Asuka Morley, Stacy Norwood, Lia Pileggi, Michael Shernick and Alicia Turchette recognized for going well above and far beyond the call of duty
Five outstanding staff members have been named employees of the year by the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The honorees are:
- Asuka Morley, administrative assistant and graduate program assistant in the Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations.
- Stacy Norwood, program coordinator at the Department of Theatre and Dance.
- Lia Pileggi, digital imaging and technology coordinator in the Department of Art and Art History.
- Michael Shernick, program coordinator in the Stories and Societies Residential Academic Program.
- Alicia Turchette, program manager for the Department of Women and Gender Studies.
Colleagues nominated each of the awardees, bestowing high praise in all cases.
Morley joined Asian languages and civilizations in December 2017. R. Keller Kimbrough, professor of Japanese and chair of the department, says she is the “eminently professional, all-knowing and ever-kind face of our graduate program.”
Kimbrough added that Morley has consistently exhibited outstanding performance in all areas of her position, whether it be course scheduling, classroom assignments, maintaining the department’s webpage, consulting with faculty and students about rules and procedures, keeping track of students’ required courses and paperwork, meeting with visitors and prospective students, organizing and overseeing graduation ceremonies and other departmental events, “and even carrying books and boxes when faculty need help with an office move.”
Jackie Coombs, program assistant in the department, concurred, adding that Morley is “instrumental in fostering an environment of exceptional support to enhance student learning and the mission of the university.”
Coombs added: “She has demonstrated leadership and innovation in an abnormally strenuous time that has delivered obstacle after obstacle due to the challenges of the pandemic. Asuka truly is a rare find and our department would not be what it is today without her contributions.”
Norwood came to the department after a career as a professional stage manager, and that experience as “the person responsible for everything” is evident in her current role, said Bruce Bergner, interim chair of theatre and dance.
Bergner went on to quote colleagues who praised Norwod in many ways, including these:
"She goes beyond the call of duty, creating a nurturing and proactive atmosphere in the front office—her office door is filled with encouraging quotes and tear-off words of encouragement should anyone need a bit of a lift. She is inspirational."
"In our regular meetings, (Norwood) is the glue that holds our committees together—almost like a sage guide."
"Stacy was the safe harbor during the storm of COVID, keeping the office running when we were scattered all over Colorado, always facilitating working communication channels."
Pileggi joined art and art history in 2015 and has in recent years gone “truly above and beyond to help the department and its members thrive,” said Jeanne Quinn, professor and chair of the department.
Quinn noted that Pileggi stepped in to fill a critical need: Students needed to photograph their work, but there was no system of helping students. “Lia took it on, acquiring backdrops, lights and other necessary equipment, found space, fitted it properly and began working with faculty to integrate the teaching of this skill as part of our undergraduate program,” Quinn said, adding, “It has paid great dividends for our students and is a much-used and appreciated facility.”
Last year, Quinn added, Pileggi served on the department’s diversity committee, which worked “as never before to address issues that had been brought to the committee by concerned students and alumni.”
The committee met 22 times over the course of the year, conducting multiple “listening sessions” to hear and record the experiences of students, staff and faculty regarding DEI issues. “Lia scheduled the meetings, kept records of the meetings and listening sessions, and essentially kept the committee moving forward,” Quinn said.
Shernick is a longtime staff member whose service to residential academic programs is “broad, deep and multi-faceted,” said Eric Stade, professor of mathematics and director of the Stories and Societies Residential Academic Program (RAP).
Stade included a dozen bullet points highlighting instances in which Shernick provided key contributions. More generally, Stade noted, Shernick’s genuine affinity “for helping people and for making them feel like they belong helps to instill a spirit of inclusivity in our RAP and Sewall Hall.”
Additionally, Shernick has frequently helped English-language learners among the housekeeping staff read, interpret and respond to various documents written in English, Stade said.
Stade added: “Just this week, a student in SRAP/Sewall Hall, unfortunately, experienced a traumatic event. The student immediately came looking, not for me or the hall director or an RA, but for Michael. And of course, Michael was there. That’s who he is.”
Turchette has been with women and gender studies for 13 years and is the “glue that has held the department together” through staff changes and the pandemic, noted Julie Carr, chair of the department and a professor of English and creative writing.
Even during turbulent times, Carr said, “Turchette is unfailingly thorough in her work: managing the finances of the department; handling course scheduling; understanding and responding to pedagogic needs; communicating with students and staff about events and updates from campus, the college and the department; administrating the LGBTQ certificate program; administrating the (department’s graduate) certificate program; and helping me to understand the department by-laws and ongoing projects while keeping me on track for all administrative deadlines.”
“She is somehow able to do the job of two (or three) people at once, though indeed she never should have had to,” Carr said. “She takes on this extra labor without a hitch, as she cares deeply about all aspects of our department. She is a joy to work with: thoughtful, careful and considerate of others’ feelings. She takes authority for what she knows (which is often more than anyone else in the room) and openly offers clear advice.”