Longtime staff member recognized with semi-annual award

Contact: Chris Hybels

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Amy Burns, executive assistant to the dean, is the fall recipient of Western Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Development’s (CEHD) Semi-Annual Staff Recognition Award. 

The award recognizes an individual’s exceptional work and outstanding contributions in support of faculty, staff, students, administrators and all those served by CEHD. Nominations are reviewed by the Dean’s Staff Advisory Committee and forwarded to the dean who selects the recipient. The honoree receives a certificate and an $800 award.

As executive assistant to the dean, Burns coordinates the necessary pieces to allow the faculty and staff to effectively perform their job functions and improve the student experience within the CEHD. In addition, Burns serves as the building coordinator for both Sangren and Kohrman halls, ensuring that the spaces are well maintained and can be utilized to their full potential. She has been a steady and consistent support during the transition from the late Dean Ming Li to Interim Dean Kristal Ehrhardt.

Cheryl Smith, administrative assistant in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies, nominated Burns and notes that she handles tasks, “from the little things like making sure everyone (I mean everyone’s) Bronco card can swipe open the right doors to making sure we have air in the summer and heat in the winter. Amy’s helping to coordinate work processes when the power goes out and taking on additional tasks like package delivery. Nothing seems to ruffle her control.”

Smith adds that “Amy is also interested in the emotional health of our college. She ensures that everyone’s birthday is recognized with a celebration. Amy has provided consistency through the many, many staffing changes in the dean’s suite and support areas of the college. The gifts of her time and devotion which are essential to everyday tasks but are often unnoticed. Today, we are looking directly at one who needs to be recognized for the foundational support she provides to keep the college alive and functioning well.” 

"The unwavering support that she offers to individuals within the college as well as the college as a whole has been so wonderful," Ehrhardt noted during the award presentation. "She really is irreplaceable."

About amy burns

Burns joined Western more than 40 years ago as a switchboard operator. She worked an evening shift and took classes in the morning. In 1988, she joined the CEHD and has held several roles.

During her 35 years in the CEHD, she has had the opportunity to work with 18 deans and interim deans. In 2015, she was promoted to her current position as the executive assistant to the dean.

Her connection with Western has also extended to her family. All three of her children have attended the University, and her daughter will be graduating in April 2023.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.