This year, nine UBC staff members are recognized for their contributions of excellence for enhancing the UBC experience, leadership and creativity, global citizenship, emerging leadership, and advancing Diversity and inclusion, as part of the University’s awards and recognition program.
The President’s Staff Awards (Vancouver Campus) recognize the personal achievements and contributions of staff to UBC and to the vision and goals of the University.
Enhancing the UBC Experience
Jennifer Bendl, Development & Alumni Engagement
Jennifer Bendl, Director, Events & Stewardship, for Development & Alumni Engagement, is the architect of many events and programs for UBC’s key donors and alumni, ensuring that UBC is seen in the best light by our partners.
To launch the award-winning Start An Evolution campaign, Jennifer conceived and helped execute a series of seven launch events in Vancouver and Kelowna, reaching a wide range of audiences including the Board of Governors, donors, alumni, students, faculty, staff, media, and
external partners. Jennifer and her team also extended the successful Alumni Dialogues program, connecting UBC’s academics to communities across BC, Canada, and internationally.
The launch events were instrumental to building enthusiasm with UBC’s alumni and donors. Not only has the Campaign exceeded its goals for the year; on-going events and programs are generating excitement among supporters for future events.
Shannon Sterling, Student Development
Shannon Sterling, Student Development Officer, is recognized for her commitment to creating a quality experience for students. From being the “brains” behind the operation for Imagine Day, to supporting flagship events such as the Student Leadership Conference, Shannon strives to provide students with the best possible experience.
With the Student Leadership Conference, Shannon has guided and facilitated the student planning team to develop into a strong community, to plan and prepare outstanding programming for others. Indeed, the “slow growth” of the Student Leadership Conference has helped the conference develop into an annual tradition at UBC as an unparalleled opportunity for student-centric professional development and networking.
Shannon was nominated for the President’s Staff Award by students with whom she has worked. She is described as a positive role model who defines her own success by the success of the staff and students she works with. She is a mentor for the students, as well as others in Student Development.
Martin Dee, Public Affairs
If you’ve visited the UBC website, or seen photos of UBC in print, then you are likely familiar with the work Martin Dee, University Photographer with Public Affairs. Martin has played a crucial role for more than 20 years in chronicling the accomplishments of UBC and its community. In the words of one colleague, “Quite simply, his photographs have made us look good.”
Martin’s photography has generated international exposure for UBC, gracing numerous media vehicles from billboards, to websites, to publications. Martin’s work is often the first, and sometimes the only, vision of UBC that the public encounters. He is talented at putting a human face on the “ivory tower pursuits” of the University, helping the community engage with the developments and discoveries at UBC.
Martin’s photographic skills have improved the University’s reputation in the wider community, by showing the richness of the research and learning opportunities at UBC through intriguing and imaginative photography.
Jenny Reilly, Faculty of Applied Science
In terms of supporting global citizenship, Jenny Reilly, the Director of Cooperative Education Program in the Faculty of Applied Science, has had a significant impact on the student experience both at UBC and beyond the gates. Jenny has enhanced cooperative education with undergraduate engineering students by more than doubling the number of co-op placements since she started as director of the program. She has also increased the number of international co-op placements, and added a co-op component to the master’s program.
Not content with only supporting and mentoring UBC’s engineering students, Jenny collaborated to develop new co-op programming in the Faculty of Arts and the School of Kinesiology at UBC.
Jenny’s support of cooperative education reaches beyond UBC, evolving to a truly global reach. Jenny supports the provincial and national Cooperative Education associations and has been the Director of the Canada-Japan Co-op program since 2005. Jenny’s volunteer leadership role at the national level has ensured that UBC has a place at the table where policies and activities are being decided.
Leadership and Creativity
Andrew Collins, Project Services
Andrew Collins, Associate Director, Project Services, has done much to ensure that the physical present of UBC can sustain the grown and development of the University’s initiatives.
Some of the outstanding projects on which Andrew has worked include the Campus as a Living Lab initiative. As project manager, Andrew works with a diverse team of academic and administrative stakeholders and partner. Andrew is adept at navigating the fine line between the University’s operational needs and academic requirements for teaching and research that go to the core of the Campus as a Living Lab initiative.
Over the last decade, Andrew has been instrumental in the UBC Renew project, in which the university and the provincial government renew deteriorating buildings rather than demolish them. The project has set the standard for renovating and retraining heritage buildings on campus for the continued success of the University. This project of refurbishment has saved taxpayers and the university millions of dollars, and has benefited students and instructors, providing improved and flexible teaching facilities.
Cate Morrison, Student Housing & Hospitality Services
In her role as Resident Life Manager in Place Vanier, Cate Morrison interacts with over 1,400 students, and 49 student staff. Her work encompasses all aspects of supporting student residence life, from answering questions on navigating student life, building community in residence, to mental health support.
Cate’s contributions are integral to the growth of the residence student staff. Cate spearheaded the establishment of the Residence Coordinators Mentorship Program, in which a student residence coordinator is paired with a campus colleague in order to foster a mentoring relationship for the student to develop their skills. This program is so popular that it is now in the enviable position of having to turn down mentor volunteers from across campus.
Collaborating with UBC Alumni Affairs, Cate created the Residence Alumni Event in which UBC alumni who were involved in Residence Life come back to the university to share with current residence advisers and interested students, how the skills they developed in residence life have aided them beyond UBC. This event is key in helping students understand how the skills they acquire in Residence Life can be applied in tangible ways after they graduate.
Jae Lee, ICORD
Jae Lee, Lab Manager at ICORD, started at ICORD as a student technician. When he completed his master’s degree in 2010, he was seen as the “de facto” leader of the lab and made the transition to research scientist. He became lab manager in June 2011. During his five years at ICORD, Jae has solidified his hard work with numerous scientific publications, a remarkable achievement for one so early in his research career.
When a patient is enrolled in the ICORD clinical trial, Jae assists the nurses at any time of the day, helping the patient and their family to understand ICORD’s research and mission. He is always willing to take the extra step to help where needed.
Jae uses his communications and interpersonal skills to create a better work environment for his ICORD colleagues. Jae actively mentors and coaches student volunteers to help them develop their skills. He inspires and challenges those around him, leading by example, and never asking more from his staff than what he is willing to put forward himself.
Advancing Diversity and Inclusion
Erin Biddlecombe, Student Involvement and Careers
Erin Biddlecombe, Student Development Officer at the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, has not only advanced equity and diversity through her actions; she is committed to building equitable and diverse communities at UBC.
Erin appreciates that building diverse communities require relationships, skill development, and knowledge acquisition for all members of those communities. She challenges students and her colleagues to consider inclusions in decisions made, programs and services offered, language used, and actions taken.
With her colleagues,Erin has worked to bring life to UBC’s Respectful Environment Statement by introducing a training module for MUG leaders, so those students can speak peer-to-peer about UBC’s Respectful Environment with all new students during Orientation.
Erin supported the development of the Building an Inclusive Environment in Engineering initiative, which invited student leaders, staff and faculty to explore systemic barriers faced by diverse populations of Engineering students, with the goal of developing projects and initiatives to build a more inclusive environment in the Faculty of Applied Science.
Dr. Ruth Warick, Access & Diversity
As Senior Diversity Advisor, Disability, with Access & Diversity, Dr. Ruth Warick has been a pioneer in promoting accessibility for diverse populations, particularly in disability services. She works with students, faculty and staff to make UBC physically more accessible, while changing attitudes and perception around disability in order to make the University into a more welcoming place.
By thinking “outside the box” of traditional disability services, Ruth has helped UBC Access & Diversity implement such innovative programs as the Mentorship Program for Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, which assists those students in developing life-skills to navigate the campus, their communities, and beyond. This program, among the first of its kind in North America, was piloted in the 2011 winter term, and will be offered on an on-going basis by Access & Diversity.
Ruth is active in volunteering with a number of advocacy roles around diversity, access and disability. She is a widely respected authority on disability services and education, and has worked to bring broader notions of diversity to disability services at the international level.