Awards of Excellence For Support Staff 2008 Recipients

President's Award Recipient

Dallas J. Legare
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

In his role as the head technologist in the Pharmacology & Therapeutics department in the Faculty of Medicine, Dallas has had an exceptional impact. He has been responsible for the direct simultaneous supervision and instruction of junior technologists, graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scientists in the department. His willingness to accept responsibility, his ability to handle conflict, and his time management skills have made him an invaluable resource within Pharmacology &Therapeutics and beyond to the University community.

His leadership role in collaborative projects has been a uniquely outstanding aspect of his career. Many of the collaborations between the liver research unit and others within the department, the university, or internationally have relied on his ability to serve as the ‘point man’ to coordinate timing and resources. Dallas is well recognized by the research communities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Portugal as a full scientific collaborator on a number of major research breakthrough studies that have been the subject of numerous awards. In 1990, he was awarded a Sigma Xi award in recognition of his valuable contributions.

Dallas has co-authored over 40 publications in peer reviewed journals and over 50 abstracts, and has presented his research at a number of national and international meetings. Under his guidance and management, the Pharmacology & Therapeutics laboratories are one of the few laboratories that can carry out studies in compliance with the Good Laboratory Practices required for preclinical trials. Many highly qualified and sought-after individuals who have trained and worked in the department’s laboratories have gone out across the world to spread the word about the great work being done at the University of Manitoba. Although the impact that Dallas has had is international in scope it has been build through the care, concern and guidance that he shows each individual student as they work in the labs. As a former student who is now a researcher put it “I fully credit Dallas with facilitating my journey as a scientist….training me in the myriad aspects of good laboratory practice and in the organizational skills required to be successful in the pursuit of excellence in science.”

Leadership Award Recipient


A of X 08 Ellen

Ellen Cianflone
Payroll Services 

Ellen led the payroll team as it successfully rolled out VIP to the University. As the payroll department transitioned from IMS to VIP, Ellen was instrumental as a change agent in getting the Payroll Staff to embrace this new system, as well as gaining general acceptance for the system by providing outstanding user support to the University community.

By successfully building the confidence of the Payroll Staff, with genuine and heart-felt support, she led the team through what was a very tumultuous and strenuous time. She was able to put her staff at ease when they felt unsure about all of the change. In turn, this support enabled her staff to provide VIP users throughout the University the confidence that they needed to take on the new system.

Ellen also foraged new working relationships by engaging the Middle Managers Group to gain feedback, share tips, provide information, improve procedures, and create a learning environment for the payroll function. By partnering with the middle Managers at an early stage, she enabled the self-entry implementation to take place much earlier than planned. This decreased data entry time for payroll staff, enabling them to focus on other challenges. Without the trust and goodwill Ellen was able to build with the units, this change would not have occurred as quickly or as seamlessly as it did.

Through out this process Ellen challenged her staff to define how a well functioning department operates. She engaged her staff by constantly seeking their input for improvements, and working with them to identify gaps in the organizational design of the system. Under Ellen’s leadership the payroll team remained focused on their contribution to the greater good of the university through out a trying implementation period. The supports that this team provided were critical in getting the university community to accept VIP. One can see this in the fact that it is a group who represents a broad cross section of the university community (middle managers) that want to celebrate her outstanding leadership by nominating her for this award.

Service Award Recipients

A of E 08 Irene

Irene Hamel
Faculty of Engineering 

As Office Manager in the Faculty of Engineering, Irene has provided exceptional service for the students, and staff. Her colleagues describe her as “always available to staff and students, no matter how large of small the issue. She welcomes all who walk through her door, she treats each individual with respect, and she listens attentively to all issues brought before her.

Senior engineering staff that are unclear about the operations of the University administration policies relating to, human resource, purchasing, or finance, usually go to Irene first. She is always able to either answer the questions put to her or get the person in touch with someone who can. Her knowledge and professionalism breeds an environment of confidence and trust among the administrative staff; they know that they can share their concerns with her and that she will do everything she can to resolve the issues at hand.

Her ability to remain calm in tense situations along with her tactfulness makes it so that regardless of the situation Irene always handles herself with confidence, composure, and grace.  Her style is to lead by example, and her focus is always on being professional and helpful with everyone that she comes in contact with. As one of her colleagues observed, Irene has been the “rock upon which three Deans have built the engineering faculty.”

A of X Marianne

Marianne Harnish
Department of English 

Marianne has provided outstanding service in the Department of English, Film, and Theatre as an administrative assistant. This is one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Arts that has a curriculum that integrates streams in literature, film, and theatre at both the graduate and undergrad levels. Marianne is one of the main reasons that this large and diverse Department runs as smoothly as it does. The administrative responsibilities she handles are very substantial. Her handling of all these responsibilities is unfailingly professional, resourceful, efficient, proactive, and endlessly patient and good humoured.

If the responsibilities associated with administering such a large and diverse Department were not in themselves weighty enough, the demands on Marianne have been increased recently because of changes in office staffing and in faculty administrative positions. This past year, especially, has been tremendously difficult. Unavoidable upheavals in staffing have meant that Marianne has had to work under enormous strain. It is striking testimony to her professionalism and expertise that some members of the Department were unaware of the administrative difficulties that she faced. Based on their own day-to-day dealings with Marianne, they would never have known of the extra pressures on her. The impact of Marianne’s efforts during this period was best captured by a colleague who stated “I can attest to the fact that there were times when, were it not for Marianne’s determined effort, the work of the Department would have nearly ground to a halt.”

Because Marianne is herself a model of equanimity and good humour, the department’s office staff enjoy a high level of morale. She is an exceptionally considerate person, which means that as a supervisor she mentors rather than dictates; this, in turn, means that she is able to bring out the best in the people she supervises. Marianne recently received high praise from a member of the department team who was leaving to assume a position similar to Marianne’s in another area. In summing up her hopes for the new position, the staff member said that she hoped she would grow to have a real impact “just like Marianne”.

Janina Huzarski
Caretaking Services 

Janina is a utility caretaker in University College. She is an exemplary member of the university community who on a daily bases goes above and beyond. Janina has a cheerful nature that makes her a pleasure to work with. All her work is completed to the highest standard. As one professor stated, “I have never had my office dusted, cleaned and vacuumed as often as when Janina was my caretaker.” She maintains these high standards even in situations where she is forced to cover additional areas when staff are sick. Janina also tailors her services to the needs of the groups that she serves. She determines when the faculty will be using their offices and is aware of support staff schedules so she can arrange her cleaning schedule to achieve the least amount of disruption. 

Beyond her diligence with her custodial duties Janina also goes to great length to ensure that the colleges environment is pleasant, she has undertaken significant initiatives to render University College a better physical space for students, faculty, support staff, and visitors alike. This willingness to go the extra mile has made her an important member of the College community. Perhaps the most tangible example of this is the creation of the green space on the 4th floor of the college. This green space, which is utilized by all, is a virtual oasis within the building and highlights the creative and thoughtful spirit that Janina brings to work everyday. As one colleague noted “every time I walk up the stairs to the fourth floor I find myself taking a deep breath, a smile comes, and I marvel at what the space has become. It is a breath of fresh air in our various daily routines. I cannot overstate the importance of this space for its uplifting effect for all who pass through it.’

Janina is a genuine asset to the College and the university community. Her hard work and creativity has boosted the spirits of those that she serves. As one colleague stated “I only wish that more people could free themselves to work as Janina does, because the thought of what this campus could be, is inspiring.”

John Rohs

As facilities manager at the libraries, John exemplifies the attributes of service excellence by providing consistently high-quality service within the Libraries and the University community. His passion for his work and compassion for his co-workers, combined with a positive attitude, a unique sense of humour, and a great deal of common sense, have contributed to his continuing success in providing exceptional service.

John’s flexible and innovative style has been essential in keeping things working at the libraries on what is often a very limited budget. His enthusiasm and dedication are evident in the way he accomplishes his work. John has also developed a community of contacts through out the institution that he shares information, resources and ideas with. This informal network furthers the goals of the Libraries and the university as a whole.

John goes above and beyond the requirements of his position on a daily basis. His employment file holds many letters of thanks from right across the library system, revealing the many situations in which he provided exceptional and caring service. He is known for getting things done quickly, efficiently, and solving problems on-the-fly. As one colleague stated “I most appreciate John’s ability to take a practical view and approach in problem solving. There is no job too large or too small that has not benefited from John’s unique combination of skills and abilities. His advice, guidance and expertise have saved the day many times over the Years. He can always find a better way to accomplish our goals.”

Maria Tepper
Faculty of Law

Maria is an administrative assistant to the Office of Associate Dean in Law. She is also the administrative assistant to the Asper Chair in International Business and Trade Law.  Maria’s position brings her into contact with numerous research, publication and course-related enquiries. In promoting the University ideals of the highest effective and efficient levels of service Maria is constantly acting proactively and reaching out to clients rather than waiting to be asked to assist. She has also been instrumental in guiding research initiatives by ensuring that they are effectively administered. She points out gaps or inefficiencies in administrative arrangements and offers suggestions to address the shortcomings.

Maria treats all that she comes into contact with respect and warmth. Maria negotiates potential controversy with a smile and distills the positive, productive aspect from any possible negativity. During stressful times in other departments she is always happy to take on additional responsibilities and pitch in to help other groups meet their deadlines.

Maria has particularly distinguished her self with the administrative support that she has provided for the Asper Chair in International Business and Trade Law. Her work in budgeting, publicity, scholarly publications and graduate student affairs facilitated the success of the program. As one colleague noted “this new program has only succeeded as well as it has because of Maria’s skill and dedication. She has coped with this unique challenge in an exemplary manner.”

Team Award Recipients


A of X Auroa St

Aurora Student Implementation Team 

The implementation of the Aurora Student System was an enormous accomplishment. The members of this team were drawn from across the university community to introduce change for a far-reaching impact both culturally and technically. The legacy system the team replaced was large, and extremely complex, with years of data to be converted. Numerous interfaces had to be established to enable the components of the new aurora system to work well with each other, and other university systems. Customized reports needed to be developed to ensure that the members of our community could continue to do their work effectively.

Beyond these technical challenges were issues related to introducing cultural and systemic changes into the university community. The system that was implemented replaced a much appreciated legacy system that had been designed over many years to mirror a system of complex academic rules that varied from one faculty to the other. With this project an effort was made to standardize and simplify these rules and to help community members learn how to use the system effectively. Introducing change of this magnitude to a complex community like ours requires a great deal of sensitivity and dedication. Qualities that the team, provided in abundance.

To overcome the technical and cultural challenges the team needed to work together effectively, drawing together its membership from across the community to work cooperatively, and to share knowledge, skills and responsibilities. No project of this magnitude is going to be without its challenges. This team faced those challenges and delivered a system that will act as a foundation upon which this institution and the services that it offers will continue to grow and develop.

A of X Bison

Bison Recreation Services

The Bison Recreation Services Team is responsible for all of the recreation and active living services and programs for students, staff, alumni of the University of Manitoba and the community. This team has shown amazing dedication to enriching the quality of life. Over 2.7 million visits occur annually to use the teams services. Programs are constantly refined and developed to inspire and challenge participants to become more active in ways that are engaging and exciting.

The Bison Recreation Services team interfaces with numerous departments across campus in its role as an enabler and facilitator for individuals and groups interested in pursuing an active lifestyle. The team also works together closely supporting one another as much of their work involves great attention. They model vibrant active living by the attitude that they bring to the workplace. This team is very supportive of each other, they often speak of themselves as a family and share resources, ideas, frustrations and successes.

This team cares enormously about the people they serve. If you ask them “why”; they simply would talk about all that they get back from those they interact with. Many of the team have, because of their recognized excellence, had the opportunity to be employed in newer and nicer facilities. But because of the strong team dynamic and their sense of mission they often stay. This team has changed the lives of countless thousands of people, their efforts have therefore shaped the culture, fabric and vibrancy of the university community.