2017 Award for Administrative Excellence

Coralee Young, Ball State University

While Coralee Young may not feel flattered to be called "grease," she truly is the grease that keeps all the gears of the Honors College turning smoothly. In all facets of her work with the Honors College -- with faculty, staff, and students -- she goes far beyond simply meeting her duties. She is very typically the person who makes activities and ideas possible, and she does so with both competence and a warm collegiality that makes all of us happy and proud to work with her every day.

Coralee began working for Ball State in 1982, as office supervisor for Residence Halls Dining Service. In 1993, she moved to the Career Center, where she worked for the next 17 1/2 years as office manager.

In May 2011, Coralee assumed her current position as secretary to the Dean of the Honors College. As such, her responsibilities include supervising the college's office assistant and student customer service staff, maintaining all of the college's financial records and accounts, and overseeing and managing a vast array of records for the college: student thesis proposals and permissions, student graduation applications, and more. She plans and coordinates all special events for the college. She assists Student Honors Council with activities and events. She informs all Honors College students each week about upcoming events. She assists faculty who intend to take students on both domestic and international field studies.

In all of her duties, Coralee is incredibly efficient and proactive. She anticipates our needs (both in our individual roles and our college needs) with uncanny timeliness. Typically when one of us has realized the need for a report or task, she has already analyzed the data and addressed the task. She conducts necessary research before planning meetings, so that we are all equipped to make our best decisions because of the advance work that she has carried out.

Coralee has provided the same high level of support and assistance to faculty. Our faculty values her advice and support in logistical planning. Coralee is proactive, thorough, and prompt in taking on travel arrangements, taking always-thoughtful steps to make the process as convenient as possible for students and instructor.

Just as important as what Coralee does is how she does it. She is patient with students, faculty, and sometimes staff who fail to follow through with tasks or who need to be told the same thing two or three times. She shows genuine interest in students' activities and successes, helping them overcome hurdles in their progress toward graduation. She attends Honors College banquets and other student celebrations that she isn't required or even expected to attend, but because she cares about the students. She brings out the best in all who work with her; she encourages and kindly mentors those under her supervision to be more reliable and responsible. She treats each person--whether visitor, student, faculty, or staff member--as an individual, not a task.

The devotion to serving and improving the lives of others is the same devotion that has made Coralee a valued colleague and friend to everyone in the Honors College over the past six years. The loss of our previous dean, Jim Ruebel, this past year presented many difficult and unexpected challenges for us, but Coralee's unwavering dedication to our mission significantly and positively impacted our unit's ability to persevere through these tough times.

All of us in the Honors College do our jobs better because of Coralee.

Submitted by Dr. John Emert
Acting Dean, The Honors College
Ball State University

Coralee was surprised with the announcement of her receiving the 2017 Award for Administrative Excellence on Tuesday night, at Ball State University Honors College's senior recognition event, in front of hundreds of students plus friends and family. Congratulations, Coralee!

2017 Honorable Mentions

Janna Barton, San Jacinto College

“Above all else, she tries to find ways to make Honors Program students successful. She brainstorms new ideas for student events and activities—even though it means more work for her. She is famous for taking as long as it needs for a student. If there is an issue with registration or a scholarship, students know they can walk into her office and she will figure it out; she never sends them away until she has solved the problem—which often means working with several departments for up to an hour. I then notice the joy in her voice and spring in her step when she solves the college’s bureaucratic problem that was “holding a student hostage.” That may be one of her greatest joys.”

-Dr. Eddie Weller, San Jacinto College

Lisa Carroll, Oklahoma Christian University

“Ms. Carroll has the full package of talents – she shows meticulous attention to detail and makes managing the money and resources of our program look easy. And she still has time to manifest enormous personal warmth. In spite of her daunting work-load, student and parents see her as a listening ear when they have good news, and a shoulder to cry on when things are tough. It is not an exaggeration to say that Lisa Carroll is the beating heart that keeps our Honors Program functioning. As director of the program, I am grateful every day for her skill, patience and dedication to her work.”

-Dr. Jim Baird, Oklahoma Christian University

Marilyn Clark, George Mason University

“Marilyn opens the college’s doors to students before any other faculty, staff and administration arrive, and she is often here to lock the doors and turn out the lights long after the rest of us have gone home. While officially the Dean’s Executive Assistant, Marilyn works with all twelve of our core staff, all of our affiliated faculty, and our external advisory board members. No task is too big or too small for Marilyn: she manages our budget and makes copies, coordinates our biggest annual events and keeps our office plants alive. None of us could do our jobs without her. She is truly a (centripetal) force to be reckoned with.”

-Dr. John Woolsey, George Mason University

Carrie Desrosiers, Franklin Pierce University

“In addition to all her hard work and professional competence, Ms. Desrosiers is also a wonderfully pleasant person who deals directly with students on a daily basis, helping them identify resources they need, troubleshooting problems with scheduling, and otherwise providing a friendly, reassuring and supportive presence in an atmosphere that can, for students as well as faculty, be stressful. In sum, Ms. Desrosiers has been at the heart of the success of our growing and vibrant honors program.”

-Dr. Robert Goodby, Franklin Pierce University

Pamela Golden, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

“As the sole staff member in such a large University Honors Program, Pam

Golden truly ‘does it all,’ and she does it all extraordinarily well, and with a warm, affirming, motivating personality and a real understanding of what Honors education is and why it is important. At UW–Eau Claire, we would not have a successful, award-winning Honors Program without Pam Golden. She has made us what we are, working both in front of and behind the scenes keep us successful.”

-Dr. Jefford Vahlbusch, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Maggie Hibert, Dominican University of California

“To put simply, Maggie enables me to be the best Honors Director I can be. She keeps me on track, assists me whenever, however, and wherever I need her help to do my job. I am not sure where I would be or how I would have transitioned into this administrative role without her support. The Dominican Honors Program is stronger because of Maggie Hibert.”

-Dr. Gigi Gokcek, Dominican University of California

Lanae’ Jackson, Mesa Community College

“Lanae’ is the “mom” of the program. She provides students with support, encouragement, and a feeling of inclusion. Lanae’ is the only full-time staff for the Honors Program. She welcomes students, has a great sense of humor, and offers students a safe place. Our program is richer is because Lanae’ plays such a major role.”

-Dr. Shereen Lerner, Mesa Community College

Megan Laird, Clarion University of Pennsylvania

“Her efforts on behalf of the Honors Program at Clarion University are indispensable. Megan is an integral part of the Honors Program at Clarion University and I could not successfully serve as the Honors Director without her valuable assistance.”

-Dr. Rod Raeshler, Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Alexandra O’Keefe, University of Louisville

“In honors, everyone’s job is easier and every student’s experience is better because of Alex! She is truly a superstar! She is highly skilled and highly motivated. Plus, she’s creative and thinks broadly, while simultaneously maintaining a careful orientation to details. She’s a self-starter, who envisions new projects and completes them while juggling all of her previous tasks. Over time, she’s taken on more and more responsibility, and, despite the increasingly heavy load, she manages to complete every task admirably. I truly cannot imagine a better administrative assistant (and, in fact, I believe that Alex is capable of leading the entire university)!”

-Dr. Joy Hart, University of Louisville

Carla Pederson, Western Washington University

“Carla is a pleasure to work with—she is happy, humorous, and empathetic. I enjoy our conversations about work and otherwise. She plays a valuable role for Honors students, especially the first-year students. She listens to their stories with a sympathetic and nonjudgmental ear. The work study students and Honors Student Board members are especially fond of her. Carla’s interaction with parents and prospective students is very important to the Program. She works hard to accommodate their needs and represent the Program in a positive light.”

-Dr. Scott Linneman, Western Washington University

Cindy Pisapia, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

“Cindy is our tireless heroine. Along with the day-to-day running of the Honors office, she is fully in charge of organizing our annual Convocation for approximately two hundred people, which includes organizing the dinner, speakers, prizes, etc. She is our institutional memory, reminding me (the director) what I am supposed to do and when.”

-Dr. Catherine Gardner, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Jeanne Platt, Widener University

“Everyone who knows Jeanne knows she is absolutely indispensable to the Honors Program. She not only brings her good cheer to work every day, keeping the Honors ship afloat, but also carries her dedication across campus. The Honors director and the entire university community owe her a debt of gratitude for the extraordinary talents she brings to the job every day, including her intelligence, unflappable demeanor, and unfailing sense of humor. She is quite simply the best!”

-Dr. Ilene Lieberman, Widener University

Julie Rosenau, Greenville Technical College

“She always has a smile on her face and is compassionate and inviting to current and potential Honors students. She devotes her time to providing academic support to our student body when needed. She is a confidant to the students, offering advice that draws from her own experiences in college, to assist them when they need guidance. She also provides students with constructive criticism when they need it as well. The students have enormous respect for Julie, they trust her and confide in her, and it is evident that she feels very strongly for them as well. She genuinely wants each of them to be successful and productive. She also aims to be a smiling face they can rely on when they need it. She never lets them down.”

-Professor April Dove, Greenville Technical College

Nellie Schuckman, Johnson County Community College

“When Nellie came on board I had been interim for one semester while still teaching in my discipline. We both had a lot to learn. I was in the process of streamlining practices in the honors office that hadn’t been updated in over 20 years, as well as trying to sort through the previous files of a director who had retired mid-semester leaving the office without a director for 6 months. Things were chaotic. Not only did Nellie have to learn old systems that were being replaced with new systems she had to put up with me. She is a sounding board for me, an emphatic listener for the students and a professional when dealing with faculty.”

-Professor Anna Page, Johnson County Community College

Rachel Stanley, Missouri Southern State University

“Knowing that Rachel can assist me with any problems that arise during this process, or even at any other time during the semester, is comforting. I know that when I assign her a task, or put her in charge of an event, I won't need to micromanage or worry that the results will be disappointing. Like me, Rachel is not satisfied with subpar work, and she gives every student, event, and idea her full and undivided attention. More than that, I value her ideas and input. I solicit her opinions when considering changes and improvements to the program, whether we are discussing the Honors point system, senior theses, or ways to connect with alumni. She helps to create a working environment that anyone would be thrilled to join.”

-Dr. Michael Howarth, Missouri Southern State University

Kay Thierheimer, Lone Star College-CyFair

“I believe that the highest compliment offered by students is that they often seek “seat time” in the small chair next to Kay’s desk in order to have the opportunity to talk to her about whatever is happening in their lives at that moment. Her calm demeanor in the midst of crisis is key to the success of our program. She goes above and beyond in every aspect of her job, and all that she does on a daily basis is in service to our students- she is beloved.”

-Professor Esther Robinson, Lone Star College-CyFair

Andrea Vella, The College at Brockport, SUNY

“We often refer to Andrea as “the surrogate mother of all Honors students,” and for good reason. Andrea keeps track of our students’ performance in the College, sometimes reminding them by name about deadlines urgent for efficient progress through their academic programs and flagging for us students who, her analysis suggests, are not advancing appropriately. Because of her helpful interventions and her authoritative deliveries of information through regular emails and other means, students naturally look to Andrea for informal advisement about Honors requirements, and she gladly helps. Greeting each student who enters the office with a genuine, welcoming smile, Andrea is eager to assist, but the help she offers transcends the valuable information she presents, for Andrea adopts a demeanor appropriate to the student in question: she is firm with those who require exhortation and gentle with those who might need encouragement.”

-Dr. Donna Koval & Dr. Austin Busch, The College at Brockport, SUNY

Charlotte Wray, Iona College

“I could not run the Program without Charlotte, plain and simple. Perhaps I can provide some longer term "vision" or "big picture" to the Program, but for the day to day running of the Program it is all Charlotte. Our students feel her as a constant presence and they rely on her for everything. They answer her emails with much greater consistency than they ever would mine. She is far more necessary and impactful on their lives than any of the Directors have been, but her indispensability is only exceeded by her humility.”

-Dr. Kim Paffenroth, Iona College

Debra Young, Converse College

“Debra is extremely dedicated to her work. She is supposed to work only 4 days a week, from 8:30 am to 6 pm, but many times I have come and found her still here past 6 pm because she wanted to honor her commitment to complete a task and to make sure she did a good job. Frequently she eats lunch at her desk, not only because she has work to do but also because she wants to make sure that the phone is not left unattended. Her dedication means that she cares about excellence, and it shows.”