COOKEVILLE –A number of faculty, staff and students go above and beyond to bridge gaps and create stronger relationships between offices and the Tennessee Tech community at large.
That is the goal of the Tech Togetherness initiative, which features six categories of acknowledgement: Team Player, Most Inviting Office, Most Friendly, Most Initiative, Most Encouraging Faculty and Staff, and Unsung Hero.
“These awards were created to provide recognition for those efforts of supporting, encouraging, advocating and cheering each other on to succeed,” Provost Lori Bruce said during a ceremony held recently.
The 2019 award winners are:
Nathan Rizk, information technology associate, is the recipient of the Team Player Award. He was nominated by Melanie Hutcherson, who said he has been helpful in setting up the IT needs for the college of engineering dean search candidate open forums.
“If problems arose, then he stayed until things were up and running,” Hutcherson said. “All of our forums were in Derryberry Hall auditorium and we were unfamiliar with the setup there.”
Shelley Brown, sociology and political science instructor, is the recipient of the Most Inviting Office Award.
Colleague Betsie Garner said Brown is exceptionally warm and welcoming, providing her with support in numerous areas.
“Knowing that Shelley’s door is always open and that I can pop in at any time has provided me with a unique confidence that I otherwise would not have,” Garner said. “Shelley is not required to mentor me and receives no special recognition or compensation for the many hours of precious time she invests in my career. Her inviting office is simply a reflection of her values, especially her dedication to cultivating a collegial and supportive workplace atmosphere.”
Nicole Henninger, counseling and psychology professor, is the recipient of the Most Friendly Award.
Garner also nominated Henninger for this award, saying she displays an exceptionally kind and generous attitude on campus.
“As a faculty member in a neighboring department down the hall, I observe her routinely make the rounds through our building just to say hi to her colleagues,” Garner said. “In fall of 2017, when she had just arrived on campus – with a broken ankle – she scooted from one open office door to another handing out free donuts as a way of introducing herself. Nicole’s overall friendly demeanor contributes to an atmosphere of collegiality by having a contagious effect, not just for her own students and department, but for the broader community of people who work in and around Matthews Daniel Hall as well.”
Denise Henry, administrative associate in sociology and political science, is the recipient of the Most Encouraging Award.
Henry, nominated by Lachelle Norris, keeps the department running efficiently and effectively.
“I believe she deserves this recognition because of the encouragement she graciously and consistently provides for our students,” Norris said. “So many students seek her assistance with issues they have – with registration, paperwork, confusing emails they receive, work study assignments – but Ms. Henry goes above and beyond this. For many students, she is seen as the most important motivator they have as they seek to complete their degree. She listens. She cares. She truly wants the students to be successful. I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition.”
Vickie Mayberry, administrative associate in the mathematics department, is the recipient of the Most Initiative Award.
Mayberry, nominated by Allan Mills, took it upon herself to create the math department’s website in the new university website.
“None of the departmental faculty who work on our website stepped forward to take on this big task,” Mills said. “Vickie saw that a new departmental website would not happen in a timely manner, so she took it upon herself to learn the software management system for the new website and began creating a website for us. Without her efforts, the department would not have had a website when the new website went live.”
Tommy Elliott, mathematics professor, is the recipient of the Unsung Hero Award. He was nominated by Patsy Peavyhouse, Vickie Mayberry and Allan Mills.
He is described as an incredibly valuable member of the mathematics department who has helped to find technology to assist students with disabilities and unpretentiously shared his knowledge with other faculty. He found a way to use technology to assist a visually impaired student that saved the university many thousands of dollars by not having to purchase Braille textbooks.
“Mr. Elliott is absolutely genuine in his willingness to assist others,” the nomination states. “He is always there when you need him and is eager to help out. He doesn’t boast or gloat about his accomplishments and is always humbles and shuns praise, brushing it off as part of his job.”