WMU News

Four receive Staff Service Excellence awards

June 19, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University recently honored four employees (listed below) with the 2000 Staff Service Excellence awards, which come with a $1,000 cash prize.

Those selected by the Staff Service Excellence Committee for the award are: Joyce A. Gard, speech pathology and audiology; Tammy Kiel, dining services; Jerald Kuss, public safety; and Cheryl Roland, university relations.

In addition to the cash award (less taxes), each recipient received a framed certificate and will have their photo displayed in the Seibert Administration Building. A luncheon to honor the foursome was held June 7.

The selection committee included representatives from the APA, PSSO, AFSCME Local 1668, the Police Officers Association and the Michigan State Employees Association. To ensure impartiality, the names of nominees and their nominators were omitted during judging.

Joyce A. Gard

Joyce A. Gard began her University career in 1983 when she was hired as a secretary in speech pathology and audiology. Three years later, she was promoted to administrative assistant and has since proved invaluable to the department.

In addition to the traditional administrative roles, Gard provides budget analysis and support for faculty members working on grants. Her devotion extends to retirees, as she has been known to visit the homes of emeriti faculty members to make deliveries, help with writing and generally support their efforts to continue their academic lives.

Gard also has served as a personal inspiration to her colleagues. During her long recovery from a closed head injury, she has continued to tackle challenges with optimism and enthusiasm. Gard has shared her personal story with others, speaking to groups about her recovery, the provider-patient relationship and her passion for art as a healing force.

"Beyond the call of dutyquiet strength and thorough competence are the words that best characterize Joyce," said one nominator. "In addition to performing her professional duties with competence and making contributions to the professional activities of her department, Joyce serves as a role modelin how to live life."

Tammy Kiel

Tammy Kiel's nominators contend that not only is she a dedicated and hard-working employee, but she has a talent for making some of the most fabulous cakes they've ever seen. Kiel's "everyday creations are works of art," raved one colleague.

Five years after she joined the University in 1984, Kiel was promoted to assistant baker. She's proven herself to be a lifelong learner, always anxious to learn something new and improve her already impressive skills. On her own time, she searches for recipes, attends cake-decorating classes and swaps trade secrets with her co-workers.

During the summer, Kiel works for the University as a landscaper. However, on a moment's notice she's willing to switch from planting flowers to creating an elaborate dessert for dining services or catering, always with a smile and a great attitude.

According to one nominator, she is "an outstanding employee who demonstrates superior service daily. Tammy's job performance, positive and willing attitude, and excellent relations with students and co-workers make her a truly excellent staff member."

Jerald Kuss

After joining the Department of Public Safety in 1980, Jerald Kuss earned his bachelor's degree in law enforcement from the University. Today, he serves on the force as a lieutenant.

Kuss supervises a wide variety of staff members, including police officers and sergeants, dispatchers, and student workers. His nominators praised him for developing a special relationship with the large contingent of international students employed by the department. Despite frequent language barriers, Kuss acclimates the young men and women to the University community and helps them become part of cohesive working units.

"Jerry is definitely an unsung hero who works quietly behind the scenes," praised one nominator. "The vital influence he has on the international students carries on long after they have returned to their homelands."

One officer who worked under Kuss as a rookie, credits him with the high ethical standards she upholds today. "His high expectations on criminal investigations help make our officers thorough, professional and credible in the police community," she said in her nomination. "He is meticulous in his work and requires the same of those who work for him. His kindness is an added bonus."

Cheryl Roland

Grace under pressure was one of the characteristics nominators used to describe Cheryl Roland, director of news and communications in university relations. A WMU employee since 1987, Roland is known for "working tirelessly and with unflappable good humor to promote the University."

Her work has resulted in stories about WMU in publications around the nation, including the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She has flawlessly orchestrated many important announcements, such as the recent Proctor and Gamble gift of 100 patents and the donation of a 747 jumbo jet from Northwest Airlines.

Roland also coordinates editorial content for two University publications. As editor of Western News and managing editor of the WMU magazine, she serves with "a dedication that far exceeds the expectedeven if that means working until midnight to make sure the very latest news makes it to the press."

As one of her seven nominators attested, "Cherylis calm in the midst of chaos, wise when others are rash, and always moving toward a target of excellence with skill, patience and poise. She is an exceptional role model for all those around her."

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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