How to Care for Your Pet During COVID-19

During these unprecedented times, juggling taking care of yourself, your other family members and your pets is no easy task. However, with Nationwide pet insurance, giving your pets the care they deserve has never been easier with their affordable pet insurance plans for all MSU benefit-eligible employees.

Nationwide’s pet insurance plan is the only plan on the market that does not rate based on the age or breed of the pet. As an MSU benefit-eligible employee, you will also receive access to Nationwide’s exclusive employee benefits channel. Additionally, once you are enrolled in Nationwide’s pet insurance plan, you will also have free access to a 24/7 Vet Helpline where you can speak with a licensed veterinary professional any time you need. All MSU benefit-eligible employees are able to enroll online today for Nationwide’s pet insurance plan by visiting the MSU Benefits Plus website.

More Nationwide Pet Insurance Benefits

  • New, lower-cost options available for employees with reduced hours or who have been furloughed
  • Plans reimburse up to 90% on pet prescriptions, including online pharmacies
  • Emergency pet boarding is covered for employees who are temporarily unable to care for their pets
  • All policies are portable and can be billed to a credit card for employees not eligible for payroll benefits
  • Convenient online claim filing plus fast, electronic reimbursement into any bank account

As the current public health situation continues, Nationwide has noted a significant amount of new members to their pet insurance plan as more people have begun adopting animals to help take care of them during the pandemic. Due to this increase in pet owners in these uncertain times, Nationwide has not only tailored their benefits to accommodate many different situations but also has provided helpful tips for pet owners trying to navigate their return to a more regular workday schedule.

Back-to-Work Transition Tips for Pets

As we slowly start transitioning back to our workplaces, the change in routine can affect your pet. The sudden disappearance of you or your family members from your pet’s daily life can often cause separation anxiety, depression, and even destructive behaviors.

To slowly transition your pets back to a regular workday schedule, utilize these pre-transition and post-transition tips:

Graphic of Pre-transition tips that says, "Prepare your pet with small adjustments to the daily routine before you return to the office: -Get pets accustomed to the morning routine again by simulating your going-to-work process, but be sure to avoid creating a routine around saying goodbye.
-Slowly transition mealtimes and walks until they align with your schedule at work.
-Plan for playtime and exercise at set times in the morning and evening
-Spend at least an hour in another room away from your pet. Don't give in to calls to come play."
To the right of this Pre-transition tips graphic, there is a Post-transition tips graphic that says, "When you start transitioning back to the office: -Give your pet extra attention with a 30-minute walk or play session before leaving.
-Leave an audiobook, radio or TV on to keep your pet company while you're gone.
-Consider hiring a doggy daycare or pet sitter who can visit your home during the day."

Preferred pricing on Nationwide pet insurance is available through MSU Benefits Plus. For more information on pet insurance, visit the MSU HR website or get a free quote today on the Nationwide website.

Don’t Let Your Summer Be a Bummer: Take Advantage of These Summer Activities on Campus!

There’s no doubt that this summer’s activities will be a little different than usual, but don’t let that stop you from having fun! While you might be missing being able to walk through campus from meeting to meeting or enjoying the beautiful scenery of West Circle during your lunch break, there are still plenty of activities to do on campus this summer while practicing social distancing. From grabbing a curbside scoop of your favorite ice cream at the Dairy Store to hiking the trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary, there are activities for everyone to get involved with on-campus this summer while still being able to remain safe and healthy.

Summer Campus Activities

  1. The MSU Dairy Store is now offering curbside pick up on all your favorite treats. Visit their website to order a pint for you and your family to help beat the summer heat!
  2. The MSU Student Organic Farm has opened an online store where you are now able to place orders for pick up at the farm starting in mid-June.
  3. Hike the trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary! Although all buildings currently remain closed, you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery as you make your way through the trails.
  4. The MSU Broad Art Museum is offering in-home, virtual studio classes on Thursday evenings. Check out the calendar on their website to find a class to join and perfect your artistic skills.
  5. The Forest Akers Golf Course is now open! Read more about how to stay safe on the course with the COVID-19 safety procedures on their website.
  6. The MSU Community Music School is now offering online programs available for both adults and kids. Click on the program link to find all kinds of classes from private lessons to individual and group music therapy.
  7. The Wharton Center is continuing their commitment to sharing the power of performing arts with the community during this time by offering their dynamic programming, education and outreach to patrons through their “whARTon at home” programs. Click on the program link to learn more about these programs and how you can stay connected to the Wharton Center virtually.

For those at a greater risk for COVID-19 or for those who wish to remain quarantined in their homes, there are still tons of great virtual events to take part in this summer from the comfort of your own home. The WorkLife Office events calendar is another helpful resource full of even more virtual events happening in the MSU community for you and your families to utilize.

However you plan to spend your summer this year, we hope that you all will remain safe and healthy and continue to practice social distancing until we are able to see each other on campus again. In the meantime, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and have a fantastic summer Spartans!

Leading by Example

Written by Jennie Yelvington, MSW, ACSW, Program Manager for HR Organization and Professional Development.

As we contemplate a gradual return to work and the return of students in the fall, there is much to consider. New processes, new protocols and new challenges all impact our culture and how we move forward together in that transition. In times of change, leaders set the tone and their behavior conveys messages, intentional or not, about the importance of decisions made, and our values as an institution. This is considerable pressure, given that the same leaders are also dealing with the change themselves. Navigating this terrain isn’t easy, but as the title of this Harvard Business Review article suggests, Like it or Not, You Are Always Leading by Example. The article asks leaders to consider: what things do you consciously model, emphasize and communicate, and why? Does it have an impact on behavior? What influences what you choose to emphasize (your boss, values, etc.)?

Here are some strategies to consider as you pave the way.

  1. Model Self-Certainty Amidst Uncertainty: Changes occur daily, and the current situation leaves little that is predictable, which can leave many feeling considerable anxiety. Self-certainty isn’t being a “know it all”, rather it means to be grounded in values and confident in your ability to work together with others to find solutions no matter what the future holds. This helps to reduce anxiety and lead to better problem-solving. Leaders are encouraged to reflect on the tone they are setting. The Forbes article Leading Through Uncertainty: Six Ways to Navigate the Unchartered notes, “think of yourself as an emotional barometer, setting the emotional temperature for those in your charge, giving them cues for how they should respond.”
  2. Model Empathy and Compassion: This may not come easily to all (even if they feel empathy and compassion) but modeling it at this time is critical. As outlined in the Yale Insights article Leading Through COVID: Manage Your Team with Empathy, “people who are scared are not going to be productive or move in any kind of cohesive direction. The human thing, the kind thing, is to start every conversation with the simple question: ‘How are you? I just want to check in on you.’ Right now, showing empathy is the most important thing you can do for productivity, performance, innovation, retention—for any meaningful outcome.” Also remember, you are setting an example for your team, encouraging them to do the same for each other.
  3. Model a Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): If you say DEI is important to you but laugh along or ignore microaggressions (or macroaggressions), people learn a lesson about your priorities and sincerity. Do you honor preferred pronouns? Have you educated yourself about the experiences of marginalized communities? Are you considering that COVID-19 has impacted people differently depending on a multitude of factors? Note that pretending that the DEI issues don’t exist or impact our colleagues, students, and the communities we serve also sends a message about who you are and what you represent; and remember, as an MSU leader you are a representative of the organization.

    The organization also has a responsibility to back up that individual leader in their efforts to address these issues, which speaks to the values and courage of both the person and the organization’s practices and policies. Do both help to create an inclusive, equitable space for all people to thrive? These actions need to be thoughtful and intentional if we have any chance of having an engaged, inclusive workplace. The Forbes article, 5 Reasons Why Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Fail, states that a leader’s efforts must go beyond the organization’s “needs for compliance and start working to gain that respect by actually recognizing and listening to the people whose respect you want to earn and unique differences you desire to value.” Leaders not only have a responsibility for their individual behaviors but also to push for policy and process changes that align with the stated values of the organization. It doesn’t happen without the concerted, prioritized actions of individuals over time.
  4. Model Accountability: Doing what you say you’ll do, and what you say is important, will impact how much people listen and follow through. If you say that you expect others to speak up and address issues, but you tend to avoid conversations that are difficult, you likely won’t have credibility. If you announce that everyone is required to wear a mask in public spaces but fail to clearly address it when people don’t comply, the bar will be lowered and safety potentially at risk. For help in having these conversations in a productive way, check out these brief videos from Vital Smarts.
  5. Model Self-Care: We’ve all heard about the importance of taking breaks, getting exercise, connecting with others and refraining from working around the clock. The extent to which leaders demonstrate self-care skills impacts their team members. Even if you don’t expect your team to work beyond their stated hours, if you are sending emails in the middle of the night you have set an example that they may wonder if they need to follow. According to Gallup, “when a manager is thriving in well-being, their direct reports are 15% more likely to be thriving in well-being six months later… managers don’t need to become triathletes to demonstrate their commitment to physical well-being. Rather, managers should authentically display and share their personal well-being practices – providing verbal and non-verbal examples of well-being in action.” Encourage your team to practice good self-care, let them know why it’s important, and demonstrate the same.

Leaders cast a big shadow, impacting organizational practices, policies, and culture. In these volatile times, it is particularly important to go beyond the ideas of theoretical leadership notions and intentionally assure that your actions are having the intended impact. Find others who will provide you with honest feedback and make a plan to commit to your own learning journey across time. It requires considerable work, but it is incredibly gratifying to see the difference that effort can make.

Sources:

Bock, L. (2020, May 12). Leading through COVID: Manage Your Team with Empathy. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/leading-through-covid-manage-your-team-with-empathy

Grenny, J. (n.d.). How Do I Say That | Crucial Skills by VitalSmarts. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.vitalsmarts.com/crucialskills/category/how-do-i-say-that/?from-minicourse-page

Llopis, G. (2017, March 29). 5 Reasons Diversity And Inclusion Fails. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2017/01/16/5-reasons-diversity-and-inclusion-fails/

Nelson, J. (2020, June 12). The Manager’s Role in Employee Well-Being. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236249/manager-role-employee.aspx

Schrage, M. (2017, April 21). Like It or Not, You Are Always Leading by Example. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://hbr.org/2016/10/like-it-or-not-you-are-always-leading-by-example

Warrell, M. (2020, April 09). Leading Through Uncertainty: Six Ways To Navigate The Unchartered. Retrieved June 18, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2020/03/08/leading-through-coronavirus-how-those-in-charge-can-navigate-the-uncertainty-with-calm–courage/

Celebrate Father’s Day with These Great Discounts!

With everything going on in the world today, celebrating this Father’s Day might look a little different, but it doesn’t have to be any less special! Thanks to MSU Benefits Plus, making the fathers in your life feel special has never been easier with their list of discounts they have compiled for MSU benefits-eligible employees. From discounts on meats and cheeses to golf apparel to even luxury items like Apple Watches and tablets, your Father’s Day gifts will surely be ones to remember this year! 

Discounts from MSU Benefits Plus

Chicago Steak Company: Save 20% on bulk purchases of meats and food gifts by using the promo code FREEZER at checkout 

Golf Avenue: Get $15 off any Golf Bag with promo code BAGS15 

Apple: Receive employee pricing on most Apple products 

Otterbox: Enjoy 10% off and free shipping on mobile device cases and accessories with the promo code OTTER10 

BMW: Earn up to $3,000 on a new BMW, $500 on a new MINI and $11,000 on the purchase of a new BMW i3 by using the promo code NEPP3703 

Backcountry: Take 20% off one full-priced item of outdoor gear at Backcountry online by using the promo code 20FULLPRICE at checkout 

Brooks Brothers: Get 15% off online menswear purchases using ID: 12455 and PIN: 54530 

Dell: Save up to 30% on Dell PCs and accessories 

Enjoy all these discounts and more by checking out MSU Benefits Plus’ full list of discounts for MSU benefits-eligible employees on their website.

Performance Excellence Resources

Do you have a Performance Excellence annual review and/or planning meeting coming up soon? Performance Excellence is a collaborative process between MSU support staff and their supervisors that ensures employees are continually developing their skills to contribute to the success of the university. Employees should be meeting regularly with their supervisors to discuss their Performance Excellence development plan and goals for the year. This encourages everyone to stay engaged and allows goals to be adjusted if needed. Whether you are an employee or supervisor, we have resources to help you get the most out of the Performance Excellence process.

Conducting Annual Performance Reviews During Remote Work

Many MSU employees are working remotely during this unprecedented public health situation and the following guidance should help supervisors continue to conduct annual performance reviews. If you are unsure whether you should be conducting annual performance reviews, please contact your HR representative.

Virtual Annual Performance Review Guidance

Steps to Complete the Review

  1. Follow the usual steps to prepare for the Annual Performance Review discussion and the Performance Planning for the next performance cycle. Find tips to prepare here.
  2. Follow your unit’s defined process for performance reviews. Complete all internal unit requirements and procedures as directed.
  3. Provide a copy of the completed review form to the employee prior to the meeting. We recommend sharing the form with the employee in advance of the meeting by email, so they have time to prepare for and fully engage in the discussion. At a minimum, share your screen during the virtual meeting so your employee can see the completed review form.
  4. Hold the Annual Review meeting using remote collaboration tools. Find tips to prepare here and tips to conduct the meeting while working remotely below:
    1. Conduct the review using video chat options to allow for a more personal connection with your employee. MSU has great collaboration tools available.
  5. Complete the Performance Planning Form for the following performance cycle. Find tips to prepare here.
  6. Schedule regularly occurring times for ongoing coaching and feedback throughout the next performance cycle.

Find Tips and Tools on the HR Website

Find additional tips and resources for conducting and completing the Annual Performance Review during this period of remote work on the HR website. There is a wealth of information available about Performance Excellence on the HR website including:

  • Detailed info about the process
  • Required training
  • Learning opportunities to help meet performance goals
  • Related forms
  • Tips and tools for success

Visit the Performance Excellence webpage and then select whether you’re looking for resources for employees or supervisors.

Questions? Contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Inclusive Leadership: Starting with Self-Reflection

Written by Jennie Yelvington, MSW, ACSW, Program Manager for HR Organization and Professional Development.

Central to being a leader at MSU is understanding that furthering diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority that is imperative to the university fulfilling its mission. Simply understanding, however, is not enough. All of us must take an active role in continuing to work towards a more diverse and inclusive community. In a recent response to the killing of George Floyd, President Stanley noted:

“We are committed to building an inclusive environment here at MSU, one that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. However, this commitment must be manifested in ways that extend well beyond words.”

President Stanley

Our commitment includes the work of both the individual and the collective; of behaviors, practices and policies that work together in an impactful way. Thankfully, we have a talented Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee (learn more about this committee and their vision here) that will be identifying recommendations going forward. In the meantime, start with the following questions for self-reflection related to these six themes to help reveal where you are on the path to being an inclusive leader:

  1. Belief: Do you wholeheartedly believe everyone is created equal? Regardless of differences in skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, workplace hierarchy, support staff vs. academic staff, attire, etc.? Your honest answers may help with the next question.
  2. Awareness: Are you aware of the conscious and unconscious biases you had or have towards others? We all have them, so the question isn’t “if” you have bias, but where you do and what you do about it. Authors of the Harvard Business Review article The Key to Inclusive Leadership add that to be meaningful, bias awareness must be tied to two other traits:
    1. Humility – a willingness to acknowledge your vulnerability to bias and ask for feedback on blind spots and habits; and
    1. Empathy/perspective-taking – striving to understand others deeply and leave them feeling heard.
  3. Boldness: Are you honest with others about your shortcomings or misperceptions? Are you willing to have uncomfortable conversations or do reparative work if you make a mistake? This work does not occur without mistakes, but we must have the courage to do it anyway.
  4. Curiosity: Are you open to unlearning and relearning from others? Do you take the time to do your own research and learn about experiences others may be facing? Do you really know what it means to actively be a good ally? As leaders, we need to build diverse relationships, ask regularly for honest feedback and make adjustments as needed.
  5. Action: Are your behaviors and actions towards others aligned with your belief in equality? Believing in something theoretically is a start but has little meaning if your actions don’t consistently back it up. In developing inclusive cultures, leaders must address forces that dehumanize at personal, systemic and institutional levels. Don’t sit back waiting for others to take action. Make the changes that you can and speak up to exercise your influence.
  6. Commitment: Do you consistently hold yourself and others accountable to a culture of inclusion? The article Inclusive Leadership in Higher Education Today reminds us that “the inclusive leader works to support others’ identities, fosters understanding, respect, and dignity, and works to build a sense of mutual responsibility for and commitment to cultivating an inclusive, supportive, and impactful experience for all.” Do you speak up when you notice microaggressions? Do you actively seek the opinions of people in meetings who are being marginalized? Do you push for diverse hiring committees and candidate pools? Think about different ways that you can actively expand your commitment and take related steps.

As noted in the white paper Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership, “companies can’t add diversity to the mix of a team and expect that people will automatically collaborate, connect, resolve conflicts, or innovate as a cohesive unit. Aiming to improve your company’s demographic diversity (e.g., gender, ethnicity, ability) without also aiming to improve employee experiences of inclusion is not good for employers or employees. To generate exceptional outcomes, people need to work in an inclusive atmosphere where they can belong, contribute, and thrive.”

With perseverance and humility, we can continue to work on these issues and help MSU to be at the forefront of positive transformation.

Resources to Help:

elevateU Resources:

Podcast: Help Me Understand – Episode 8: A Conversation About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. JK talks with Jessica Garcia, former MSU faculty member and CEO of Hummingbird Solutions, LLC, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm.

Sources:

Arnold, N. W. (2020, May 22). Inclusive Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.higheredtoday.org/2020/05/20/inclusive-leadership/

Bourke, J., & Espedido, A. (2020, March 6). The Key to Inclusive Leadership. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2020/03/the-key-to-inclusive-leadership

Jenkins, R. (2018, June 12). 6 Questions That Reveal If You Are an Inclusive Leader. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/ryan-jenkins/how-to-be-an-inclusive-leader-in-6-steps.html

Kendall, F. E. (2003). How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege. Retrieved from http://www.scn.org/friends/ally.html?fbclid=IwAR2y_9Z615-XMXhfsaZ4P9lJ2EvgTXjZNamdmj8ru_eQdot0bzwAUnzC4qs

Stanley, S. L., & Sullivan, T. A. (n.d.). Message to the campus community on the shocking events in Minnesota. Retrieved from https://president.msu.edu/communications/messages-statements/2020_community_letters/2020_05_29_Letter_on_Minnesota_events.html?utm_campaign=standard-promo&utm_source=msulinkedin-post&utm_medium=social

Travis, D. J., Shaffer, E., & Thorpe-Moscon, J. (n.d.). Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership: Why Change Starts with You. Getting Real About Inclusive Leadership: Why Change Starts with You. Catalyst. Retrieved from https://www.catalyst.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Getting-Real-About-Inclusive-Leadership-Report-2020update.pdf

Webinar Spotlight: Essential Skills for Navigating Difficult Times

Throughout the past few months, life has drastically changed for many due to the effects from the recent public health crisis. For those MSU employees who may have been furloughed or laid off, the MSU Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and MSU Health4U Program are offering a special session of their Essential Skills for Navigating Difficult Times webinar series. Lisa Laughman, MSU’s Lead Emotional Wellness Consultant, will facilitate an eight-week basic resilience training course designed to help employees experiencing furlough to process emotions and effectively navigate both personal and professional challenges.

The purpose of the course is to provide basic emotional resilience skill building to help individuals navigate all the challenges that their temporary employment status, the COVID-19 pandemic, national protests, and other life circumstances may be creating for them. It is also offered to provide support and connection to the campus community as the furlough period unfolds.

This basic resilience training program will provide participants:

  • Operating instructions for personal, emotional guidance system.
  • Practical reset skills to help regain a sense of balance and perspective during these difficult days.
  • Introduction to six skills that will help strengthen psychological flexibility.
  • Skill-building to help understand and navigate the full range of human emotions required for rich, meaningful life.
  • Value clarification exercises to help claim the core values to navigate whatever comes in this time of crisis and change.

This on-line resilience training program will begin on Tues., June 9 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and will run for eight consecutive weeks. All interested employees can register here. Sessions will be offered via Zoom and those who register will be sent Zoom connection information following their registration.

For any questions about this program, contact Lisa Laughman directly at lisa.laughman@hc.msu.edu.

MSU Celebrates 2020 Award Winners!

The University acknowledges and expresses its gratitude for both long-term support staff and support staff going “above and beyond” in their job performance. Each year, the University recognizes these individuals through the MSU Retirement and Service Recognition, Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards, and Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award.

MSU Retirement and Service Recognition

The MSU Retirement and Service Recognition recognizes support staff employees celebrating long-term service work anniversaries of 15+ years, as well as employees who have recently retired within the last fiscal year. This year we recognize 573 employees celebrating a long-term work anniversary and 188 employees retiring from the University. Thank you for your years of dedicated service to MSU! Click here to view a full list of those celebrating this year.

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Awards honors six University support staff members annually. These individuals are nominated by their colleagues as demonstrating the qualities of Jack Breslin, who served MSU as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate, personifying the “Spartan Spirit.” Award honorees display overall excellence in job performance, supportive attitude and contributions to their unit and the University. This year’s awardees are:

Shannon Davis

Davis is an Administrative Associate in the Dean’s Office in the College of Social Science. She manages all aspects of the college’s Human Resources operations. Davis’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Shannon [is] one of [the College of Social Science]’s shining stars and the work product she provides is exceptional. Shannon is more than willing to provide support to anyone on our team and does so with a positive and collegial attitude.” 

“Those of us in the College of Social Science continue to be amazed at the consistent, appropriate and accurate work-product that Shannon provides. Even though she has a tremendously busy life outside of MSU, she seems to be able to adequately compartmentalize, and while at work, gives more than 110% to the College of Social Science. She does us all proud, and we are truly fortunate to have her.”

Theresa (Terry) Edwards

Edwards is a Secretary III in the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education. She provides direct support to the Department Chairperson, as well as support for departmental faculty, staff, students and visitors. Edwards’ colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Terry is an expert on academic triage and in performing her varied routine and ad hoc duties, she is skilled at not only managing her own priorities, but in managing the flood of issues she must field for others, whether the department chair or the myriad faculty and students that come to her for assistance or referral. We perform very well, in large part, due to Terry’s excellence.” 

“We truly believe Terry deserves this honor. In particular, at this challenging moment in MSU’s history, we believe it’s important to recognize community members who go out of their way to build relationships, make others feel safe and valued, and create workspaces that are humanizing as well as productive.” 

Todd Wilson

Wilson is a Planner/Inspector/Analyst II in Planning, Design and Construction for Infrastructure Planning and Facilities. He manages capital construction projects for MSU and serves as the University’s liaison. Wilson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“One of Todd’s real joys about working at MSU is his ability to construct learning environments that forward the mission of MSU and offer spectacular facilities for faculty and students.” 

“Spartans Will (or…Spartans Wil-son in this case)!”

Robert (Bob) Patterson

Patterson is the Chief Financial Officer for Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS). He is responsible for the financial budgeting, financial management and overall viability of the financial success of all departments which make up RHS. Patterson’s colleagues had this to say about him: 

“Bob is a tireless advocate for students. For their overall experience and for the stewarding of resources that impact that experience.”

“I have never seen anyone so great at relating to people of all walks of life as Bob does. Bob tries to find common ground with everyone he meets.”

Maggie Chen-Hernandez

Chen-Hernandez is Student Services Coordinator in the Office of Cultural and Academic Transition. She is responsible for assessing and developing curriculum for the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience and Intercultural Aide Program, developing diversity, equity and inclusion training, and collaborating with academic affairs, faculty and students to implement student retention initiatives, among others. Chen-Hernandez’s colleagues had this to say about her: 

“In her close to 30 years of service, Maggie Chen-Hernandez has always and continues to go above and beyond what is expected of her because she deeply cares about the students she serves and wants them to feel a sense of belonging, and wants them to be successful both academically and socially.”

“Ms. Chen-Hernandez has made a great impact during her distinguished career at Michigan State University. The campus is a more inviting and inclusive community for students and staff due to her presence and service.”

Cindy Baswell

Baswell is the Bakery Manager for MSU Bakers. She is responsible for all aspects and operations of the unit. Baswell and her staff are responsible for almost all the fresh baked goods served on campus. Her colleagues had this to say about her: 

“Cindy truly cares about everything she does and puts the best interests of our students, guests and University as a whole in the forefront of her work.”

“Through her work at the bakery, Cindy has touched the lives of countless individuals; those with whom she works, student customers and other customers, and so many people throughout the community. Cindy leads her team to excellence in all they do, creating a culture of creativity, compassion, generosity, and strong ethics.”

Ruth Jameyson “Above and Beyond” Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Ruth Jameyson, going “above and beyond” what is reasonably expected in supporting the mission of MSU. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s own pursuit of a graduate degree while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU.

This year’s recipient is Michelle Gunn Van Deuren. She is a Research Assistant II in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Gunn Van Deuren is pursuing a graduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine from MSU. Her colleagues had this to say about her:

“She is a very intelligent young lady, who is extremely creative in getting each task of her job done efficiently. In order to maximize time efficiency, she took courses to learn complicated software for bookkeeping, accounting and visual arts and mastered them.”

“Ms. Van Deuren unequivocally is the hands down, standalone, single best embodiment of “Above and Beyond”. Truly, as I became aware of this award and was reading about Ms. Jameyson, I swore the authors were writing and describing Michelle herself. Professionalism, Michelle. Loyalty, Michelle. Kindness, Michelle! Strength, patience, ambassador, Michelle! Never daunted by workload, whether piles or mountains, and being uncannily stalwart, Michelle is a tremendous asset to my growing program.”

The University would like to congratulate all award winners once again for all of their outstanding work. MSU would be nowhere near where it is today without the help of our dedicated employees. During this time, we invite the colleagues of these award recipients to extend their congratulations and appreciation to these individuals so they may receive the recognition and thanks they so greatly deserve.