2016 Staff Make Students Count Awards

2016 Staff Make Students Count Awards: Carolyn Chapin, Ryan Hill, Buffy Kuiper, Brenda Hurley

Buffy Kuiper, UA Statewide

Program Specialist, UA Scholars

Highlights from the letters of recommendation:

Buffy Kuiper makes students count in so many ways. She works behind the scenes to ensure students experience minimal hassle and can focus on their academic goals. She explains in simple language the tuition guarantee and the tax implications of using withdrawals for qualified education expenses. She is patient and students often return in future semesters asking for her by name. She remembers students by name, and follows their progress through graduation. Buffy has high expectations for herself and others. She has frequently asked for reading materials to advance her knowledge of investment strategies even beyond the needs of her position. She is thoughtful and works to better herself and her department. She looks for opportunities to improve efficiency or cost savings.

Buffy promotes and demonstrates impeccable customer service when working with students. I remember her saying early on, “We work for the students.” She is always a joy to talk to and works diligently to get things done, and get them done right. She not only has a positive impact on students, but staff as well. Her friendly, caring demeanor is contagious!

Not only does she try to make the process as stress free as possible for the students but also for the Financial Aid offices at the three main campuses.

Buffy takes her job very seriously and she regularly identifies issues that result in disparate treatment of participants in either the college saving program or the UA Scholars program and is insistent that the issues be addressed and corrected. She has a unique ability to put herself in the student's shoes and communicate the impact of that experience to those that might be able to address the related issues.

Ryan Hill, UAA Anchorage

North Hall & First-Year Resident Coordinator

Highlights from the letters of recommendation:

Ryan’s devotion and passion make him a prime example of a staff member who truly makes students count. His is a student-centered professional who works tirelessly to assist students in achieving their goals. In this endeavor, he frequently goes above and beyond his job duties. Everything that Ryan does, he does because he genuinely cares about students and their success.

Every day, he serves the academic, personal, and living-learning based needs of his residents; working tirelessly to connect every student to the UAA community to ensure they have a positive experience during their time here at UAA.

Ryan creates a community for students that is safe, accepting, exciting, and empowering. His influence has pushed me to become a better student, professional, leader, and person. It is my sincerest hope that Ryan knows how much his support has meant to myself personally and the residential community.

Ryan’s dedication to the welfare of the students and staff under his charge has inspired a similar enthusiasm for excellence in his staff; North Hall staff look to him as an example, as well as for professional and personal guidance. This encouragement towards his student leaders has had the effect of increasing exponentially the number of positive responses from residents.

Carolyn Chapin, UAF Fairbanks

Undergraduate Academic Advising Coordinator, College of Natural Science & Mathematics

Highlights from the letters of recommendation:

Carolyn cares enormously for the students. She listens carefully, treats students with respect, and makes extra efforts to help them meet their goals.

Carolyn worked hard to integrate each department’s unique needs within her repertoire. She created discipline specific handouts and tailors her advising to the department’s wishes.

The impact to our students is quite tangible and I am confident that our students are getting quality advising. Recruitment and retention rates are higher; for example in 2014, the College of Natural Science and Mathematics’ freshman retention was 88%, well above the UAF average.

Though there are many reasons to applaud her aptitudes, the one that impresses me most is her willingness to admit she may not know everything. She strives to use her contacts and resources to aid students who present a challenge.

As a colleague, I never, ever feel uncomfortable referring students to her, knowing she is absolutely dependable, dedicated and conscientious.

I cannot recall even one disparaging remark from a student who has sought assistance from Carolyn. On the contrary, many have made it a point to inform me about how caring and informative she is when offering advice.

Brenda Hurley, UAS Ketchikan

Records and Registration Clerk

Brenda Hurley has been putting students first for the last 20 years at the Ketchikan campus. She is probably one of the most familiar faces of the University. Students know they can ask Brenda just about anything and she will have the answer. Faculty will often go to Brenda for a wide variety of things, from room scheduling to filling out forms.

Brenda is hard working and always willing to take on new tasks when asked. She works quickly and efficiently to meet the needs of the students regarding course registrations and student records. Brenda treats students and staff with a high degree of professionalism and respect. Her accuracy and depth of institutional knowledge is of the utmost importance to student success.

Many times over the years I’ve witnessed Brenda’s personal investment in making certain that students who are lost, frustrated, confused, and/or stressed have a sounding board for their issue. Partly because of Brenda’s long record of employment at UAS, but mostly because she is a patient, nurturing person, she is a master at sensitively guiding matters through various channels and producing results.

Staff behind the scenes can often be more influential to student success than we realize; Brenda Hurley is one of those individuals at UAS. While she doesn’t work directly with students every day, what she does every day is always student centered. Not afraid to ask the hard questions, Brenda is always directing the discussions to consider, “Will this benefit or hurt students?”

Brenda isn’t afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right and is consistently evaluating how things impact our students. Many of us seek her input as we develop programs and services or make decisions about the courses we offer.

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