Honors College Celebrates Outstanding Staff Across Campus

Peter Aaron

The Honors College will recognize four staff members who have provided outstanding support to honors students, faculty and staff at a reception in Gearhart Hall at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 17. Jeremy Burns, Bristle McIntare Bass, Donna Johnson and Ryan Shepard will each receive an Honors College Staff of the Year Award certificate and a check for $500.

The Honors College launched these awards and the Staff Appreciation Reception three years ago in an effort to recognize staff members who go the extra mile to help the college achieve key goals. 

"Staff members tend to be the unsung heroes on any college campus," said Honors College Dean Lynda Coon. "They work tirelessly behind the scenes to support our students, faculty and staff. We couldn't do it without them, and with these awards, we celebrate their dedication to the University of Arkansas."

Winners of the 2019 Honors College Staff of the Year Award include:

Portrait of Jeremy BurnsJeremy Burns, director of communications, Enrollment Services. From the time Jeremy Burns arrived on campus in 2013, he has supported U of A students, initially advising scholarship applicants in the Office of Competitive Awards and, since 2015, leading communications efforts in Enrollment Services. Burns has played an integral role in the transition of the Honors College application to the Slate portal, simplifying the application process for prospective students in the process. He has also led the effort to increase Honors College print and email messaging to prospective students, helping to highlight the many successes of our students and faculty. Burns is known for his calm, collegial demeanor and his ability to collaborate with Honors College staff on a number of different projects relating to communications. 

Portrait of Bass Bristle McIntareBristle McIntare Bass, associate director of digital strategy, Enrollment Services. Since 2016, Bristle McIntare Bass has worked with the communications team in Enrollment Services to strategically plan email messaging to prospective students, managing distribution of up to 2.5 million emails each year. Along with Burns, Bass played a central role in moving the Honors College application to the Slate portal. Prior to this, she worked with the Honors College to shift a number of important processes to Slate, including the fellowship application review and the college's new student recruitment event management. Each of these changes can take weeks, if not months, to implement, but Bass is incredibly organized and always willing to go the extra mile to work with Honors College staff. 

Portrait of Donna JohnsonDonna Johnson, senior director of human resources and faculty services, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Donna Johnson has been instrumental in the success of the Honors College, especially in the realm of human resources and university policy. While Johnson was serving in the provost's office as a liaison between the colleges and central administration, she guided the Honors College through the complexities of the hiring process. Because the Honors College does not have a dedicated human resources staff member, Johnson's willingness to answer our questions, direct us to key personnel and offer over-the-phone tutorials in PeopleAdmin 7 enabled us to realize our strategic plan. Always going over and beyond the stated duties of her job, she provides exceptionally fast and professional responses to any question or issue that arises. Although technically not on the Honors College staff, we consider Donna Johnson to be part of our team. 

Portrait of Ryan ShepardRyan Shepard, logistics manager for special set-ups, Facilities Management. Ryan Shepard got a crash course in event management when he arrived on campus in 2010, working as a Razortemp at the Walmart shareholders meeting. Shepard was an hourly custodial worker until 2011, when he was appointed full-time, and has risen through the ranks to his current role as logistics manager in special events. Shepard has gone above and beyond time and time again to help Honors College staff set up a variety of events. From singlehandedly moving heavy couches in our lounge to hauling tables during an ice storm to finding additional chairs that we didn't know we'd need, he has been the unseen glue that holds event planning and execution together. Most notably, Shepard has faced each of these challenges with a smile and a helping hand that have not gone unnoticed. The many programs and events that the Honors College produces each year would not be possible without his tireless efforts.

Contacts

Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College
479-575-2024, kcurlee@uark.edu

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