In times of crisis it takes true leaders to rise to the occasion, and those are among the qualities that Lincoln University has recognised this week in handing out their staff excellence awards.
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Bruce McKenzie said that Lincoln’s annual staff excellence awards had taken on an added significance during a year in which the University faced many challenges related to the global COVID-19 outbreak.
“This year has been a test of character for all the Lincoln University whānau, so recognising the staff who have won awards for their performance in 2020 has been a very special moment.
“Nominated by their peers, students and alumni, our winners for 2020 exemplify the attributes, skills and leadership qualities that best represent Lincoln University’s vision, values and standing in the community.”
Winning the Lincoln University Staff Excellence Award for an individual, Library Teaching and Learning (LTL) Administrator Andrew Sepie stepped up to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdown, guiding the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design teaching staff through the unfamiliar territory of moving all their course material, including exams and assessments, to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT).
The Lincoln University Staff Excellence Award for a team was presented to Wellbeing and International Support Advisors Denise Hannam and Denise Pelvin in recognition for their tireless work in supporting the University’s international students through one of the most difficult years on record.
With the country in lockdown and students off-campus, the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design (ESD) implemented its ERT response swiftly and effectively – thanks in large part to the efforts of Andrew Sepie.
Only joining the ESD team in Semester 1 2020 as a fixed-term lecturer and tutor, Sepie applied his extensive experience of creating rich and engaging online content to activate the Faculty’s ERT platform when the lockdown took effect, facilitating a smooth and seamless transition to an online learning experience for students.
His broad knowledge and rare technical skill, combined with his natural leadership attributes, collegial approach and outstanding communication style, made a massive contribution to ESD’s transition to the virtual learning environment.
Dean of ESD, Associate Professor Roslyn Kerr, said Andrew Sepie’s award win recognised the extreme excellence of his work on behalf of the Faculty and the University this year.
“While I have come across many outstanding staff members, I have never seen a staff member go above and beyond in the way that Andrew Sepie has done in responding to the COVID crisis in 2020. The assistance he has provided both ESD and the University in terms of online support is beyond exceptional.”
Denise Hannam and Denise Pelvin
In providing outstanding pastoral care for Lincoln University’s international students, Denise and Denise have just navigated two of the most challenging years ever experienced by the Lincoln University community.
Known affectionately as the two Dees, the pair have worked around the clock this year to support the University’s international students, and to help other Lincoln staff to understand and support the individual situation of each international student.
The two Dees not only demonstrate Lincoln’s value of Students at our Core, but they also live and breathe their commitment to students every minute of every day, whether at work or at home. Sharing a roster that requires one of them to be available 24/7, they have been called out to car accidents, hospital admissions, loss of life, overwhelming anxiety and many other incidents common to people everywhere.
Denise and Denise embrace and exemplify thriving in diversity. They value each and every one of Lincoln’s international students and their cultures and delight in the many different nations represented at the University. They provide an inspiring lead for other staff in their practices of equity and equality for all. They willingly work together with any staff who have concerns about an international student, seeking solutions which work for all while maintaining the integrity of the University.
Lincoln’s Wellbeing and International Support Manager, Dr Jackie Blunt, said: “The two Dees are gold. They have made an exceptional contribution to the University this year by supporting many of our international students to remain in New Zealand and succeed with their studies, despite the very trying circumstance of this singularly challenging year.”
Andrew Sepie, Denise Hannam and Denise Pelvin were personally presented with their Lincoln University Staff Excellence Awards at an all-staff event at the University on Wednesday 9 December. The winners were presented with a trophy and a prize of $2,500 to be taken in cash or used as a direct contribution towards a professional development activity.