VINCENNES, Ind. - Vincennes University presented Peer Recognition Awards to employees at a reception on Oct. 23 at the Beckes Student Union. VU President Chuck Johnson made the presentations, thanking recipients for their dedicated service.
VU peers nominate recipients based on exemplary service and performance. The President’s Advisory Committee then selects the recipients.
Award recipients include Rick Kribs, chair and associate professor of Mathematics; Jaci Lederman, chair and associate professor of Information Technology; Michael Mullen, professor of English; Russell Ort, chair of the Funeral Services Department; and Jennifer Robinson, coordinator for Jobs for Americas Graduates (JAG).
“A common thread I see in all these recipients is their passion for working with students, for helping others, and making good come out of their efforts,” Johnson said. “I think that speaks so well about them, their commitment to Vincennes University, and to the success of our programs and students.”
Kribs has served as Math chair for four years, a time of major change in developmental education to transform to a co-requisite model of teaching. Kribs led the change, working closely with the English Department to ensure both departments used similar styles and methods of the co-requisite model. He also spends numerous additional hours taking care of many faculty issues, including devoting extra time scheduling classes in different buildings for the benefit of transitioning faculty members. He cares about the opinions of his peers and is fair, honest, and positive.
Lederman implemented new student recruitment strategies since becoming chair of Information Technology, including incorporating current IT students as interns to generate promotional content for the VU website, create and edit videos and printed materials, as well as talking to prospective students. Lederman is faculty advisor for IT Lead Club which helps non-profits with their websites. Those assisted include local food banks, Vincennes Animal Shelter, Vincennes Parks and Recreation Dept., and the Social Media Parent Awareness Project. Her Day of Code project sponsors field trips to 5th grade classes in elementary schools near Evansville where students learn about programming.
Mullen’s strength as professor of English lies in his ability to nurture, mentor, and inspire students, and never declining to help a student who needs help. Mullen continues to mentor and advise student journalists, both on campus and within the state, in his capacity as an Indiana Collegiate Press Association Board member, where he has served for more than 20 years. He is also highly sought after in the VU Writing Center as a patient and reliable tutor. The best quality of a learning environment is to draw on and build the strengths of each individual member, and Mullen has finely honed his role in doing that at VU.
Ort has made a significant impact since chairing the Funeral Services Department for two years. During his first year he completed an intensive self-study and helped present it to the American Board of Funeral Service Education’s Committee on Accreditation. The Board gave the program the maximum seven-year accreditation, a reflection of his hard work. Ort has also worked to build an exemplary curriculum, ensuring students are receiving the best possible education that enables them to pass the National Board Exam. Students often tell how he helps them and is a positive influence to them, assisting them in finding employment.
Robinson is the recipient of the 2016 JAG Coordinator of the Year in Indiana, recognizing her for outstanding work helping at-risk high school students. She oversees the JAG program at three high schools with at least 40 students per school, personally helping them be successful. In February Robinson coordinated the Region 8 Regional Career Development Conference where she ensured that all students had proper attire for the event, even assisting some by taking them shopping and buying some of the clothing herself. She always makes herself available to help students overcome barriers.