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Sept. 26, 2005
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

EMU Institutional Values Award winners rewarded for hard work, creativity

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University honored its innovators at the Third Annual Institutional Values Awards presented at the fall convocation Sept. 23 at Pease Auditorium.

            “Celebrating values is something we do far too little of these days, yet I think most would agree that values are more than mere words, they define how we live our lives,” said EMU President John Fallon. “Values help us to choose to do the right things and, only by doing the right things can we attain the excellence that we speak about so often.  So, I salute our winners for choosing to do the right things and doing them in an exemplary manner.”

            The purpose of this institution-wide award program is to recognize the exemplary efforts of individuals or teams working to support the EMU mission, guiding principles and institutional values. Individual awards were given in three categories and two awards were given to honor team excellence. Each award carries a $3,500 monetary stipend, funded by the EMU Foundation. In cases where a team won an award, the stipend will be divided equally among the team’s members.

            Winners and their respective categories are as follows:

Dick Schwarze, University photographer, won the award for Continuous Improvement, Innovation and/or Customer Service

His nominators wrote, “His versatility in service to the institution is reflected in a complete spectrum of images from journalistic to artistic to action shots to an extensive visual record of events, activities and people on and around campus.”

As a one-person department, he works closely with divisions, units and students to ensure that visual images of the University are professional, fresh, vibrant, compelling and accessible and that they visually convey EMU’s primary messages. But taking pictures, his nominator wrote, is only part of the story. “Dick understands that inertia breeds complacency and there is no room for either in his professional environment. He has embraced the versatility of technological evolution necessary for success. Remaining at the forefront of this evolution and providing a continual level of service excellence requires vision, initiative, agility, an affinity for technology and a propensity for hard work. Dick Schwarze exemplifies all of these.”

Judy Sturgis Hill, interim director of diversity and assistant professor of communication and theatre arts, is the winner of the Diversity, Human Dignity, Multicultural/International Involvement award.

Sturgis Hill first came to EMU in 1970 as an undergraduate student and she has never left. Instead, she has enriched the EMU community throughout her 35-year journey as a student, an educator and a facilitator of inclusion, diversity and opportunity. As an undergraduate, she was EMU’s first-ever forensics national champion. As a forensics coach, she challenged students’ ideas and promoted a sensitivity of the messages of their performance pieces. As a teacher in communications, she built into her instruction safe opportunities for students to examine and evaluate their own beliefs, attitudes and values toward others, especially those different than themselves. As a faculty-in-residence, she modeled for her students the art of living an inclusive life. As the interim director of diversity for the institution, she leads the University’s continuing mission to celebrate and accept differences.

As one supporter wrote, “Because of Judy’s wide range of experiences at EMU, she is able to offer the campus community a unique perspective and distinctive approach to guidance that is rare. Her motivation rests with the people she serves, and her genuine dedication and concern for their personal and academic well-being. It is in her ability to include all people into the human family, despite their race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, political beliefs or abilities that makes her valuable.”

Joseph Ohren, professor of political science and director of the master of public administration program (MPA), won the award for Public Engagement and Community Service. Ohren also serves as the Coordinator of Public Service at the Institute for Community and Regional Development (ICARD).

Ohren has been instrumental in making community service a vital part of the academic experience for EMU students. For the past two decades, he has been a principal liaison to local governments for the MPA program and the undergraduate programs in public administration and public safety administration in the department of political science. Under his leadership, more than 60 local communities and state local agencies have received training and technical support, primarily in goal-setting and strategic planning. In 1998-99, he coordinated a statewide symposium on the future of local government in Michigan, working with these statewide associations under the auspices of the Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

His students have reaped the benefits of his linkages to not only local communities, but those throughout southeastern Michigan, as well. Not only do many of them work for these communities as part of internships or in full-time positions upon graduation, they also benefit from his research and active participation in every level of local government. His nominator said, “his applied research activities almost always provide opportunities for students to develop their research and administrative skills. Over the years, they have had an opportunity to work closely with him as he assists local communities across a range of activities.”

• The Institutional Values Award in the category of Team Excellence was presented to The Melissa Mail Team, a cross-divisional team.  The team includes: Shucha Baveja, admissions; Malcolm Marts, plant support services; Anne McKee, admissions; and Dawn Stovall, admissions.

This team was created a year ago when the members observed a situation, collaborated on an innovative solution and new technology was used to allow each team member to better perform his or her job, streamline work processes and made changes that resulted in a cost savings for the University.

It all started when Marts talked with Stovall and McKee about a way to reduce the postage costs for large mailings to prospective students. He realized that admissions volume of mail with similar content was eligible to receive substantially lower cost-per-unit postage. The only thing necessary was to use a software system — Melissa Mail — to sort the mail.

After more discussions and a review of work processes, it was determined that the change was feasible and would benefit the University tremendously. The team went into action to make it happen. Baveja worked with the existing Banner system and Melissa Mail, and the first mailing of 4,200 pieces was completed in just less than four hours. The first five mailings under the new collaborative system saved the University $4,478. At the conclusion of fiscal year 2004-05, the savings had increased to $33,375.

The team’s nominator wrote, “The team’s efforts and the results of the Melissa and personalized admissions mailings have benefited students with a quicker response time to information they request. In our competitive environment, responding to students quickly with personalized information cane make a difference in their perceptions of the University. And being able to communicate more frequently is valuable in marketing the University to prospective students. By reducing our costs for individual mailings, we have the capacity to respond more frequently, more promptly and more cost effectively.”

• The 2005 Institutional Values Award for Contribution to the Quality of the Student Learning Experience is presented to The Artists and Exhibitions Committee from the Art Department, whose members include Melanie Buffington, assistant professor; Chris Hyndman, coordinator of speaker series; Andrew Maniotes, coordinator of Graphic Design; Julia Myers, professor; Larry Newhouse, Ford Gallery Program Director; and Richard Rubenfeld, professor.

While most university galleries rely on packaged traveling exhibitions, EMU’s A&E committee made a decision to produce the majority of exhibitions themselves for 2004-05. All but one of its Ford Gallery exhibitions last year were original to EMU. And while the Ford Gallery has traditionally presented exhibitions of contemporary art, art historians Julie Myers and Richard Rubenfeld curated three exhibitions of historical art. These exhibitions are much more research-intensive than those that feature contemporary art and artists, and gave Myers and Rubenfeld an opportunity to bring history to students visually.

 Another highlight of the year was the first-ever publication of color, fully illustrated calendars of events for fall and winter terms, both designed by Andrew Maniotes. The lecture series, organized and coordinated by Chris Hyndman, featured nationally and internationally recognized artists and art educators. Reaching out beyond the University community, Melanie Buffington, a professional art educator specializing in museum education, worked with school groups visiting the gallery to help them learn as they toured. The group, as a whole, contributed extraordinarily to student learning experiences by creating a vital center for learning about the visual arts.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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