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Student Administrative Assistant Intermediate, English Language and Literature
Author: Kristyn Sonnenberg
Photographer: Aimee Germain
The LSA Staff Spotlight Award was created to recognize outstanding staff members who not only carry out their jobs effectively, but go above and beyond to help create a better environment for students, faculty, and staff alike. Bonnie Campbell exemplifies these qualities.
Bonnie has dedicated the past 26 years to making the English Department Writing Program the best it can be. She took her first job at the university in the psychological clinic, where she worked for three years before taking a couple years off to care for her newborn son then returning to U-M for her current position as Student Administrative Assistant of EDWP. Over the years, she has created a warm and welcoming environment where new and existing students and instructors feel welcome and taken care of. They know that when they bring a question or problem to Bonnie, it’s going to be solved, and they walk away feeling better about every situation.
As explained by a coworker, “she can make the most shy and anxious student feel comfortable asking questions. She can easily strike up a conversation with a new instructor and make them feel comfortable and supported.” This is invaluable in a program as large as the English Department Writing Program. Just this fall, there are over 3,000 students in 177 class sections as well as 60 new instructors, many of whom are graduate student instructors. Bonnie makes a point to learn each person’s name and does everything she can to make their lives easier. They stop by her office to talk about their lives and enjoy the coffee and chocolate she keeps stocked up there for them. One of the aspects she most enjoys about her job is being able to help instructors and make their jobs as easy as possible so they and the students can have the best possible experience at U-M.
Behind the scenes, Bonnie takes care of everything from class permissions and room reservations to scheduling, event logistics, and even unjamming the program’s printer. Her wealth of knowledge about the program and attention to detail makes her the go-to person to get advice from or bounce ideas off of. She knows what works and what doesn’t work for the program and is constantly thinking of ways to streamline processes and make the program run ever more smoothly. No matter how busy she is, she keeps a calm demeanor and a humble attitude about how hard she works. Even when there is a lot to do at the moment, she is thinking ahead and planning for future events and the next semester, troubleshooting possible issues well before they occur.
As Bonnie looks forward to a well-earned retirement, she continues to make the most of her time with the students and the program, making the daily commute to Ann Arbor with her husband. Right now they are excitedly preparing for their son’s wedding, which will take place next June.
LSA UG: Deputy Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs
Author: Angela Cox
Photographer: Aimee Germain
David Smith has been working for the University of Michigan since 1996.He started as a part time lecturer at the University of Michigan-Flint in 1996 and moved to the Ann Arbor campus in 1997 as a LSA Academic Advisor and occasional lecturer in History. He has been in his current position just over a year as Deputy Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs.
Every day David enjoys that there is a new issue that needs to be solved and he is able to help with the solution. David works on issues from alleged academic misconduct to student emergencies and many other student-related issues. He looks at each student that comes into his office as an opportunity to help them be a better student. Each case that is brought to him he looks at as a different situation with a different solution.
As an academic advisor, David was the head of the Individual Concentration Program (ICP). He made many improvements to this program and as told by a colleague, “David was quite successful in improving the program and increasing its visibility.” And “Past ICP students continue to visit David.” One of David’s previous IPC students wrote a letter stating that he is truly living his dream and that he wouldn’t be where he is without the guidance and advice from David.
One of David’s colleagues mentioned that “innovation and creativity are special strengths of his and he embodies the spirit of the liberal arts and lives it in a way that is apparent to students and is to their benefit.” Another colleague wrote “David has worn many hats and consistently goes beyond job expectations.” It was an easy decision to award David as a Spotlight winner with the wonderful letters the committee received.
In David’s spare time he likes to bike and spend time with his wife and daughter. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his graduate degree from Wayne State University, Ph.D. in History. It was a pleasure getting to know David and I feel fortunate that our students at the University have a friendly, helpful individual to help them get through difficult situations. Oh, and one last thing about David, he is a huge Bob Dylan fan and has been to at least 42 concerts!
CMS Web Services Team
(Back) Kristin Sumrall, Sean Green, Peggy Herron, Josh Simon, Christina Brus, Steve Coffman, Jim Bullock; (Front) Ann Marie Manzitti, Matthew Adams, Shanti Suresh, Pat Belden
Not shown: Sonya McDowell, Joseph Wang
Author: Tim Ahlgren
Photographer: Richard Richter
“I have been working with LSA’s content management system for almost 10 years now, and it has been amazing to see the transformation — in terms of the product and our team — from when we first started to where we are now,” says Sean Green, Manager of Web Services. The CMS is a core part of the LSA marketing strategy and a focus of LSA Development, Marketing and Communications. LSA websites reach so many key audiences: faculty, staff, current students, prospective students, alumni and opinion leaders. With over 20 million hits a year, it is critical that the college and LSA department sites convey the quality, richness, depth and breadth of the nation’s preeminent liberal arts college.
First deployed to the College in early 2003, the Vignette Content Management System (CMS) was a bold step: An enterprise-level software product for managing web content wasn’t commonplace in higher education. The earliest iterations were, in our campus community, rather famously difficult to use and maintain, but the team knew the software’s potential and continued to improve it — upgrading, developing new features, and adapting to the support needs of hundreds of users across dozens of departments.
So what is it that the LSA CMS Web Services have done to create this success story?
In 2009, Pat Belden joined the team as Director of Web Services and brought with him a great deal of project management and software implementation experience which was integral to creating, analyzing, and honing web CMS processes.
Customer feedback continues to reflect the value of additional investments in the CMS project. “My department’s webpage is powerful, adaptable, and relevant thanks to CMS.” (Justin), “We are getting many compliments on our website.” (Alicia), and “We could not be happier with the redesign of the site.” (Ted).
Among the key changes to the CMS and the DMC team’s processes are:
- Through an improved help desk system and more staffing, the team has gone from having 200 open tickets to known issues taking an average of fewer than two days to resolve.
- There is now a single common code base used across all 74 sites. Previously, there were 35 different variants of code being used for 55 sites, a maintenance nightmare.
- The common code and a new training program have brought drastic improvements to the initial user experience. Among these changes is a user certification program in which departmental CMS users complete training, gain hands-on experience, and receive recognition for their efforts.
- When securing new facilities, the team procured a dedicated training room and initiated Open Labs for end users. All training and labs are conducted on an ongoing basis and are clearly listed on the team’s website.
- Customer Satisfaction Surveys are part of every training experience and a critical part of ongoing efforts to identify the best ways to further improve the system.