ETSU presents 2020 Distinguished Staff Awards

ETSU honored seven dedicated employees with Distinguished Staff Awards earlier this month. From left, Maria Kalis, Teresa Williams, ETSU President Brian Noland, Beth Skinner, Mike Orr, Lisa Fields, ETSU Staff Senate President Candy Massey, Jennifer Mayberry and Leah Adinolfi.

Seven individuals were honored by the East Tennessee State University Staff Senate in the presentation of the 2020 Distinguished Staff Awards.

Outstanding staff members are nominated by their peers for these awards, which include a $2,000 check provided by the ETSU Foundation and an engraved recognition memento from the Staff Senate. 

Awards are presented annually to staff members whose performance of assigned tasks, positive attitude in working with others, commitment to the university community, and exercise of extraordinary courage deserve recognition and inspire other employees.

The 2020 winners, who were recognized in a special ceremony earlier this month, were:

Leah Adinolfi, associate dean of students in Student Life and Enrollment, is recognized for the critical roles she played in both the renovation of ETSU’s D.P. Culp Student Center and the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adinolfi was a member of the Culp Center construction leadership team and several of its subgroups throughout the project before assuming principal leadership responsibility for the completion of the project. She chaired the Culp Center reopening committee and coordinated the week-long grand opening celebration. Adinolfi’s nomination also praises her for her work as the university’s liaison with Sodexo Dining Services in the face of COVID-19. In that role, she helped ensure that food service operations were maintained and social distancing practices were observed for students who remained on campus.

Beth Skinner, who joined the university in January 2017, is the first person to serve as supervisor of the Department of Theatre and Dance Costume Shop, which her nominator calls “an important and impactful artistic learning laboratory.” Skinner supervises 20-30 student workers in the lab, as well as onstage and backstage during productions, in the creation and fitting of hundreds of actor costumes each year. Her nominator praises her for developing strong, positive relationships with all of the faculty, staff and students in the department and for putting the interests of the students first. “Maintaining positive professional working relationships is particularly important in Theatre and Dance because our work is so collaborative,” her nominator wrote. “These collaborative efforts in the Costume Shop can be extremely sensitive and challenging because the work can be so personal. Beth Skinner handles this aspect of her job superbly.”

Teresa Williams, who joined the ETSU staff in 1997, is described as “the heart and soul of advisement at ETSU.” As director of University Advisement, Williams provides support for ETSU’s academic advisors, giving them information and resources they need. She invites colleagues and faculty from across campus to share information on new developments, courses and degree programs that advisors may pass along to the students. “Teresa leads with her heart and treats everyone around her, staff and students alike, with compassion,” her nominator wrote. “She never has a harsh word for anyone, and she approaches every challenge with calm and empathy. In short, Teresa supports us advisors so that we can support students so that students can go on to do great things.”

Lisa Fields, assistant director of Postal and Passport Services at ETSU, has been employed by the university for over 31 years. Fields ensures that all supplies are ordered to maintain optimal efficiency in the various sections of postal mail, Passport and Photo Services, mail sorting, and delivery and bulk mail and print services. When the university determined that Postal and Passport Services would take over the process for getting all print jobs approved, processed or printed for the campus in 2018, Fields successfully assumed additional duties. She was also instrumental in coordinating and working with dozens of contractors in the renovation of the Culp Center, and particularly the Postal and Passport Services area. In addition, Fields played a vital role in making sure that Postal and Passport Services remained open every day and fully operational even with reduced staff when COVID-19 forced almost the entire campus to work from home.

Maria Kalis, executive aide in the ETSU Department of Chemistry, is praised for her commitment to her colleagues and students, her efficiency and her customer service skills. As stated by her department chair, Kalis “entered a tumultuous situation with a green, new Chair, no continuity, and no institutional knowledge within the department. Maria had to learn or invent almost everything for herself, and she has done a remarkable job of it, bringing competency and professionalism to all the routine administrative tasks (and) displaying tremendous initiative in making things better.” In addition to reorganizing the office and working on promotional materials, web sites, social media and other outreach efforts, Kalis demonstrates exceptional kindness to others.

Jennifer Mayberry began her career in ETSU’s Department of Public Safety 12 years ago in the patrol division. After being promoted to investigations, she assumed duties as the department’s first accreditation manager and ensured that the department received its initial accreditation in 2013. She has also served as grant manager, helping the Department of Public Safety to receive at least $5,000 in grant funding each year since 2010, including $15,000 in 2011 to aid in the purchase of a new police vehicle and $15,000 in 2015 that allowed the purchase of new equipment. In addition, Mayberry has been the department’s training officer since 2015, ensuring that each officer meets the required state standards to maintain certification. She assists with Rape Aggression Defense programs, continues her work in investigations, and serves as the department’s liaison with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and as a member of the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System Board.

The 2020 Career Award was presented to Mike Orr of the Department of Public Safety. Orr has been a member of the department for over 28 years, working his way up to the rank of lieutenant. In this role, he is over patrol and investigations, and through the years, he has worked or assisted in all types of calls imaginable. Orr is praised for his dedication to the Department of Public Safety and for insisting on positive attitudes during times of transition.


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