We are pleased to announce , on behalf of Dean Kathleen Canning and the School of Humanities Shining Star Selection Committee, the selection of Andrew Stefl as the 2018-19 School of Humanities Shining Star Award recipient.
Andrew serves as assistant to the dean of the School of Humanities and academic administrator. He also serves as the school’s academic course administrator, oversees space utilization, school planning, Campbell Lecture Series, Rice General Announcements for humanities courses, and many other special projects.
Andrew came to the dean’s office in November 2015 from the Rice Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication, where he served as the center coordinator from 2013-15. Before coming to Rice, Andrew held positions as office supervisor/admission facilitator, program coordinator/graduate alumni liaison, and management analyst at Arizona State University. In addition to this, while at Arizona State University, Andrew was elected vice-chair of the Graduate Business Student Services Association (2011-12); producer and editor of the “Professional Presentations” DVD used by evening MBA students (2011); co-chaired the Graduate Business Student Services Association Conference Planning committee (2011); and elected technology chair of the Graduate Business Student Services Association (2008-11).
To many, Andrew is the front line resource in the Dean of Humanities office for questions, problem resolution, and guidance. In her nomination letter, Associate Dean of Humanities Lora Wildenthal said: “I have depended on Andrew every day throughout this time. He has taught me a great deal about the workings of the office the entire time I’ve been in the dean’s office. His precise memory is backup when faculty ask me difficult policy questions, especially about curriculum (including our annual GA review), the SCRC, and faculty promotion and tenure. If it’s complicated both technically and politically, one needs Andrew!”
Linda Evans, administrator in the English Department, supported his nomination by saying: “Andrew is a dedicated, helpful, and extremely competent worker. My experiences working with Andrew have all been very positive as he has a terrific sunny attitude and is very organized and efficient. It is my understanding that not only does Andrew manage his many duties well, but also is proactive in anticipating various needs that will come down the line and working to ensure, through a rigorous task structure and planning process, the success of his daily work and various projects that support the School of Humanities.”
Brian Riedel, associate director of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality echoed Andrew’s nomination by commenting: “I did not have to think at all about who would be most deserving of this award this year. Coordinating the moves within the School of Humanities earlier this summer was an incredible feat of organizing, diplomacy, timing, and willingness to live with uncertainty. That Andrew had navigated similar situations in the past certainly helped. Still, the complexity of this particular operation was daunting—over thirty staff across three buildings, the myriad negotiations leading up to the actual move, a limited range of availability for movers, and the long tail of loose ends that such an operation always entails. To be sure, Andrew consistently shows “star” qualities beyond particularly crucial moments: he is ever collegial, quick to answer or refer to the right person, and does it all with a sense of humor. But for this year, and for thisaward, the feat o fmanaging the grand shuffle deserves special recognition. I urge the committee to honor his contribution to that move with the Shining Star Award.”
Gaylon Denney, digital communications manager in the School of Humanities stated: “Andrew is the definition of this award within the School of Humanities. He has boundless knowledge of school and university issues, policies, procedures, and protocol and is continually proving to be a valuable resource for staff and faculty. He works diligently to keep everyone in compliance with policies and guidelines while keeping a cool, hands-on control of stressful situations. In my time of working with Andrew, I have always counted on him to have a smile (and perhaps a joke or two) as he welcomes visitors to the dean’s office—regardless of his mounting workload and deadlines. I believe every staff member in the School of Humanities who has worked with Andrew knows and appreciates his leadership, guidance, and friendship. I also believe that many would happily endorse my nomination of Andrew. I can think of no one more deserving of this award.”
The School of Humanities Shining Star Award was created in 2017-18 to honor service excellence in the school. This staff-created award recognizes one School of Humanities staff member for outstanding work and overall performance in an academic year. The School of Humanities Shining Star “traveling trophy” resides in the office of the award recipient for the year. The recipient is also given a certificate, small cash prize, and the recipient’s name is added to a plaque to be placed in the Humanities building foyer that recognizes all award winners. A committee comprised of the dean, associate dean, assistant dean, and the past year’s award recipient, Linda Evans, sat on the committee that selected Andrew Stefl. Both faculty and staff in the School of Humanities may nominate staff for this award. Nominees must have been employed in the school for the last two years (as of July 1 of the nomination year). The request for nominations went out to all Humanities faculty and staff in late September/early October, 2018.