RIGE Administrative Excellence Awards Highlight Staff Service

When it comes to UO research, innovation and graduate education, “collaboration” was an operative word in 2013 and will continue to be increasingly relevant in 2014.

That message was one of the themes delivered by Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation and dean of the UO Graduate School, during a Wednesday morning breakfast ceremony celebrating the RIGE Administrative Excellence Awards. The event, an opportunity to recognize staff achievements over the past year and flash forward to future goals, was put on by the office for Research, Innovation, and Graduate Education.

“If 2012 was a fast-paced year, 2013 was no less frenetic,” Espy said, speaking before an audience of around 100 UO faculty and staff members engaged in research, innovation and graduate education. “On the road to research excellence, we faced down challenges, won major victories, made some critical adjustments and, ultimately, remained on course by staying competitive and focused.”

The annual awards ceremony, now in its third year, was held in the Papé Room of the Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum. Espy introduced UO Presidential Chair and recently named president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Geri Richmond who gave the first individual award for RIGE Administrative Excellence to Priscilla Lewis, program manager for the COACh organization that Richmond co-founded. Describing her as the face of the organization, Richmond thanked Lewis for her outstanding work.

Moira Kiltie, senior assistant vice president for research, recognized Leslie Martinez, coordinator for finance and operations in the Department of Education, with the second individual Administrative Excellence Award.

“You set a very high bar for research administration for yourself and your team,” Kiltie said. “We congratulate you.”

Espy handed out the remaining two individual Administrative Excellence Awards to staff members who “went above and beyond their job responsibilities to fill significant needs.” The first award went to Bob Lawson, associate director of post award in Sponsored Projects Services, for advancing the goals of the university while continually exceeding the expectations of his managers, his peers and other campus constituents. Espy then recognized Kassy Fisher, assistant dean of the UO Graduate School and director of finance and administration, for taking on new leadership responsibilities in finance and staff management.

“Kassy is the backbone in implementing our vision of excellence, innovation and inclusiveness in graduate education,” Espy said.

Patrick Phillips, associate vice president for research, presented the Outstanding RIGE Team Award to the staff of the UO’s Animal Care Services department for their work pursuing the highest level of animal care accreditation. The team included:

  • Monte Matthews
  • Sylvia Banks
  • Will Davie
  • Kathy Snell
  • Tim Mason
  • Ute Hostick
  • Jim Gent
  • Pamela Frye
  • Kim Newell
  • Mark Currey
  • Larry Draper
  • April Freeman
  • Jan Hodder
  • Katy Murray
  • Maeve Sowles
  • Zoltan Varga
  • Craig Young

Espy handed out a surprise Friend of Research award to Barbara Altmann, vice provost for academic affairs, for her work implementing the new Collective Bargaining Agreement on campus.

“Her efforts in support of research, innovation and graduate education are nothing short of remarkable,” Espy said.

The ceremony included the announcement of several honorable mentions, which went to the following individuals:

  • Dorothy Bollman – Institute for a Sustainable Environment
  • Charles Powell – Research Technology Services
  • Sheryl Johnson – Research Compliance Services
  • Carolyn Craig – Research Compliance Services
  • Orca Merwin – Innovation Partnership Services
  • Evey Lennon – Research Innovation Services

Honorable mentions in the team category went to:

  • Research Compliance Services
  • Research Innovation Services Administrative Team

Espy singled out the Research Innovation Services Administrative Team, led by Stacy Williams-Wright, for their “dedication” and “collaboration.” Research Compliance Services was recognized making changes that allowed them to systematically report to the RIGE office and for continuing to balance regulatory compliance and the needs of researchers. 

“RCS often get positive feedback from the research community on their service and process improvements,” Espy said.

The event offered an opportunity to look back on some of the other successes of research administration over the past year. Innovation Partnership Services was singled out for launching their O-Corps program in partnership with the Graduate School and RIGE Development was recognized for bringing in the first major gift to support the Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network program and providing seed grants for UO entrepreneurs. The gift came from Paul Anthony, founder and CEO of Rumblefish, who committed over $200,000 to establish what will be known as the RAINMaker Fund. 

Animal Care Services was praised for successfully completing construction on two new major facilities, the animal facility in the Lewis Integrative Science Building and a new zebrafish facility. Espy also mentioned Sponsored Projects Services for offering more than 40 scheduled workshops and trainings for the Research Community and credited the Graduate School with the successful launch of its 3-Minute Thesis competition.

“Thank you for your dedication and hard work to support research, innovation and graduate education across campus,” Espy said in closing. “Thank you for contributing excellent support to our campus every day.”