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Achievements of four administrative employees recognized with new award

June 20, 2013 By Greg Bump

Photo: Administrative Achievement Award winners

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell (center) with Administrative Achievement Award winners Kim Nolet, Steven Hahn, Michelle Szabo and Roberta Wang (left to right).

Photo: Janet DesChenes

Four exceptional employees — Steven Hahn, Kim Nolet, Michelle Szabo and Roberta Wang — have been chosen from more than 60 nominations to receive UW–Madison’s Administrative Achievement Awards, which recognize excellence in administrative roles supporting student services, research, academics or administration.

The recipients were honored at a ceremony June 24 at the Fluno Center. This is the first year for the Administrative Achievement Awards program.

“The four outstanding individuals picked for this award exemplify the thousands of employees across our campus who make a positive contribution every day to accomplishing UW–Madison’s mission,” Interim Chancellor David Ward says.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell adds, “It is through the passion and hard work of employees like Steve, Kim, Michelle and Roberta that we are able to maintain the excellent level of service we provide to our students and the citizens of this state. They provide examples of how to enhance service delivery through innovative approaches and continuous improvement.”

The employees chosen for the inaugural Administrative Achievement Awards are:

Steven Hahn, assistant dean in the Graduate School, recently named interim vice provost for enrollment management

Photo: Steven Hahn

Steven Hahn

Hahn was nominated by Alice Gustafson, director of Administrative Process Redesign (APR). In her nomination letter, Gustafson praised Hahn’s work on two APR teams that simplified the grant proposal and management processes.

“Steve masterfully provided leadership to a team … and developed them into a highly functioning and trusting team which produced a product which brought rave reviews by customers all over campus,” Gustafson wrote.

Hahn’s leadership of an Administrative Excellence team tasked with developing a model for future information technology decision-making was also lauded by Gustafson.

Hahn, who was recently appointed interim vice provost for enrollment management, says he is “honored and humbled” to receive the award.

“I’m proud to accept it on behalf of the wonderful colleagues with whom I’ve been able to work on administrative redesign projects over the years,” Hahn says. “We have innovative, creative people working in all areas of this university, each one of them a campus expert in what they do — and in many cases, a national expert in what they do. Working with them is an inspiration to me, as is the opportunity to effect real change to benefit the campus.”

Kim Nolet, research program manager in the School of Nursing

Photo: Kim Nolet

Kim Nolet

Among the achievements Nolet’s nominator, Barbara Bowers, cited is her role in creating the nursing Clinical Scholars Program, which allows students to gain clinical experience by working in local nursing homes. The program is a collaboration with Edgewood College, and requires an extensive amount of coordination with faculty, students and nursing home administrators. Nolet does much of the work on the program outside of regular work hours, and it is not part of her job expectations, notes Bowers.

“She continues to lead this for [the] UW in absence of funding support for the program as part of her commitment to supporting students and carrying out the Wisconsin Idea,” writes Bowers, a professor and the associate dean for research at the School of Nursing.

Nolet, who says her role models have always been “doers,” calls the problem-solving her job demands “exciting.”

“It’s motivation for lifelong learning and makes every day a new adventure,” says Nolet. “This award is proof that the university values the variety of ways we all can contribute to UW–Madison’s success and reinforces my desire to continue to be a proactive part of this community.”

Michelle Szabo, academic department manager in the Department of Geoscience

Photo: Michelle Szabo

Michelle Szabo

Nominator Brad Singer, chairman of the geoscience department, says Szabo holds a triple role of business manager, chief of staff and building manager. Szabo has “dramatically improved the department’s ability to satisfy its research mission,” Singer writes.

Singer noted Szabo’s participation in a “ground-up” construction of budgets for three, five-year federal grant proposals that brought in more than $16 million to the department and involve more than a dozen faculty.

Szabo has also helped to draft and track budgets for more than 100 extramural grant proposals since Singer became department chair in July 2011.

“There is no doubt that Michelle’s effectiveness at this level of research support has made a real difference in our faculty’s ability to compete often, and successfully, for scarce external resources,” Singer writes.

Szabo says she is “always looking for a better way to do things, the most efficient and effective means to the ends.”

“I feel honored that my department would nominate me for this award. It’s very satisfying to know that your contributions are appreciated by the people you work with,” Szabo says. “And it’s humbling to be chosen to win this award when there are so many people on this campus doing great work.” 

Roberta Wang, Division of Continuing Studies

Photo: Roberta Wang

Roberta Wang

Laura Ingram, the associate dean for administration in the Division of Continuing Studies, nominated Wang. She says Wang has contributed significantly to “game-changing” process improvements, such as helping design a cost accounting system, and working with the division’s marketing team and a computer programmer to develop and launch a catalog providing potential students with Web-based information about continuing studies courses.

Wang also acted as liaison with UW-Extension during a transition to a new registration system.

“This project was many years in the making, and as a result of Bobbie’s commitment to effective communication, tailored trainings, attention to myriad details, and her ‘I’ll find out’ approach if she couldn’t answer a question, the ‘go live’ launch of the new system went smoothly,” Ingram writes.

Wang says she hopes the award will raise awareness on campus about the important work in lifelong learning she and her colleagues do at the Division of Continuing Studies.

“My colleagues walk the walk and talk the talk of the Wisconsin Idea every day,” Wang says. “I very much enjoy looking for ways every day to help the faculty and staff of Continuing Studies do their important work better and more efficiently. And I’m proud that many of the systems and processes that we’ve developed here can be shared across campus with others working in the world of outreach and adult learning.”