LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas has announced the May Employees of the Month. They are as follows:
Name: Mona Tipton
Title: Assistant director for professional development at KU Center for Research on Learning
What it means: Tipton has long been the go-to person for the international network of professional developers affiliated with the center. She creates and coordinates events and the development of resources, online materials, progress monitoring tools and webinars, and happily provides support to anyone who contacts the center.
Tipton said what drew her to the job was the work of the center and its development not only of evidence-based tools that help students with disabilities succeed in school and life, but also the development and support of educators, families, and others who support those students. She serves the university by being a strong advocate for those students and the people who support them.
She has been in personal contact with multiple thousands of teachers nationally and internationally and makes each of them feel heard and respected. She represents, precisely, the behaviors and depth of knowledge expected by the center and KU. She is an excellent representative of the university.
Notable: During the past 12 years, Tipton has gone from ensuring paperwork and databases were kept in order to being instrumental in evolving the KUCRL's role to keep up with the swift changes in educational environments. She creates and recreates her job to meet the changing cycles of education and technology. In support of keeping the center moving forward, she has independently studied coding and programming to better understand the online programs with which she must work. New duties have expanded her role and in turn, she expands the reach of the center.
Tipton is a team player with a breadth of knowledge that makes her an asset to the center and to the university. She thoughtfully and carefully orchestrates more than two dozen multi-day events and activities at KU, locally and nationally. Her knowledge and expertise ensure a positive experience for attendees and presenters year after year.
While Tipton’s work can be at once fast paced, demanding, stressful and sometimes energizing, she meets each of these demands over and over again with great composure. She is resourceful and creative and always prepared with a Plan B and even a Plan C. She is highly organized and highly motivated to ensure KU's and CRL's excellent reputation, and follows up to ensure positive outcomes and to troubleshoot issues.
Name: Lance Watson
Title: Director of student conduct and community standards in the Office of Student Affairs
What it means: Watson provides leadership in the administration of nonacademic conduct system for individual students and organizational accountability. He serves as a hearing officer for alleged violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities and often as the probation supervisor for students that require additional meetings. He partners with Student Housing to provide support, education and training to residence life staff in managing the nonacademic conduct process. That includes extensive training before each semester and updates throughout the academic year.
Notable: Watson does the tasks of his job in exemplary ways and he is creative in his efforts. His approach to student conduct is educational, and his care for students is evident to others. For the summer months, he developed a mini-course for faculty and staff to learn about student conduct. The course was met with favorable evaluation. The higher education graduate students asked him to give the mini-course again so they would be knowledgeable about student conduct, because it is so important for most student services positions.
Because of the nature of his work, Watson has KU and federal deadlines he needs to meet. He has been observed working tirelessly into the evening to get a sanction/findings letter out so that a student does not have to wait longer than necessary. He has achieved a lot with a small staff and limited resources but he continually aspires to do more.
He is a planner and lays out clearly what the objectives are for his office staff and leverages technology to its fullest. He looks for efficiencies while never losing sight of the fact that he is there to educate and students are the focus.
Watson has expert content knowledge. He is active nationally in the student conduct profession and a regular speaker at the national conference in his field.
Watson is always willing to share his expertise by helping colleagues process an issue or look into a policy. Watson is reliable, consistent, careful, deliberative and hard-working. He is fair and keeps students at the center of his work.
He builds rapport and trust with students, and students like working with him. He cares deeply about students and their experience with student conduct. Watson is a proud KU graduate and wants KU to be the best it can be; and it is evident his hard work is contributing to the university’s success.