Staff Performance Award

The Award for 2018

rodney dixon and vonnie shields
Mr. Rodney Dixon and Acting Dean Vonnie Shields

The FCSM Staff Performance Award is given for demonstrated outstanding skills in the staff member’s position, for proven ability to maintain a high-quality, efficient and effective operation, and for being an outstanding team player. This is a category where we have often given multiple awards—this has happened five times in the past, including both in 2016 and in 2017. It happened again this year, except that this time the selection committee (i.e., the FCSM chairs and program directors) went a step further than before. Presented with three nominees with very similar profiles and accomplishments, the committee declined to split hairs in order to choose between these three fine, fine staff members and instead decided to give the award to all three. Consequently, this year—for the first time, we have three winners in this most contested of categories!

The first of our awardees has been a lab manager for his department for more than 28 years. During that time and as enrollments have increased, he has come to manage labs that support more than 2000 students per year. Supporting these labs is a time-consuming job that involves preparation of materials, lab set up, and hazardous waste management; there are also security issues. Yet, the awardee always gets the job done in a timely and efficient manner; and moreover, he is always willing to help with additional requests from the instructors he supports.

However, the fact that our recipient’s core responsibilities have grown considerably has not changed his level of dedication to the department. He still consistently goes above and beyond his job description and readily takes on extra tasks to ensure that the department continues to run smoothly. For example, he researches additional equipment to assist in curriculum modifications, improve lab activities, and streamline the labs’ operations; he has also been willing to take on operations management responsibilities in times of staff turnover and has long served as the departmental “go-to” person for dealing with safety and behavioral issues. To quote from the nomination packet: “His presence lends a sense of security and safety to the department.”

For an excellent work ethic and commitment, the 2018 Staff Performance Award goes to Mr. Rodney Dixon from the Department of Chemistry.

(As presented by Acting Associate Dean Angel Kumchev at the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics Forum on December 7, 2018.)