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St. Catherine University honors staff and faculty at annual awards celebration

Kristina Bonsager is one of two faculty to be honored with a Faculty Teaching and Advising Award in Our Lady of Victory Chapel on Friday.
Kristina Bonsager is one of two faculty to be honored with a Faculty Teaching and Advising Award in Our Lady of Victory Chapel on Friday.
Photo by Hilary Stein '14.

Five members of the St. Catherine University staff and faculty were honored for their exceptional service and achievements at the University’s annual awards celebration, held Friday, May 11, in Our Lady of Victory Chapel on the University's St. Paul campus.

In addition, recognition was given to employees celebrating five to 40 years of service to the University.

Service and Support Staff award

Colleagues nominate their peers for annual awards that recognize members of the staff who exemplify service, competence and creativity, and members of the faculty who model teaching and advising excellence.

The first staff award, honoring an individual in the service and support area, was presented to Payroll Specialist Shelley Wefald. 

A St. Catherine alumna, Wefald was honored for her initiative in a job that is constantly barraged by changes in state and federal regulations. She was instrumental in the successful rollout of two initiatives that have saved considerable money and employee time — not to mention trees — by reducing the number of paper forms that the business office mails.

Despite a variety of interruptions and exceptional situations, Wefald was praised for her patience and ability to work under pressure.

Administrative staff awards

The University honored two staff members with administrative staff awards on Friday.

The first award was presented to Assistant Director for Academic Computing Nancy Hendrickson.

Hendrickson spearheaded the choice of a new course management system and worked tirelessly to make the transition to the new system successful.  Because of her innovative ideas and tireless work, the transition was seamless.

A colleague’s letter of support said “Nancy consistently inspires excellence — and her enthusiasm for online and hybrid learning is truly contagious!”

Another letter of support noted: "Our institution needs brilliant technology personnel who have keen communication skills, and Nancy more than satisfies this need. She is more than a skillful and acknowledged staff member — she is trustworthy, sincere and tirelessly calm in the face of pressure."

The second award was given to Director of Facilities Management James Manship. Colleagues’ letters of support described Manship as “an original” and as a leader who always “takes the high road” in tough situations.

A key player in the development of the University’s master space plan and sustainability efforts, Manship was praised for his open communication style and impeccable customer service skills.

During 2011, despite an incredibly tight timeframe, he made sure that both the installation of the cadaver labs in Mendel and the Fontbonne renovation for the integrative research lab were on time and on budget.

Faculty of the Year Awards

Two exceptional St. Catherine faculty members were honored with 2012 Faculty Teaching and Advising Awards. Faculty members selected for this honor represent the highest quality of teaching and dedication to effective mentoring and academic advising.

“They are selected from an impressive faculty that, itself, embodies the highest tiers of academic excellence and student centeredness,” said University President Andrea J. Lee, IHM.

Members of the St. Kate's community nominate faculty members for the award and faculty are chosen based on the following criteria: maintaining high academic standards, being an effective teacher, and providing quality mentoring and advising. 

The first of the 2012 awardees named was Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Amy Hamlin. (Below, Amy Hamlin receives a Faculty Teaching and Advising Award in Our Lady of Victory Chapel on Friday. Photo by Hilary Stein '14.)hamlin

On faculty since 2008, Amy Hamlin was praised for having a transformative effect on her students’ lives.  

In a letter of support, one student said: “When Professor Hamlin came into my life, my expectations for myself as well as my ambition and future goals changed and grew.  She genuinely believed in me… as a result, my grades started to climb and I started to make the Dean’s list. It was a ‘domino effect’; my desire for achievement and experience in academics, as well as my personal confidence in myself completely changed. “

As a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Hamlin is taking the lead in promoting academic excellence in the College for Women. She is a valued colleague who helps the entire community appreciate the arts. 

One faculty colleague wrote in a letter of support: “Amy makes it look easy— providing students with a safe learning environment that allows them to take risks, while insisting on academic excellence and fostering opportunities for success.”

The second Faculty Teaching and Advising Award winner was Assistant Professor of Spanish Kristina Bonsager.

A St. Kate’s faculty member since 2006, Bonsager received many letters of support—from students she advises and those in her Spanish and Global Search for Justice courses.

There was even a letter from one who has never been her student— but whose life she affected nonetheless. 

Letters of support described her as being not only passionate about the Spanish language, but also about the literature and the culture of Spain, as Bonsager is one who pays attention to the intersection of art, language, literacy and history. 

Bonsager was also praised for being a tireless advocate for the value of learning a second — or third or fourth— language, and being equally committed to providing opportunities for students to study abroad – truly immersing themselves in a different language and a different culture. 

As one student wrote in a letter of support:  “She has empowered my mind and my spirit."

Acknowledgements

The faculty and staff recognition and awards program and the year-end campus celebration, the “Dew Drop Bop,” is a collaborative effort of several St. Catherine University offices, including:

  • The Facilities Department
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Meeting and Events Services
  • President’s Office staff
  • Residence Life
  • The St. Kate’s Activities Team, and
  • The Student Center and Activities Office

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May 14, 2012 by Julie Michener

See also: Alumnae/i, Faculty, Leadership