Recognizing excellenceIf you know of a co-worker or staff member who is a Staff Compensation System, AFSCME, MSEA or POA employee and deserves to be honored for outstanding service to Western, use one of the options below to nominate them for a Make a Difference award. There are semiannual and annual awards available to those who provide exceptional services to the University
Fill out the online semiannual nomination form;
Email nominations to email@example.com; or
Fill out the printable semiannual nomination form.
A committee of peers will select award recipients based on your comments rather than the individual's reputation, title or position. Provide specific information and use descriptive examples in support of your nominee to assure this person gets the full consideration deserved. For selection criteria and detailed program information, view the program guidelines.
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—When the pandemic created challenges for students, Western Michigan University staff stepped up. Whether it’s through providing moral support, navigating a changing housing landscape, providing exceptional academic advice or projecting a positive attitude while keeping campus spaces clean, staff standouts are being celebrated.
The University is announcing its 2019-20 Make a Difference Award recipients as it seeks nominations for the current semiannual cycle. The campuswide peer-to-peer program recognizes Western staff for their engagement and daily investment of energy and creativity.
The program paused during the pandemic but is accepting nominations now through Oct. 31 for the fall cycle; spring nominations are due Feb. 28. Four annual award recipients, typically announced in the spring, are selected from the semiannual awardees.
With so many staff members going above and beyond this past year, there are many worthy recipients, says President Edward Montgomery.
"The Make a Difference Awards are an important way we can acknowledge and say thanks for the incredible efforts of our staff. This past year has been difficult for us all, and yet there are those staff members who continued to go the extra mile in service to our students and our community. These individuals deserve to be recognized for they are a large part of the reason WMU is a special place and how we make it possible so that all may learn," Montgomery says.
The most recent annual award recipients include Brianna McCann, senior administrative assistant for the Office for Sustainability; Roshona Porter, associate director of facilities for Housing and Residence Life; Dr. Colleen Kay Stano, senior academic advisor for Haworth College of Business; and Pamela Zawacke, custodian for Facilities Management.
McCann started at Western as a student employee in 2010 in various departments. Then she became a temporary employee and eventually part-time instructor for First-Year Experience. That role overlapped with the start of her current position as senior administrative assistant in sustainability in June 2018. She currently leads several student teams, oversees event planning, evaluates current programs and initiatives, and manages office operations and administrative work. As a sustainability staffer, whether she’s working in the dirt, making videos or fixing bicycles, she said her favorite part of her job is working with amazing students who are dedicated to being sustainable leaders in the community.
Her dedication to students is what one nominator highlighted, stating, McCann “never hesitates to go out of her way to help a student in any circumstances. Most importantly, she keeps the working environment inclusive, conductive and fun, yet professional, making my experience as a student truly enjoyable, beneficial and memorable.”
Porter also started at Western as a student employee in 2001 in various departments and was a temporary employee and then facilitator for First-Year Experience, a role she continues today after almost eight years. She came to Housing and Residence Life in August 2012 as residence hall director for the former French, Davis and Zimmerman complex and then assistant director for Residence Life from July 2014 to April 2018. In her current position, she provides planning, administration, direction, leadership and oversight for all housing facilities operations, including furniture, annual maintenance and upkeep, renovation projects, new builds and future housing projects for on-campus residence halls and apartments. She oversees the summer conference program and student move crew as well as serves on the Housing and Residence Life Leadership Team.
As housing safety requirements evolved during the pandemic, Porter and her team were accessible and responsive, a nominator noted.
“Roshona has stood alongside the rest of Housing and Residence Life staff in continuing without interruption, working in person on campus, staying in the office well into many nights and constantly being available at any hour via phone or text. I can promise you that anyone who has worked with, near or alongside her in these times would absolutely agree she is more than deserving of this award!”
Dr. Colleen Kay Stano
Stano joined the Department of World Languages and Literatures in 2015 and became an academic advisor for the Haworth College of Business in May 2016, primarily advising finance, personal financial planning, business law and entrepreneurship majors. She also is the coordinator for the first-year business course and has taught the class as a part-time instructor for the management department for the past six years.
From providing phenomenal customer service and teaching in engaging and supportive ways to improving academic advising office processes and working collaboratively across the University, Stano’s commitment to student success was recognized by her colleagues.
“Colleen is known by both her colleagues and her students as an outstanding academic advisor,” a nominator noted. “She performs at a level of efficiency and accuracy that few—even her superiors—can rival. Additionally, she provides a warm and friendly environment to students with her calm persona and her welcoming smile. This combination of intellect and approachability make her an academic advisor that truly touches students’ lives.”
Zawacke joined Western’s Bernhard Dining Services in November 1998 and started as a custodian in November 2011.
During her almost nine years as a custodian at Schneider Hall, she has amassed 25 written complimentary comments from staff members, according to a supervisor.
“I am constantly getting positive verbal comments from staff in different departments on how great a job Pamela does at keeping areas clean, having a great attitude and how willing she is to help wherever she can,” the nomination stated.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.