KPE recognizes star employees with Awards of Excellence

Top row from left: Award nominators Jim Webster, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Luc Tremblay and Gretchen Kerr; Bottom row from left: Award recipients Janice Macdonald, Jen Leake, Jennifer Jung and Aaron Lane
Top row from left: Award nominators Jim Webster, Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, Luc Tremblay and Gretchen Kerr; Bottom row from left: Award recipients Janice Macdonald, Jen Leake, Jennifer Jung and Aaron Lane

Behind every great institution is a great staff and the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education has an annual tradition of rewarding its star employees with an Award of Excellence. Established in 2012, the award recognizes staff who not only do a superb job in their position, but also take the initiative to contribute something innovative to enhance the Faculty’s mission and goals. Enjoying an elaborate staff appreciation breakfast, KPE’s faculty, staff and coaches gathered this week to congratulate each other on their hard work and dedication, and honour this year’s awardees.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to pause, socialize and reflect on what we have accomplished this year,” said acting dean Gretchen Kerr in her opening remarks. “We’ve had thousands of students walk through our doors. Our athletes, teams and coaches won more championships this year than any other Canadian university, and our researchers have been winning awards and opening labs. 

“All these accomplishments require superb performance by our staff in all our offices. Every staff member contributes to these successes,” said Kerr. 

These four employees in particular helped move things forward, according to the popular vote.

Jennifer Jung, financial services officer, was nominated by Luc Tremblay, associate dean, research, for her competence and efficiency in leading the Faculty towards the highest standards of accountability and providing instrumental support in securing key research tools for many faculty members. Tremblay praised Jung for always going the extra mile and recounted anecdotes of faculty stress levels dropping on days when Jung was in the office as compared to days when she was not. 

“Jenn’s magical efficiency and phenomenal wealth of knowledge are instrumental for our productivity,” said Tremblay. “Thanks to her we are all able to thrive in our research activities.”

Assistant professor Tyson Beach praised Jung’s cordiality, reliability and patience, and spoke of her pride in her work, describing her as great ambassador for KPE. 

Aaron Lane, computing support analyst, was nominated by Todd Pepper, manager, customer and membership services, for his contribution to business improvement at KPE. Lane’s most visible achievement is the Hall of Fame touch screen display in the foyer of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, but he’s played a pivotal role in several other projects. Lane has been working with the David L. Macintosh Sport Medicine Clinic staff to help implement a new medical records system, a large development project that needs continuing support from a software and hardware perspective.

“Aaron is integral to moving these pieces forward,” said Marr Kelly, the clinic’s manager. “But, the real issue is that we need Aaron’s clone.” 

Director of information technology Paul Morrison described Lane as a champion of enhanced IT monitoring and director of finance Jim Webster praised his problem solving skills. 

“He’s been very useful in getting me and my team back in working order; quickly and without fuss,” said Webster. 

Acting Director of Physical Activity and Equity Jen Leake was nominated by Ashley Stirling, director of experiential education, for demonstrating exceptional initiative and leadership in building physical activity programs that align with the Faculty’s mission of integrating research and education with community engagement.

Leake played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of three new physical activity programs for children and youth with disabilities: the Red Cross Learn-to-Swim, Igniting Fitness Possibilities and the Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.).

“She is a transformational leader in adapted physical activity programming and has been instrumental in our academic strategic plan's implementation priorities of increasing awareness of access and diversity in programs and expanding student leadership development opportunities,” said assistant professor Kelly Arbour-Nicitopoulos, who worked with Leake on several initiatives that focus on providing physical literacy enhancing opportunities for children and youth with disabilities. 

Sharon Grandison and Janice Macdonald pose for a picture

Janice Macdonald, payroll officer, was nominated by Sharon Grandison, director of human resources, for her dedication and significant contribution to the success of the implementation of the uTIME project, the new online pay system for casual employment.  Macdonald was responsible for gathering and tracking all of the casual staff's information, which includes over 730 employees, 160 jobs and 1000 combinations of jobs and HRIS associated screens.

“Janice navigated unchartered  territory by not only embracing  this new aspect of her role, but also taking  every opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the system, in addition  to participating in payroll related  professional development courses,” said Grandison. 

Kay Dawkins, manager of physical activity, described Macdonald as the embodiment of dedication and an exemplary employee, who played a major role in significantly improving business processes to better serve the University’s mission.

“Janice not only provides outstanding service, but does so with a smile,” said Dawkins.