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COB presents first college-wide awards for coaching, creativity and caring

Three University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty and staff members are the first recipients of a new program that recognizes employees for their contributions to the college in the areas of coaching, creativity, and culture of caring. Dean Diane Hoadley presented each recipient with an award and $500 at a college-wide meeting held Friday, January 31. The awards were funded by the emeriti members of the college’s Business Advisory Council.

Carla Kurz, program assistant in the Department of Management and Marketing, was the recipient of the Fall 2013 Coaching Award. The award is presented to an employee who improved the performance of students, faculty, and staff through effective guidance, advising, or mentoring. 

Bonnie Krahn, graphic artist in the Dean’s Office, was honored with the Fall 2013 Creativity Award. The award is presented to a faculty or staff member who generated novel and valuable ideas and used these ideas to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, programs, or services.

Dr. Nancy Hanson-Rasmussen, assistant professor in the Department of Management and Marketing, received the Fall 2013 Culture of Caring award. The award is presented to an employee who demonstrated outstanding personal and professional service to College of Business employees and stakeholders.

By focusing on workplace values, the new College of Business awards program represents a departure from traditional university programs that honor high performing teachers, advisers and researchers.

“While teaching, advising and researching are important to the success of the college, they don’t operate in a vacuum,” said Hoadley. “These activities need the right culture to flourish.”

Hoadley also felt it was important that the new program be available to all COB personnel.

“People are at the center of everything we do so it is important that we maintain a positive and engaged workplace for all employees—faculty and staff,” said Hoadley.

In spring 2013 Hoadley convened a committee of five COB faculty and staff members to develop a pilot college-wide recognition program. Members of the committee were Emily Elsner Twesme, Business Communication; Cindy Hofacker, Business Communication; Gretchen Hutterli, Dean’s Office; Scott Lester, Management and Marketing; and Rebecca Wyland, Management and Marketing.

Early in the planning process the committee decided to develop an awards program that recognized employees for their personal and collaborative activities and accomplishments. They searched HR literature for best practices and researched employee awards programs on the UW-Eau Claire campus and at other universities. They also surveyed the faculty and staff to learn the types of recognitions they valued. 

As a result of their work, the committee created two separate recognitions: the informal “You’ve been caught!” shout out where employees write handwritten notes to their co-workers to recognize a personal achievement or special kindness; and the formal, semi-annual major awards program where individuals nominated their colleagues for their contributions to the college’s workplace values of coaching, creativity, and culture of caring.

Informal feedback the committee has received about both pilot recognitions has been favorable. 

“Our new employee recognition program has the potential to have a very positive impact on our lives at the College of Business,” said Hoadley.

COB Employee Award Recipients

Coaching Award: Carla Kurz, program assistant, Department of Management & Marketing

On a daily basis, Carla Kurz serves as a coach to multiple constituents including her department chair, faculty and instructional academic staff, other classified staff, and students. Because her department is the largest one in the college, she frequently works with 4–5 new faculty and instructional staff members each year.

Kurz’s knowledge of university policy and procedures is so extensive that one department chair frequently refers to her as “Dr. Kurz.” Faculty and staff check with her when they have questions about travel, budgets, book orders, teaching evaluations, expense reports, registration issues, etc. She is very adept at connecting faculty, staff member or student with the right person on campus to handle a specific issue.

Not only is Kurz a great coach, but she also possesses a dedication and work ethic that enables her to continually respond to the demands for her institutional expertise. She is always willing to stop what she is doing to help coach people through their specific challenge or task even if that means staying past 4:30 pm. Her willingness to help people learn new systems and policies, as well as her skill in effectively communicating this critical information to her constituents, makes her an extremely important asset to her department as well as the college.

Creativity Award: Bonnie Krahn, graphic artist, Dean’s Office

Bonnie Krahn can always be counted on her to come up with new and fresh ideas. She is a dedicated, hardworking individual who jumps right into a project and does what needs to be done, even if that means working after hours at night or on weekends.

Because Krahn is very versatile, the COB can do projects in-house that others on campus have to job out. Krahn has designed logos, invitations, web banners, posters, fliers, wall graphics, reports, brochures, PowerPoint presentations, email announcements, electronic newsletters, nametags, t-shirts, certificates, advertisements, and other marketing items for the college and its department and programs. Her work is always on time and professionally render in a style that is consistent with the university’s and college’s brand.

In addition to being very creative, Krahn is one of the most technically competent people in the College of Business. Her knowledge of CommonSpot, Sharepoint, html, and Flash, for example, has allowed the college to function without a web developer.

Krahn’s work has been recognized by professionals outside the college and the university—she is the recipient of five Pride of CASE V awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the organization for professionals in higher education who work in alumni relations, communications and marketing, and development.

Culture of Caring Award: Nancy Hanson-Rasmussen, assistant professor, Department of Management and Marketing

Nancy Hanson-Rasmussen is always the first person to volunteer to help—whether it is teaching a class for someone on leave, proctoring an exam for someone who is sick, leading a 4-hour cultural experiential exercise for graduate students without the expectation of getting paid, or stepping in at the last minute to help coordinate the college’s international business program.

Hanson-Rasmussen shows her concern for others in many ways. Through her ongoing involvement in Blugold Beginnings, she inspires 5th grade students to believe that a post-secondary education is important and attainable. She regularly meets with prospective students and their families and she is a great ambassador for the department. Because her office door is always open, students frequently seek her out for advice. As a mentor to new faculty members and visiting faculty members, she has played an integral role in helping them become familiar with the campus and the Eau Claire community. 

The courses Hanson-Rasmussen teaches—Organizational Behavior, Sustainable Management, and Diversity in the Workplace—also demonstrate her ongoing concern for people, the environment, and global issues. She frequently brings in guest speakers to challenge students’ perceptions regarding the value of sustainable business practices and the need to have a work force that reflects a mixture of diverse ages, abilities, cultures, genders, religions, and races.