As part of Staff Appreciation Month, 10 UNT staff members were recognized at the annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon April 2 for their exemplary contributions to the university with the following awards:
Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award recognizes staff members who demonstrate a passion for their work, the institution and the UNT tradition. The recipient shows promise in his or her work field and is making a large impact on the UNT community in the short time (six months to two years) that he or she has been a part of the university.
Brittany Landau, Student Affairs
As Coordinator of Special Projects for the Division of Student Affairs, Brittany’s responsibilities vary greatly, but she always approaches her work with professionalism to get everything done. Last year, as the Chair of the Event Safety Committee, Brittany reviewed 1,070 student events which resulted in 224 phone meetings and 127 in-person meetings. Thanks to Brittany, the Event Safety Committee is now a support to students, rather than a hurdle. She also expanded the Future Eagles Program to enable 2,200 Denton ISD sixth graders to experience college for a day. Brittany helped start UNT’s summer bridge program for foster care alumni, and has a great relationship with her students. When one of her bridge students was in a car accident, Brittany went to the hospital and remained there until they felt safe. She is not only hard-working and passionate, but is extremely selfless and caring to everyone she meets.
UNT Spirit Award
The UNT Spirit Award recognizes staff members who consistently demonstrate a sense of pride in being a part of the UNT community by supporting staff, faculty and students, and by always promoting the university in a positive light.
Tennie Jones, Risk Management Services
Tennie is behind most of the Risk Management Services department’s spirit activities. Last year, for homecoming, she organized a full-scale version of the gameshow “Wipe Out” to create a fun environment for team building. Tennie brings the team together with her generous efforts and great spirit. She actively volunteers on the division-wide event planning committee, even though she has many other work responsibilities to balance. She meets with the team once a month to help with departmental events, and is focused on providing the members with professional development and resources for work-life balance.
Sherri Snyder, Advancement
Sheri bleeds green in every area of her life, displaying Mean Green pride everywhere — from her office space to her car to her every day attire. She’s a proud UNT alumna, an active member of the UNT Alumni Association, and she supports KNTU, the campus radio station, as a Loyal Eagle. In other words, she’s a well-rounded and passionate Mean Green fan. When she sees a stranger off-campus wearing UNT attire, she greets them with an eagle caw. She also loves engaging with students and she never fails to make them feel instantly at home. Her mission is to make every student feel included, and she determinedly “likes” all UNT-focused tweets sent from incoming students, just so they know they are welcomed to the UNT family.
Customer Service Award
The UNT Staff Customer Service Award acknowledges staff members who establish and maintain positive and effective working relationships with fellow staff, faculty, students and internal/external customers. They are dedicated to continuously improving customer satisfaction, exceeding expectations and reacting appropriately to ensure customer satisfaction. They also demonstrate excellence in resolving conflicts and when facing challenges.
Chris Foster, Student Financial Services
Chris is a valued member of the Student Financial Services team, handling complex problems and calculations with a positive attitude. When issues arise, Chris thoughtfully researches each situation and provides careful consideration before presenting the best possible solution. He actively monitors feedback from customers to ensure that the work of he and his team exceeds expectations. He and his team understand that their work directly impacts student enrollment and he is focused on eliminating financial roadblocks to ensure student success.
Louise Dunn, Office of the President
Louise is one of the first faces you see when you enter the Offices of the President and Provost in the Hurley Administration Building. She always has a smile on her face, greets everyone with a personal welcome and makes visitors feel immediately at home. Louise is very positive and inviting, and has been a tremendous asset to the UNT Staff Senate. She almost always volunteers for Staff Senate events and has helped out at UNT football games, toy drives, and more. She is very involved in planning and executing the Staff Senate Lunch and Learns and always attends to show support.
Student Success Award
UNT is focused on ensuring every student gets the resources and services they need to succeed. This award recognizes staff members who have gone above and beyond their normal job requirements to contribute to the success of a UNT student or group of students.
Gina Vanacore, Student Affairs
As the Executive Director of Housing and Residence Life, Gina led her staff in creating a more intentionally inclusive living and learning environment for residence hall students. Under her direction, the Housing and Residence Life staff participated in the five-model Inclusion, Equity and Community Building series, a training that bolstered their personal, professional, and academic development. Her unit continues to seek staff training and is focused on building cultural humility. Gina is focused on ensuring that students feel comfortable and safe within their residence hall, and she has partnered with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Dean of Students Office to collaborate on the appropriate response to identity-based critical incidents.
Brad Davis, Technical Communication
Brad has spent countless hours selflessly assisting his student lab assistants, serving about 3,500 students in Technical Communication courses each year. He implements a performance evaluation system for each student lab, and provides individual coaching sessions each semester based on bimonthly reports of each student. He always looks for ways to improve the lab environments, and even renovated Auditorium 308 into a collaborative learning space with his own manual labor when renovations weren’t originally approved. He is committed to improving the learning experience of our Technical Communication students, and is willing to help any one of them, providing a lot of individual attention, which helps prepare students for the professional world.
Steve Miller Outstanding Employee
Named in memory of Steve Miller, former assistant vice president of Human Resources, this award recognizes staff members whose contributions have positively impacted their division or department and the university. This is the highest honor a UNT staff member can receive.
Paul Goebel, Student Money Management
Paul goes above and beyond to help students with their financial needs, often assisting with enrollment, issuing reminders about payment deadlines, encouraging on-time graduation and developing personalized plans to pay off debt. He understands that students’ schedules don’t always work with his 8-5 day, so Paul often stays late or comes in early so that he can accommodate everyone. The Student Money Management Center, which he directs, is recognized by local, state, and even national levels, and with Paul’s help, the department has expanded immensely. There are now more than 100 on- and off-campus community collaborations that support the Financial Readiness Program, the Financial Wellness Program, and the Financial Support Program. He and his department assist and support more than 15,000 students each year through their educational programs and services.
Joanna Hussey, Academic Affairs
Joanna has worked for UNT for eight years, and she is always on task, completing everything on time and putting forth her uttermost effort — and it shows. She is extremely dedicated to the division of Academic Affairs as the Senior Project Program Coordinator; even while planning her daughter’s wedding, preparing for the birth of her first grandchild, and caring for her elderly parents, Joanna didn’t skip a beat when it came to the critical day-to-day operations and the numerous special events that had to be carried out. Joanna also always goes out of her way to help others, treating them with kindness and respect. She always has a smile on her face, and when meeting with faculty, staff and students, she never fails to make every one of them feel appreciated and heard. She is committed to strengthening her professional relationships, and therefore she provides fantastic mentorship and support to administrative staff on campus.
Joel Wiley, College of Music
Joel is incredibly committed to the College of Music and has been instrumental in increasing enrollment since he began in 2011. He established the College of Music Ambassador Program, which gets students excited about the College of Music through tours, audition help, and answering questions. Since the program has started, it has grown from four ambassadors to eight in just four years. Because of Joel, UNT’s presence at international conferences, recruitment fairs and worldwide audition events has increased significantly. He is respected nationally for his recent publication in the Journal of Educational Administration and History. Joel is dedicated to helping students flourish and personally navigates them through the admissions and audition processes for the College of Music. He is a devoted employee who thrives to help the College of Music grow and maintain its superior reputation. .