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October - December 2012

Employee of the Quarter
Award Recipients

Nonexempt Recipients
Cathy McDonnell
Patricia Bach, Norma Falk and
Susan Harrell
Cathy McDonnell

The Department of Human Resources would like to congratulate Patricia Bach, Norma Falk, Susan Harrell and Cathy McDonnell on receiving this honor.

Patricia Bach, Administrative Assistant II; Norma Falk, Administrative Assistant II; and Susan Harrell, Executive Assistant I of the English Department, have been named UMBC’s Nonexempt Employees of the Quarter effective October 1 thru December 31, 2012. Patricia began her career at UMBC in 1999 as an Administrative Assistant I for the English Department and was promoted to her current position on May 2006. Norma started working at UMBC in 2005 as an Administrative Assistant I for Academic Services and transferred to her current position in 2007. Susan has been a long term employee in the English Department starting in 1981.

Patricia, Norma, and Susan were nominated by Dr. Christopher Corbett (Acting Chair) and Dr. Raphael Falco (Professor) of the English Department. The three employees were nominated for the award together for their combined efforts and contributions.  Dr. Corbett and Dr. Falco said, “These three veteran employees of UMBC were chiefly responsible for organizing and coordinating the highly successful move from the old Fine Arts Building to the new Performing Arts and Humanities Building (PAHB). Without their energetic efforts, this move would never have been accomplished so smoothly. This was a long and difficult process that involved hundreds of hours of planning and moving some 57 full and part-time faculty members. The move was handled with great professionalism and calm. It caused very little disruption in the operation of the department.”

“Since we are nominating a slate, it is difficult to itemize the changes and improvements of all three nominees. But suffice it to say that Susan Harrell, in a 30-year career in the English Department, has been instrumental in revamping the office. Her continuing support of the faculty has been vital to the growth and success of our department. Both Patricia Bach and Norma Falk have been more than faithful lieutenants—their steady reliability stands alone and is itself worthy of significant acknowledgement.”

They also remarked, “Susan, Patty, and Norma make everything they do seem easy. They are patient, tireless, and unflappable. And they deal with a demanding faculty every day – no easy task” and added that the move from the Fine Arts Building to the PAHB “demands time and effort beyond the staff’s normal beginning-of-the-semester duties. There are many deserving staff members on this campus but we do not think you will find a more appropriate time than this exceptional year to say thank you to Susan, Patty and Norma. 

Everyone in the English Department offered their hardy congratulations to Patricia, Norma, and Susan for being selected as Employees of the Quarter.

Cathy McDonnell, Program Coordinator for the Health Administration and Policy Program (HAPP) in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, has been named UMBC’s Exempt Employee of the Quarter effective October 1 thru December 31, 2012. Cathy began her career at UMBC in 2000 as an Administrative Assistant II for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. After numerous additions to her responsibilities, she was promoted to her current position in 2007.
Cathy was nominated by Kevin Eckert, Chair for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Kevin said, “Ms. McDonnell has many outstanding personal and professional traits which she unselfishly shares with the UMBC community. As the sole Program Coordinator for the Health Administration and Policy Program (HAPP), she demonstrates a strong work ethic, personal integrity, kindness, competency, and problem solving skills. All these traits have contributed to her outstanding performance in serving HAPP and its students. As the face of HAPP and its students, Ms. McDonnell exemplifies customer service cheerfully engaging the lines of students outside her office as well as the numerous student requests in her email box. When the day is already a long one, she consistently carries on with a wonderful commitment to the students, and deep belief in the mission of UMBC and HAPP to make a positive difference in student lives. Ultimately, it is this wholehearted commitment to the students and HAPP’s mission that enables her to deliver an outstanding work performance day after day, week after week.”

“In July of 2011, Joyce Riley, her supervisor for many years, retired as the HAPP Associate Director. To provide an opportunity for Ms. Riley’s successor to get oriented, Ms. McDonnell temporarily took on the responsibility of Internship Specialist for HAPP. As luck would have it, in September 2011, internships suddenly surged from 30 students to 58 per semester! Despite juggling her many other duties (with good humor), Ms. McDonnell worked the long hours necessary to develop new internships and to link students with these placements. This was a remarkable performance for someone new to the responsibility of internship coordination and who had accepted this responsibility on top of an already busy job.”

Kevil further elaborated that, “In addition to her interpersonal skills and professional skills, on a technical level she has been the department leader in mastering UMBC’s computer systems including the PeopleSoft system, REX system, and scheduling procedures. She has been the ‘go to’ person in creating reports and skillfully assembling the critical data needed to track the burgeoning number of students, courses, and performance indicators related to HAPP. Her exceptional technical proficiency with these various programs and systems has allowed the department to continue to excel in its commitment to undergraduate education and planning. The HAPP Program Director and the Department Chair increasingly rely on Ms. McDonnell’s considerable expertise and confidence with these information systems. She has the impressive ability to pull critical information out of these systems and organize it in a form which is useful. She not only accesses the information, but she thinks about its implications with a critical eye. Overall, Ms. McDonnell consistently performs at an exceptional level in terms of her interactions with students, work with faculty, technical expertise, and her contributions to the success of the HAPP program.”

Cathy was presented her award at a luncheon held in her honor on October 19, 2012. The luncheon comprised of Cathy’s favorite Mexican food including taco salad and also a cake that can only be described as “delicioso”.


Each recipient will receive a check for $500, a special parking space, one day of administrative leave, a certificate, his/her name on the Employee of the Quarter plaque and an invitation to the annual Service Award Ceremony for all the recipients.

Human Resources offers special thanks to everyone that nominated an employee for the award. Previous nominations received will be eligible for consideration for one year from the date received. The next Employee of the Quarter recipients will be selected in January.

Learn how to nominate an employee that you feel is deserving of this award for the next quarter.

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