There’s no way to describe a typical day serving as the front-line for the Communication Studies department. Laurie Collison, the Academic Department Associate, is ready to handle printer problems, scheduling logistics for guests and helping students prepare to present their theses.
“[Collison] is literally in the center of everything, with no place to hide, and she drops everything to provide assistance and positivity to everyone who comes through the door,” writes Communication Studies department chair Linda Dickmeyer.
That message is repeated by any of the nearly 30 instructors in that department. Collison, who has been the ADA in the department for nine years, was selected as the 2016 University Staff Excellence Award winner.
Collison learned she earned the award at the same time as most of the campus community, at the chancellor’s fall address. “Once he said former bookstore employee, I realized it was me,” says Collison. “I was really surprised. I had no idea and I’m totally honored.”
Collison is incredibly humble in her work, but her colleagues are more than willing to brag about her excellence. In their nomination letter, the Communication Studies department wrote: “you would be hard-pressed to find someone who knows Laurie that doesn’t like her – she is kind, warm and selfless.”
“Laurie has been a sensational ‘partner’ in helping me fulfill my responsibilities at the university,” says Robert Eberle, a senior lecturer. “I can always count on her to come to my aid when I have questions about computer usage, copying, course scheduling and a multitude of other miscellaneous questions. Above all, I value her friendship and her guidance!”
Hear from more of her colleagues:
“My colleagues are great,” says Collison. “They’re so supportive of everything and that means a lot.”
Collison is the second recipient of this award. Dave Anderson was presented with the inaugural honor last year.