dean of international education and global initiatives.   

“Connie is a caring person, tough and exacting,” said Stephen Katz, chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. “She gives 110 percent to this department. She is an excellent model to all members of the IU staff.”

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