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Excellence Awards

Excellence in Support Services— 2004

The excellence in Support Services Award recognizes staff members’ extraordinary achievements and contributions in support of the University’s academic and research aims, and its overall sense of community.

Kimberly ComproskiKimberly Comproski
Composure and efficiency under trying circumstances are nothing new to the multi-talented Kimberly Comproski. She began her career at the University in 1983, as a secretary in the Department of Residential Life and Housing. In 1997, she moved to the Department of Economics as a Secretary 1, and in 2001 assumed additional duties as a project assistant to the Econometric Research Institute. In her dual role, she trains and supervises other clerical and student staff while providing administrative assistance to the chair and assistant chair of the department, as well as to the directors for graduate and undergraduate studies and to the project director and co-directors of the Econometric Research Institute.

Several supervisors note that Comproski takes major responsibility for carrying out a wide array of student services, including orientation of new graduate students, management of undergraduate and graduate student records, including add/drops, unofficial advisement of undergraduates, scheduling departmental comprehensive exams, assigning advisers, and allocating proctor assignments.

“It is not only that Kim does her job extremely well and therefore merits recognition, but rather that she does so much so well,” wrote the department’s Director of Graduate Studies Laurence Kranich.

Comproski’s constituents and coworkers note that she is constantly balancing demands, sometimes under considerable pressure, yet she is able to maintain an upbeat attitude. No better example can be given of her ability to succeed under difficult circumstances than her steadfast and efficient management of the departmental office while the chair of the department, assistant to the chair, and two other clerical members were all new to their positions.

The awards nomination committee was impressed by Comproski’s dedication to her work, her willingness to volunteer for work outside the realm of her responsibility, and her loyalty to the job. She is not afraid of long hours or extra work on weekends, and she is known for her student-centered attitude.

Kathleen GurneyKathleen Gurney
For more than 20 years, Kathleen Gurney has served the University in supporting roles, including the last 18 as a secretary in the School of Information Science and Policy. All 11 full-time faculty of the department, as well as emeriti, adjunct faculty, students, alumni, and professional staff gave written support for Gurney’s nomination. She is generally considered by her supervisors, constituents, and peers to be the “core” of the department.

Gurney’s constituents remark that her work at the school often goes well beyond the normal work day. It is not unusual for Gurney to return to work after dinner, to catch up with work that was unable to be completed during the day, or to prepare for whatever might be scheduled for the following day. Faculty and students also cite the occasions when Gurney goes well beyond the call of duty to help them, such as referring new faculty to local realtors, meeting new graduate students at the airport, or contacting faculty at home or as they travel, with time-sensitive messages.

“What is truly remarkable is her attitude. She always works with a smile and makes each person feel an uplifting sense of her personal energy and zest for the job. We all feel a little better about our jobs or our schoolwork after an interaction with Gurney during the day,” wrote one constituent. Another was impressed with Gurney’s dedication to and knowledge of the department. “Time and time again, faculty new and old commented upon how Kathy knows where to send people when she does not know the answer. This is the essence of information science — to know the sources and how to find critical information when it is needed.”

Able to efficiently multi-task, Gurney also devotes much of her spare time to the University and to other charitable pursuits. She has voluntarily served as chair of the University’s Secretarial/Clerical Council Steering Committee since 1986, and she is also a member of the Council of Women’s Groups. Gurney plans an annual University-wide conference for secretarial/clerical staff, and she also works on fund raisers for the Initiatives For Women program. Gurney also finds time to serve as a relief home caregiver for Community Hospice of Albany.

Gurney’s overall excellence during a multitude of duties, her professionalism, good humor and positive attitude, as well as her volunteer work, caught the eye of the nominating committee.

Anna RoblesAnna Robles
As an agency program aide in the Office of Withdrawal and Reentry, Anna Robles meets most students and their families in times of duress, yet she handles these often difficult situations with compassion and patience. Responsible for processing withdrawals, degrees in absentia, leaves of absence and readmissions, Robles is known for finding the right answers for the right situations.

“There is no doubt that Anna functions with our students’ interests as her primary concern,” wrote Dean of Undergraduate Studies Sue Faerman. “Anna works with a number of students who are experiencing great personal difficulties and who must decide whether to withdraw for a semester. In each case, Anna works with the individual student as if he or she were the only student who needed her help. That is, she gives each student personal attention and works closely with others at the University to help determine the best course of action for the individual student.”

Another constituent noted, “Anna always made the student’s problem her problem, and would try to find a solution to the problem, using a departure from the University as a last result.”

Employed by the University since 1970, Robles used her experience to maintain an efficiently functioning office on two occasions when the director’s position was vacant. She was instrumental in developing a brochure on the withdrawal process, and is taking the lead on the PeopleSoft project. “Ms. Robles has been at the forefront of both learning PeopleSoft and making suggestions on how the new software can better implement current policies, as well as provide reports that will assist the various administrative offices and our students,” wrote Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dan Smith.

Held in high esteem by her supervisors, co-workers, and constituents, Robles is known for her dedication to University students. Her nominating committee pointed out that Robles’s initiative and ability not only meet but surpass all expectations.