Awards of Excellence For Support Staff 2009 Recipients

President's Award Recipient

A of X 08 Dyer

Joanne Dyer
Office of the Vice President (Adminstration)

Joanne is the University Budget Officer and the Executive Assistant to the Administrative Vice President; excelling in these two senior positions. Joanne has made exceptional and sustained contributions to the University over her many years of service, contributing in the Bookstore, Budgets and Grants, and Kinesiology and Recreation Management. Joanne is known throughout the university for her collegial, supportive, and congenial approach. She has shown her leadership in groups like the middle managers. Where, until recently, she acted as one of the groups co-chairs. She always has a suggestion on how to come at the problem from a different direction and make the best of a situation. Many throughout the university have benefitted from Joanne’s assistance and counsel. As one of her colleagues stated “She is a hidden gem…Her administrative creativity has brought forward new ideas and new models that have been able to meet the needs of the institution and our students during challenging fiscal times.”

Leadership Award Recipient

Grant McCaughey

Grant McCaughey
Environmental Health and Safety Office

Grant is the director of the Environmental Health and Safety Office, in Human Resources. Respected in the university community for his effective and reasoned approach and leadership style, his work has contributed greatly to a safer work place for all in the university community. He has developed a “culture of safety” at the university by dealing with very difficult issues quickly and effectively. His forward thinking and convincing arguments have led the university to invest in a wide variety of health and safety programs that have dramatically increased levels of service to the staff and students at the University. The Environmental Health and Safety Office Team have grown not only in numbers but also in the scope of the support that the individual team members offer. Grant has also been recognized at the provincial level, bringing recognition to the University. In 2007 he was appointed by the Premier as Chair of the Manitoba Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health.

Service Award Recipients

Gerri Acorn

Gerri Acorn
Department of Computer Science

Gerri is the co-op coordinator in the Department of Computer Science. She supports students through a variety of structured workshops and a great deal of one-on-one help. Students highly value Gerri’s contribution to their academic lives and the department’s co-op program. Gerri is a “go-to” person in the department when faculty members have questions about industrial priorities, and her inputs contribute to keeping course material relevant in the current market. Gerri’s strong positive relationships with hundreds of government and corporate employers act as bridges to the benefit of the students. Gerri has been generous in sharing her many ideas with the other Co-op programs across campus. As one of her colleagues observed, “Gerri has completely redefined the role of the Co-op Coordinator, it is barely recognizable when compared to the post before her arrival.”

Rita Courchaine

Rita Courchaine
Faculty of Education

Rita is the manager of finance and administration at the Faculty of Education, providing a high level of service to staff, faculty, students, alumni and visitors. She encourages and inspires those with whom she works. She shows real  interest in the staffs’ work, provides them with constructive feedback, and makes them feel an invaluable part of the faculty. She is always there to step in and help if needed and her colleagues also describe how Rita’s door is always open. “She is always there for us…which is one of the most valued services she offers her colleagues… she is always there to share and support”. As one of her supporting letters stated “she is a caring human being…with the qualities of an excellent manager, team leader, and service provider.”

Guy Jonatschick

Guy Jonatschick
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Guy is a systems analyst in Electrical and Computer Engineering and is noted for providing outstanding service. Not only does he make sure that all of the staff and faculty in Engineering have serviceable, well-protected computers with up to date software, but he is constantly researching ways to improve the services that he offers to the faculty.  Because of Guy’s willingness to do so much more than his job demands, students are being introduced to exciting new technology that they use in innovative ways. As his colleagues shared in his nomination “Guy epitomizes collegiality and supportiveness. As a result of Guy’s positive attitude towards teaching and his generous sharing of his time, his influence has spread beyond Engineering to other departments on campus…his dedication to his job and to us means that ours is a productive and collegial environment, one of which we are justifiably proud.”


Nancy Laxdal
Physical Plant

Nancy is an executive assistant for the Physical Plant’s Director’s Office, responsible for administrative support to that Office, as well as financial management of all capital projects, including renovations, infrastructure upgrading, and construction of new buildings. Nancy demonstrates remarkable organizational skills and understanding of Physical Plant’s operation. She is also a mentor to many of the administrative staff, always available to offer guidance and encouragement. She handles these diverse functions in a professional and cheerful fashion, fostering an environment of teamwork, and “is never too busy to lend a hand”. She is completely dedicated to Physical Plant’s role as a service provider, and she is a true ambassador for physical plant to the university community.

Kim Wilde

Kimberley Wilde
Department of Native Studies

As an administrative assistant in the Department of Native Studies, Kimberley ensures that day-to-day work of the department is conducted effectively, efficiently, and with kindness and humour. Kim provides a stable center that allows the department to achieve success. She offers invaluable help to Aboriginal students, guiding them with patience and wisdom to the resources they need for their success. With Kim at the helm, the office atmosphere is welcoming and nurturing. Her calm and sensible approach eases tension. She has shown leadership in support for the many outreach initiatives to communities both rural and urban. Kim is described as an “unheralded hero in the university’s mission of becoming an institution of choice for Aboriginal students”.


Team Award Recipients

Science Office Team

Faculty of Science Office Staff Team

This group of staff is the epitome of a team effort. They work together in a collegial, respectful fashion for the betterment of the faculty and the university. They are proud of their work, and meet and communicate with each other constantly so this large team can work as one. Team members are knowledgeable, courteous, pleasant, responsive, and prompt. They anticipate problems and needs and offer service in a welcoming and friendly way. They enjoy working together, and build on their sense of team by supporting one another. The impact of the team was well captured with this quote from their nomination   “Beyond their individual competence, they create an office atmosphere that is welcoming and positive, and are a constant pleasure to work with….they coax a smile from everyone!”

Safety team

Physical Plant -Safety Program Implementation Team 

Some 24 months ago, these individuals undertook the daunting task of implementing a safety program. It was with unselfish motivation that they agreed to spend the time over and above their regular responsibilities to develop the program and improve the safety for the university community. The team provided strong levels of leadership and support in developing and implementing this program. Individuals were drawn from all levels of physical plant staff and the university community to make this initiative a reality. They have managed to overcome obstacles such as limited resources and reluctance to change, by communicating the benefits of the program and truly believing in the importance of this initiative. This safety program will make the University of Manitoba the first post-secondary institution in Canada to achieve COR (Certificate of Recognition) designation.