On Monday, April 14, two College of Arts and Sciences employees were honored during the spring semiannual Western Michigan University Make a Difference award ceremony. The Make A Difference award is a campus-wide peer-to-peer program that recognizes University staff members for their outstanding accomplishments and daily investment of energy and creativity. Mary Lou Brooks, office coordinator for the Department of Geography and Tammi Smith, academic advisor for the CAS advising office were applauded for their service to WMU.
Brooks was nominated by her colleagues, as well as by students that she impacts. She patiently explains daunting grant processes and procedures and is known for taking the time to listen to students with both academic and personal issues. She is an excellent example to the students she supports as she is a student also and excels in the classroom. In addition to her care and concern for students, Brooks provides constant support to faculty and staff and shows her commitment to the Department of Geography by coming up with ideas to promote the department.
Like Brooks, Smith was nominated by her colleagues and the students she advises. Smith is credited with setting up thousands of incoming students for success. She is highly organized and works well with various departments across campus. Her ambitious nature has caused improvements to the process of advising each year and colleagues credit her contributions with making WMU better for its students. Smith embodies the pride as an employee and as an alumna, as she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from WMU.
Every fall and spring, semiannual awards are presented to a maximum of 15 people. Those selected for the award receive a before-tax prize of $300 and a certificate. These semiannual award winners are then eligible for one of four annual Make a Difference awards that includes a before-tax prize of $1200 prize. Award winners are selected by a committee of peers from the participating employee groups of AFSCME, APA, MSEA, POA, and PSSO.