Human Resources

Wilson Hall, Room 401
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-3480

Office hours:
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
and by appointment

Employee Recognition


In recognition of the many outstanding accomplishments of Oakland University’s employees, the University is pleased to offer various employee recognition programs featuring periodic honors and awards. Please see the tabs below for details on each recognition program and how to apply or nominate.

Golden Grizzly Recognition

University faculty and staff interested in recognizing colleagues for notable accomplishments or contributions to the campus community at any time are encouraged to submit a Golden Grizzly Recognition nomination. There is no limit to the number of recognitions one can submit or receive. Submissions are reviewed by University Communications and Marketing and members of the university's Employee Recognition Committee for appropriateness and issued to designated recipients promptly upon approval.

Years of Service Recognition

2021 AP Reward Recipients

of the

Do you know an employee who:
  • Shines by Their Attitude: Has a positive attitude and performance in serving the needs of the university staff from other department, students, visitors, faculty, etc.
  • Reaches Higher: Dedication and work ethic that is above and beyond that required.
  • Performs Exceptionally: Proven and demonstrated methods of improving the efficiency of the work place; exceptional performance in a project or task, which results in a savings of money/time, or increases revenues, productivity and/or morale.
  • Promotes Teamwork: Builds positive working relationships with individuals and with teams on cross-functional projects.
  • Rallies in Support of OU: Aligns their work in support of Institutional Priorities.
If so, please fill out the form below!

Nomination Form

November 2021 Employee of the Month

Jimmy Briggs

Mastery Level V - Groundskeeper
Grounds & Maintenance
Length of Service: 37 years
Employee of the month for November 2021

Jimmy has been a positive force for many years here at Oakland University. He represents his unit with grace, dignity, and high integrity.

Every year he assists with commencement set-up and tear down with no complaints or hesitations. He often asks to do extra to ensure that the student's commencement went off well.

This year, during the Wilson Hall renovation, many outdoor interruptions occurred. Jimmy was right there to fix the underground sprinklers, the grass and the pipes. Even if it was last minute and he had other responsibilities to do that day, he would smile and say "We need to make it happen". I even asked him jokingly, what are you really doing? And before I knew it he walked me through the entire process of what he was doing; and the fact that if it did not work, that the process would have to restart from beginning to end-- again until the problem was fixed. So, now I believe I could fix the pipes underground here! And before he left – he walked in my office and smiled – he said anytime you have questions let me know or if you need help - for me to give him a call!

Jimmy’s dedication and leadership model in his field is one of a kind! I have had the opportunity to witness his commitment and stellar work ethic! He hits the ground running and is quick to become an active productive community partner like a quiet storm!

Congratulations to Jimmy on his selection as the November 2021 Employee of the Month!

October 2021 Employee of the Month

Lakshmi MaktalaProfessional head shot of Lakshmi Maktala

Project Coordinator/Systems Integrator
UTS Enterprise Applications
Length of Service: 21 years
Employee of the month for October 2021

Lakshmi Maktala played a pivotal role in the recent success of the S/U grading modification process that was implemented due to the pandemic.

In 2020, working with the Registrar team, Lakshmi created an e-form that was exceptionally innovative, student-friendly, and which resulted in saving 100-200 staff hours. This e-form allowed students to select eligible courses to be converted to S/U grades, and then processed that change immediately and automatically. For students, this meant immediate certainty that request was completed, and access to an updated academic record for purposes such as transcripts.

The team made a soft launch of the form in late 2020, and there were some unexpected issues. Lakshmi participated in 44 tests, 88 grade changes, and 146 emails between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. starting on Friday, December 18, 2020. Most impressively, Lakshmi was committed to solving this problem and an improved version of the form was launched on-time at 8 a.m., Saturday morning (December 19, 2020) for the published rollout. Lakshmi continued to work on enhancements to the process over the weekend. The end result saved hundreds of manual hours, improved the student experience, and ensured that there would be no interruption of services for students during the December recess.

Congratulations to Lakshmi on her selection as the October 2021 Employee of the Month!

September 2021 Employee of the Month

Nancy DemoProfessional image of Nancy Demo

Executive Secretary
School of Health Sciences
Length of Service: 8 years
Employee of the month for September 2021

Nancy Demo keeps the School of Health Sciences running smoothly by being the one go-to person that everyone is looking to for help and support. For any problem, big or small, Nancy will find a solution and she will do it with a smile on her face and the warmest attitude.

Being a central part of the dean's office, the faculty and staff of every SHS department gravitate towards her - may it be for assistance or a friendly conversation. Nancy not only serves the needs of SHS faculty, staff and students, but also makes sure that visitors and prospective students feel welcomed and taken care of.

Nancy always volunteers to be part of important negotiations and planning, such as the OUPSA Negotiating Team and thrives to support OU's institutional priorities. She goes above and beyond by handling tasks that are often not part of her regular job description, yet never complains or loses her friendly demeanor!

Congratulations to Nancy on her selection as the September 2021 Employee of the Month!

August 2021 Employee of the Month

Dena FloresProfessional image of Dena Flores 2

Assistant Manager
Student Business Services
Length of Service: 23 years
Employee of the month for August 2021

Dena goes above and beyond to perform her job duties timely and accurately:

- Dena constantly creates audits to identify potential issues in processing that could result in non-compliance with Federal or State regulations or institutional policies.

- Dena’s attention to detail is outstanding and her skill set with Access is extremely strong.

- Dena continues to prove that she was an excellent choice for the Assistant Manager, Student Business Services (Cash Management Regulations, Reconciliations, Refunds & Loan Program Administration).

- Dena understands and continues to execute her departmental responsibilities. She jumps at the opportunity to work on projects that are above the daily responsibilities of her position. She takes ownership of her responsibilities and performs them timely and accurately. She examines the current process, brings forward suggestions for change and, after approval, implements change.

- Dena continually strives to create efficiencies and utilize technology; she is not satisfied until the process is working as efficiently as possible. Her technical skills are excellent and allow her to utilize technology in streamlining her office.

- During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dena has been deeply involved in the distribution of the federal CARES Act funding and the COVID-19 Student Emergency Relief Fund awards to our students. Dena helped develop a process to quickly release the awards to students all the while ensuring that the number of students and total funds distributed was accurate.

- Dena was also instrumental in the accuracy and quickness with which the University Housing contract release process for winter 202010 was done as a result of the shutdown of university housing due to the pandemic.

Congratulations to Dena on her selection as the August 2021 Employee of the Month!

July 2021 Employee of the Month

Karen ConnProfessional image of Karen Conn

Office Assistant III
Honors College
Length of Service: 9 years
Employee of the month for July 2021

Every year one of Karen’s most important responsibilities is to make sure the Honors College Freshmen Colloquium "Making Discoveries" runs smoothly and is an incredible success. This year, was exemplary! If there was a word more impressive than "exemplary" or "outstanding" or "spectacular" we would use it!! She not only assisted by coordinating nearly 50 undergraduate peer mentors/TAs, she coordinated weekly meetings and assisted in making nearly 600 freshmen (who were impacted upon of course by the current pandemic) comfortable and happy during what was an incredibly difficult time for them.

We have just completed our yearly "wrap up" for this significant part of our work and it brings to a conclusion Karen's input this year on Making Discoveries - and she truly has been incredible, with her unwavering support.

We express our considerable thanks to Karen for all she has done. Karen has been an incredible OU citizen, and shown these high achieving students what we mean here at OU about the strength of our community. She has combined "attitude", "teamwork", "reaching higher" and more!

Congratulations to Karen on her selection as the July 2021 Employee of the Month!

June 2021 Employee of the Month

Rolante (Rolly) CristobalProfessional head shot of Rolante Cristobal

Custodian I/Facilities
Campus Cleaning
Length of Service: 5 years
Employee of the month for June 2021

Rolante is a very pleasant, courteous, and positive person. He has worked at Oakland University for 5 years. During this time, Rolante has always taken care of both students and staff no matter where he has worked on campus. Rolante's upbeat and positive attitude is obvious every day he comes to work as he strives to make everything as clean as possible. He takes pride in his work and is very dedicated to his job.

Rolly has always been attentive and hardworking, but since the Covid-19 disinfecting protocols have been put in place, he has been especially diligent and thorough in keeping his assigned spaces on the 4th floor of O'Dowd sanitary, especially the bathrooms. He works very hard to make sure everyone is safe during this pandemic!

Congratulations to Rolante on his selection as the June 2021 Employee of the Month!

May 2021 Employee of the Month

Sarah GriffithProfessional head shot of Sarah Griffith

Videographer and Multimedia Designer
Communications & Marketing
Length of Service: 3 years
Employee of the month for May 2021

During the stay at home order, the demand for online/virtual and video communications skyrocketed. Sarah Griffith responded to this demand with a positive "can do" attitude and always goes the extra mile to make sure the quality of the video work done by UCM is top notch.

Despite the realities of now living more than an hour from campus in order to be with family during stay at home orders, Sarah regularly travels to campus to tape leadership so that important messages can be shared with the entire OU community. Sarah’s work is professional and award winning, elevating the OU brand throughout the region.

Through it all, Sarah brings together the team with outstanding creative collaboration. She truly exemplifies everything the Employee of the Month represents: Shines by Their Attitude, Reaches Higher, Performs Exceptionally, Promotes Teamwork, and Rallies in Support of Oakland University.

Sarah is a pleasure to work with and is an integral part of ensuring that the OU brand will continue to remain strong during these challenging times.

Congratulations to Sarah on her selection as the May 2021 Employee of the Month!

April 2021 Employee of the Month

Cheryl McGinnisProfessional head shot of Cheryl McGinnis

Office Assistant III
Development Services
Length of Service: 4 years
Employee of the month for April 2021

Cheryl is truly an amazing person and colleague. She always steps in to help anyone with projects and implementation. Because she is always behind the scenes, making sure everything works, she is often not recognized for her importance to the Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) Team.

In all honesty, CFR would not be as successful as we are without Cheryl. Her efficiency, and skills in developing user-friendly processes has allowed CFR to focus even more time on our corporate and foundation partners, knowing confidently that the process Cheryl has developed has made our jobs so much easier.

Congratulations to Cheryl on her selection as the April 2021 Employee of the Month!

March 2021 Employee of the Month

Craig BoeProfessional head shot of Craig Boe

Mastery Level VII - Carpentry
Structural Maintenance Department
Length of Service: 16 years
Employee of the month for March 2021

Craig Boe is the structural maintenance phenom for Kresge Library!

Above and beyond responding to work orders, Craig proactively makes it a point to come to the Library at least once a week to check if anything needs to be addressed. When there is any type of issue—and there have been many—Craig is usually one of the first people to respond.

Craig is also very conscientious about the work he does. For example, before Christmas break we met with Craig to plan the removal of quite a bit of shelving from the library’s fourth floor. We discussed the project scope and deadlines, and we got the ball rolling. Craig and his supervisor, Joel Norgaard, contacted recycling vendors for the scrap metal from the shelving units and scheduled a pickup day. All shelving was removed and recycled within 3 days and, importantly, the project was finished before students returned to campus.

Craig is always very efficient and timely completing his projects in the Library and we don’t know what the Library would do without him. Craig is a great asset at OU!

Congratulations to Craig on his selection as the March 2021 Employee of the Month!

February 2021 Employee of the Month

Christopher GoethProfessional head shot of Christopher Goeth

Associate Registrar
Office of the Registrar
Length of Service: 11 years
Employee of the month for February 2021

Oakland University has been facing unprecedented challenges with a direct impact on the schedule of classes over the last two years. Initially, the emphasis was on planning for South Foundation Hall to come offline during a major renovation. In the middle of this planning, we suddenly had to shift gears and plan for a quick pivot to remote learning during the pandemic. This has impacted much of our current and future work on the schedule of classes. Fast forward to the present day, and we are now planning for a variety of scenarios that include the South Foundation Hall renovation beginning this fall as well as managing the schedule of classes during the pandemic. In order to accomplish this daunting task, many key stakeholders have been brought to the table to make the impossible happen. At the heart of this team, is Chris Goeth. Chris has always been one of the hardest working people at OU. Over the last two years, Chris has demonstrated an outstanding commitment during unprecedented times as demonstrated by the following:

- Chris analyzed data and created plans to determine the feasibility of displacing all 400 sections in an environment that is already space-constrained. He then participated in many meetings to engage faculty and staff on campus to get them on board with the plan. He tirelessly worked long hours, strategically working to develop and re-develop plans to adapt to the current conditions. He maintained accurate information, keeping everyone informed every step of the way.

- His mastery of Ad Astra Platinum Analytics combined with his knowledge of campus classroom space (both general access and departmental) have made the relocation of courses during this period of transition due to the project both feasible and doable without having to go to alternatives of modular classrooms or off-campus sites. He has been an outstanding teammate on this project.

- People show you who they really are during challenging times, and Chris has certainly faced some challenges moving all of the SFH classes into other rooms and other formats this year. During this challenging time, Chris was always professional, composed, and understanding. Over a single two-week period, the majority of department classes were moved to an alternative (fully online or one-day-a-week on campus hybrid) format, and this could not have been done without Chris' support, wisdom, and patience.

Congratulations to Chris on his selection as the February 2021 Employee of the Month!

January 2021 Employee of the Month

Ryan GhedotteProfessional head shot of Ryan Ghedotte

Office Assistant III
School of Education & Human Services Dean's Office
Length of Service: 1.5 years
Employee of the month for January 2021

Ryan has been at OU just a little less than a year and a half. In that time, he has built positive staff relationships within the SEHS office, revived the energy of the Dean's Office, and worked over and above on a number of initiatives.

Ryan started the electronic SAF and SCO forms process with the Registrar's Office, Undergraduate and Graduate Offices, and coordinated it through going live.

Ryan thrives on being able to work on Facilities projects from start to finish, such as re-carpeting classrooms, reorganizing spaces, improving lighting, and more.

Ryan also started his degree program at OU this year in HRD because he wants to make a difference at the University beginning with the people.

Congratulations to Ryan on his selection as the January 2021 Employee of the Month!

December 2020 Employee of the Month

Christa KoernerProfessional head shot of Christa Koerner

SMTD Costume Shop Supervisor
School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Length of Service: 8 years
Employee of the month for December 2020

Christa has been front line in providing OU area Theatre students & alums with the materials to make 400+ face masks for use by other OU staff employees. She has organized the drop off of supplies and of finished masks. This is on top of still fulfilling her duties as the teacher for a winter term course, advising student designers and beginning work on a “how” for next year's season that she is slated to design, attending department meetings (virtually) and continuing her planning process for the shop which supports not only the theatre program, but also the dance and opera areas. Even in normal circumstances Christa puts in WAY more hours than are required on paper to ensure a quality program!

Here are details on the two mask projects Christa worked on since March:

- The first was soon after the pandemic hit the metro Detroit area and masks were scarce in our community. The SMTD costume and theatre shops donated all the masks we owned to local hospitals, and then Christa started making more by hand. She made masks for the community care packages that were packed at the OC and she also made masks for OU essential workers when manufactured masks were not available.

- The second mask project Christa worked on was for Environmental Health & Safety. It was a full clear shield that she made for the hearing impaired employees on campus. She worked with Cora Hanson on this project.

Christa is a selfless employee and always puts others' needs before her own. Congratulations to Christa on her selection as the December 2020 Employee of the month!

November 2020 Employee of the Month

Kathy DaileyProfessional head shot of Kathy Dailey

Office Assistant II
Undergraduate Admissions
Length of Service: 2 years
Employee of the month for November 2020

If you could have anyone as the lead for the front desk in Undergraduate Admissions, you would want Kathy Dailey. Kathy is often the face prospective students and their families see when arriving to campus for the first time. Each and every time they are greeted with a warm smile and willingness to help that is second to none. Her dedication and hard work is a true asset to not just Undergraduate Admissions but the entire campus community.

Pleasant, informative, helpful, professional and understanding, Kathy has all these qualities and more. Kathy attends to prospective students in the office (pre-COVID), by phone and by email. In addition to answering a student’s questions Kathy will guide them along the path to becoming an Oakland University student. By being on the front lines (literally,) Kathy is able to evaluate the needs of incoming students.

During this time of declining enrollment Kathy’s ideas are extremely valuable. Here are ideas that Kathy has initiated:
- Development of an FAQ for incoming students to direct them on how to obtain transcripts and test scores.
- Identification of alternate names for high schools and colleges which streamlines the application process, particularly with regard to matching transcripts with students.
- Expansion of the “submit your application” communication campaign to include two additional populations of students, 1) students who created an application account but did not yet submit an application and, 2) students who completed their application but never actually submitted it.

Kathy is an outstanding and stellar performer for Oakland University!

Congratulations to Kathy on her selection as the November 2020 Employee of the Month!

Employee of the Month Archive


2021 Employees of the Month

December -
November - Jimmy Briggs
October - Lakshmi Maktala
September - Nancy Demo
August - Dena Flores
July - Karen Conn
June - Rolante (Rolly) Cristobal
May - Sarah Griffith
April - Cheryl McGinnis
March - Craig Boe
February - Christopher Goeth
January - Ryan Ghedotte

2020 Employees of the Month

December - Christa Koerner
November - Kathy Dailey
October - Mailon Robinson
September - Adrian “Addie” Benedict
August - Kerri Hubbard
July - Greg Meehan
June - NingNing Zheng
May - Susan “Katie” Lodeen
April - Mike Grzech
March - Kelly Smith
February - Amy Pelkey
January - Willie Tuggle

2019 Employees of the Month

December - John Arseneau
November - Linda Schwartz
October - Clarisse Mikami
September - Marlene McKean
August - Joshua Dunn
July - Katherine Stotts
June - David Ziehm
May - Mary Miramonti
April - Wayne Carl
March - Elizabeth Adams
February - Michael Cox
January - Yeanina Hines

2018 Employees of the Month

December - Joe Carranza
November - Cheryl Rhodey
October - Shanna Dawson
September - Ted Prisbe
August - Taurienne Lauderdale
July - Miguel Ramos
June - Charlene Waldorf
May - Kathleen Zeile
April - Judette Haddad
March - Michael McClain
February - Demetrius Murchison
January - Penny Stillwell

2017 Employees of the Month

December - Sarah Wood
November - Christine Talbert
October - Jenny Cloutier
September - Kelly Smith
August - Mark Mathiak
July - Christina Radowick
June - Brian December
May - Melissa Mondro
April - Kendra Agee
March - Allison Radell
February - Tracey Kosaski
January - Nick Flores

2016 Employees of the Month

December - Maggie Phelps
November - Heidi Donnelly
October - Amanda Fylan
September - Krista Malley
August - Stephanie Willis
July - Jennifer De La O
June - Lou Kondek
May - Christine Earl
April - David Ollie Ray
March - Rosezine Payne
February - Evan Dermidoff
January - James Silvestri

2015 Employees of the Month 

December - Monica Haines
November - Andrea Mill
October - Emily Stepanian-Bennett
September - Carolyn Moss Hogan
August - Bill Johnson
July - Robert Perreault
June - Grace Wojcik
May - Renee Dembeck
April - Sarah Erskine
March - Amy Tuckfield
February - Joshua Stotts
January - Angelita Ramos

2014 Employees of the Month 

December - Roz Winchester-McCray
November - Maureen Greco
October - Heather Haughey
September - Marie Vanbuskirk
August - Anthony Smith
July - Kim Crawford
June - Loretta Presti
May - Brittani Hobbs
April - Susan Phelps
March - Jason Willis
February - Annie Ivery
January - Virginia May

2013 Employees of the Month

December – Shannon Stribling
November – Siraj Khan
October – Beth Deverna
September – Wendy Allen
August – Anthony Gallina
July – Mary Zook
June – Janet Chandler
May – Jenifer Watson
April – Renee Jacques
March – Dawn Deitsch
February – James Zentmeyer
January – Joan Wancour

2012 Employees of the Month

December – Beth Ann Sutton
November – Juan Cantu
October – Sara Webb
September – Robert Hanson
August - Nicole Lucio
July – Mark Johnson
June – Michelle Serafino
May – Karen Pipitone
April – Xander Buckingham
March – Irene Fox
February – Corey Brittingham
January – Carmen Archer

2011 Employees of the Month

December – Michelle Gruca
November – Don Ritenburgh
October – Marcee Daly
September – Christina Riley
August – Micheline Walter
July – Peggy Cooke
June – Linda Sisson
May – Domenico Luongo
April - Matt Bruer
March – Patti Bowman
February – Leo Debiaggi
January – Bridget Green

2010 Employees of the Month

December – Andrew Keyosky
November – Marsha Packer
October – Robert Vaughn
September – Lateacha Carr
August – Dan Kirkland
July – Monica Milczarski
June – Luke Fleer
May – Cora Hanson
April – Sandra Sala
March – Joan A. Love
February – Cynthia Ferrera
January – James Leidel

2009 Employees of the Month

December – Sheryl Hugger
November – Todd Welscott
October – John Coughlin
September – Joann Denby
August – Dennis Bolton
July – Elisabeth Putnam
June – Julie Dermidoff
May – Ronda Ferguson
April – Deanna Wohlfeil
March – Greg Jordan
February – Claire Cooper
January – Jocelyn Baldwin

2008 Employees of the Month

December – Kellie Klinck
November – Kathleen Lesich
October – Sue MacDonell
September – Nancy Schmitz
August – Scott Allison
July – Kevin McDougall
June – Peggy Chiu
May – Manjit Gill
April – Mariann Hodge
March – Paul Battle
February – Kim Schultz
January – Ann Marie Besaw

AP of the
To recognize the contributions of the Administrative Professional (AP) community, the AP Assembly established an annual Outstanding AP Award, commonly called the AP of the Year. This accolade has been given since 1984. Each year, a selection committee (selection committees are appointed by upper administration representing all divisions, a faculty representative, and a clerical representative) selects one AP who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in their professional role. Oakland University AP Assembly provides a $1500 stipend that accompanies this honor.

This distinct honor is awarded to an individual that has been at Oakland University for more than six years, and has demonstrated achievement through extraordinary effort in support of the university mission and strategic plan, spirit of cooperation, and community and university service.

The AP Assembly invites all members of the Oakland University community to submit nominations for this distinction. Please submit your nominations per the information below. The nomination period begins Monday, Feb. 1 and continues through Monday, March 15.

Those with questions should contact 2021 Committee Chair Meaghan Cole at

This year's winner will be announced in April and honored during an employee recognition event in June.

2021 Outstanding AP of the Year: Michelle Southward

Oakland University’s Outstanding Administrative Professional of the Year Award maintains a relatively succinct expectation of potential honorees – simply that they demonstrate outstanding achievement in their professional role.

“When I think about somebody who represents what makes Oakland University such a special place to work, people like Michelle come to mind,” shared a colleague of the Oakland University 2021 Outstanding AP of the Year. The AP Assembly Awards Committee is pleased to announce Michelle Southward, Director of Academic Advising and Student Services for the School of Health Sciences, as this year’s recipient. Michelle has served at Oakland University for nearly 20 years and her numerous nominations referenced her strong commitment to Oakland University.

Michelle’s commitment to Oakland University is far-reaching. As a colleague shared: “Michelle is a committed leader, a valued contributor and a generous colleague.” She is leading efforts to engage and assist First Generation students in accumulating successfully at OU. One of the initiatives in which she partnered with fellow advising professionals to develop and lead is the Second Year Experience, a program which continues to support student success. She has served in a variety of capacities to bring forth OU’s Diverse Voices Conference. She also teaches a Mental Health First Aid training program and a colleague who serves with her shared how: “she is exemplary in that role.”

Exemplary is a descriptor of Michelle to her core. In terms of her Director role, a colleague commented on how “she has been at the heart of the school’s growth by developing new programs, leading new advising initiatives, and directing and training the award winning advising team.” Her outreach and service extends to her local community. She is a Board Member of Bloomfield Public Schools. Michelle also serves as a mentor as a 'Big Sister' for a new initiative that has been getting off of the ground which provides assistance to pregnant women in Detroit. A colleague describes Michelle’s commitment to others, “whether it be faculty, clerical staff or other AP colleagues, Michelle has such a wide array of information that she points every person in the right direction no matter what they are looking to figure out.” Another describes how she is “incredibly easy to work with and is not only compassionate but also puts the needs of students and others before her own.”

A colleague highlights how Michelle “is the product of OU and one who makes all of us proud by extension. I have great respect for Michelle - she's a true professional, a friend and an incredible advocate for education.” Michelle holds two Master’s degrees, one in counseling and one in administration and is pursuing her PhD in education. Colleagues describe her as “smart, thoughtful, engaging, and humble. Michelle is involved in many projects and initiatives that make Oakland University a better place to work and study.” Even in all that she juggles both personally (a wife and mom to four), a colleague highlighted how “Michelle is always a positive force in my life and I know that when I am struggling I can go to her for support and affirmation.” It is with great pleasure in which the 2021 AP Awards Committee commends you for all you do for Oakland University and beyond. Thank you, Michelle.

Past Recipients
Sara Webb, 2020
Rebecca (Becky) Lewis, 2019
Krista Malley, 2018
Laura Schartman, 2017
Nancy Schmitz, 2016
Angie Schmucker, 2015
Greg Jordan, 2014
Peggy Cooke, 2013
Eleanor Reynolds, 2012
Steve Shablin, 2011
Samuel Lucido, 2010
Jennifer Gilroy, 2009
Mila Padgett, 2008
Tricia Westergaard, 2007
Melvin Gilroy, 2006
George Preisinger, 2005
Sheryl Klemanski, 2004
Gerald Compton, 2003
Leonard Brown, 2002
Vicki Larabell, 2001
Dawn Aubry, 2000
Glenn McIntosh, 1999
Felecia Bumpus, 1998
Katie Kazarian, 1997
Lynn Hockenberger, 1996
David Herman, 1995
Virginia Allen, 1994
Ron Kevern, 1993
Elizabeth Millwood, 1992
Thomas Kirchner, 1991
Arthur Griggs, 1990
Jean Ann Miller, 1989
Clair McVety, 1988
Elaine Chapman Moore, 1987
Joan Stinson, 1986
Patrick Nicosia, 1985
Rosalind Andreas, 1984
AP Award

To recognize the contributions of the Administrative Professional (AP) community, the AP Assembly established an annual Rising AP Award. This accolade has been given since 2018. Oakland University AP Assembly provides a $1,000 stipend that accompanies this honor.

The recipient of the Rising AP Award is an individual who has worked for the university more than three (3) years, and has demonstrated leadership and exceptional work in their professional role in the following areas:

  1. Achievement beyond the call of the individual’s daily tasks and responsibilities that have created a positive impact on the university community (such as participating with AP Assembly/Association, committee work, and/or employee interest group work).
  2. Consistently demonstrates exceptional work in their current position.
  3. Displays leadership qualities within their department in addition to other university groups.

The AP Assembly invites all members of the Oakland University community to submit nominations for this award. Please submit your nominations per the information below. The nomination period begins Monday, Feb. 1 and continues through Monday, March 15.

Those with questions should contact 2021 Committee Chair Meaghan Cole at

This year's winner will be announced in April and honored during an employee recognition event in June.


Please describe in detail why the person you are nominating is deserving of this award. Please address the following criteria:

  1. Length of service at Oakland University (must be three years or more).
  2. Achievement beyond the call of the individual’s daily tasks and responsibilities that have created a positive impact on the university community.
  3. Demonstrates exceptional work in their current position.
  4. Displays leadership qualities, rising above the call of their day to day responsibilities.

Rising AP Award 2021: Melanie Chamberlain

The Rising AP Award calls for an individual who achieves beyond their current career responsibilities to help create a positive university community; demonstrates exceptional work in their current position; and displays leadership qualities. The 2021 AP Awards Committee is honored to recognize Melanie Chamberlain as the 2021 Rising AP who embodies all of these stated qualities.

Melanie is in her sixth year working at Oakland University, she has served in the role of Academic Adviser in the First Year Advising Center, and is currently an Academic Adviser in the School of Education and Human Services. In this capacity, one of her nominators stated “it is clear to see that Melanie is appreciated and respected by her students, her peers, and the faculty that she works with this is due to her consistent exceptional work.”

Her exceptional work ethic is evident in her current role as the Professional Advisers Council Chair (PAC) made up of the 58 academic advisors across campus. A nominator described how she “previously held this position and volunteered to serve again as PAC chair when no one else would step up- which is a lot of time and effort above and beyond what she already put in and continuously gives to PAC.” One of her greatest impacts while serving in this role is the revamping of a PAC web page on the OU website in collaboration with University Communications and Marketing and the First Year Advising Center. A nominator described how “the website is robust, easy to navigate, and explains to advisors and campus partners about the roles and work that advisors do.” In her advising role, one of her nominators exclaimed: “Melanie's students can always count on her to be knowledgeable, caring, present, and informative.”

One of her nominators shared the following example of Melanie’s ability to go above and beyond to help her students: “one example I can think of is a student that struggled to find an internship for the HRD program. In addition to advising and coaching the student, Melanie helped him call around campus to see if any offices would be willing to take on an intern that needs a little more support than most. She helped this student to navigate challenges that arose during his internship, and help him seek an alternative path towards graduation when the internship didn’t work. Undoubtedly, Melanie played a huge role in this student’s ability to graduate from college. It's not just this student that Melanie has supported and encouraged, she is there in an exceptional way for all of her students. This year, 14 students nominated Melanie for the outstanding advising award this year, and every year she has been in SEHS she’s been nominated.”

In addition to the passion she brings to her advising role, Melanie’s innovative nature touches various aspects of the Oakland Community. She has partnered with Career Services and the School of Business to hold a Human Resources recruiting night with employers and students, and re-envisioned it to successfully host it virtually. Melanie represents the advisors on the Senate General Education Committee, in this role she serves as the voice for advising, and seeks insight and feedback from advisors related to discussions held in the committee. Melanie also serves as the AP representative to the School of Education Human Services Executive Committee. Melanie was elected by her peers and she represents the 43 APs that are employed in the School of Education and Human Services as this representative. She has also held prior leadership roles in the Women’s Employee Resource Group (WERG), and served as a COM 1100 Instructor. Melanie helped chair the Excellence in Academic Advising (EAA) Collaboration and Communication committee. One of her nominators succinctly described Melanie as “exemplifying the best of Oakland University and is deeply deserving of recognition as the 2021 Rising AP."

Past Recipients
Lt. Nicole Thompson, 2020
Kathy Livelsberger, 2019
Christina Moore, 2018
AP Award

To recognize the contributions of the Administrative Professional (AP) community, the AP Assembly established an annual New Professional AP Award. This accolade has been given since 2018. Oakland University AP Assembly provides a $1000 stipend that accompanies this honor.

The recipient of the New Professional AP Award is an individual who has worked for the university for three (3) years or less, and has demonstrated achievement in their professional role in the following areas:

  1. Achievement beyond the call of the individual’s daily tasks and responsibilities that have created a positive impact on the university community (such as participating with AP Assembly/Association, committee work, and/or employee interest group work).
  2. Has shown great potential in their position through contribution of unique ideas, collaborative efforts, streamlining processes and overall positive attitude.
  3. Displays promising leadership qualities, in their day to day responsibilities either within their department or other university groups.

The AP Assembly invites all members of the Oakland University community to submit nominations for this award. Please submit your nominations per the information below. The nomination period begins Monday, Feb. 1 and continues through Monday, March 15.

Those with questions should contact 2021 Committee Chair Meaghan Cole at

This year's winner will be announced in April and honored during an employee recognition event in June.

Please describe in detail why the person you are nominating is deserving of this award. Please address the following criteria:
  1. Length of service at Oakland University (must be three (3) years or less).
  2. Achievement beyond the call of the individual’s daily tasks and responsibilities that have created a positive impact on the university community.
  3. Has shown great potential in their position through contribution of unique ideas, collaborative efforts, streamlining processes, etc.
  4. Displays promising leadership qualities, rising above the call of their day to day responsibilities either within their department or other university groups.

New Professional AP Award 2021: Kelli Dowd

Kelli Dowd is the recipient of the 2021 New AP Award. The award exemplifies an AP who achieves beyond the call of duty; shows great potential through their contribution of ideas; and displays leadership qualities. One of Kelli’s nominators described the essence of her service to Oakland University, “Kelli includes a quotation that describes well her approach to service and leadership: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.” Kelli leads with a collaborative spirit that energizes all involved. She has served at Oakland University since 2018 as the Coordinator for Student Services, Leadership & Engagement. As one of her nominators shared: “in this time, the ECLIPSE program started with about 20 students and she has grown it to 90 in the 2.5 years she has been there. She also developed zero credit hour courses for the program and a peer mentoring aspect that helps keep the students connected.”

Kelli has helped develop sustainable community partnership, increase growth and activity with SHS' ECLIPsE Leadership program, and established a student activities board. The student activities board students are able to create and participate in peer mentoring groups to discuss challenges and issues related to health. As one of her nominators shared: “she is someone who never hesitates to provide resources not only for students but colleagues who surround her.”

It is evident of her knowledge sharing. She currently chairs both the LGBTQIA Employee Resource Group (ERG) and the Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Social Justice (SJ) Task Force in the School of Health Sciences. She was the catalyst for the Anti-Racism Discussion Group as part of the AP Professional Development Committee. A nominator discussed this catalyst: “in Summer 2020, Kelli proposed we facilitate ongoing learning related to racial justice. From that point, she has led an Antiracism Discussion Group Subcommittee that continues to have monthly discussions supported with freely available learning materials. While we claim to lead the discussion group as non-experts on antiracism, Kelli has dedicated much time and work to learning in this area, including an intensive weeks long program called Academics for Black Survival and Wellness. Working on this committee with her is one of the most meaningful campus experiences I have had, and I know many discussion participants would agree.”

She also participates in Leadership Council focused on student leadership development on campus, participates in the Pride Month Planning Committee, has taught COM 1100, as well as serves on the Healthy Campus Initiative Sustainability subcommittee and Diversity Strategic Plan LGBTQ Subcommittee. In terms of her many areas of services, a nominator expressed how “her leadership and involvement are fueled by human justice rather than fleshing out an impressive resume.” A nominator exemplified her spirit in which “she leads projects and committees with all of her mind and heart.”

Past Recipients
Zach Zuchowicz, 2020
Jesse Hurst, 2019
Ben Fielder, 2018
In recognition of the many outstanding accomplishments of Oakland University’s AP employees, the university is pleased to open nominations for the AP Reward program for calendar year 2021. The reward this year is $1,000.

The AP Reward fund, established specifically for this recognition, honors exemplary service and exceptional contributions made by individual AP employees.

Supervisors, peers or co-workers may nominate colleagues or employees may self-nominate using the AP Reward Nomination Form.

The nomination form should state the basis for the nomination, focusing on how the employee excelled as well as the contributions above and beyond his or her job responsibilities. Contributions should be explained within the context of AP Reward meritorious performance criteria.

Nominations may include additional comments from the next level supervisor. To be eligible for the reward, AP employees must have been hired before January 1, 2020. Any employee who received a "Needs Improvement" rating during their last annual performance appraisal is not eligible to receive this reward.  

There are no restrictions placed on the frequency an employee can receive a reward. However, consideration will be made to ensure that all employees are given the chance to be recognized for their initiative to go above and beyond their daily responsibilities.

Nominations will be accepted between Thursday, April 1, 2021, and Monday May 10, 2021. AP Rewards will be distributed in June 2021 paychecks.

The list of AP Reward recipients for 2021 can be seen by clicking here.
The previous year's AP Reward recipients can be seen by clicking here.

Any employee with questions regarding this reward program should call Eric Herppich at ext. 4166 or send an e-mail to
The Sharon Wilhelm Excellence Award is given annually to a university Clerical/Technical employee who exemplifies the positive, “can-do” spirit of Sharon L. Wilhelm who spent her 45-year career delivering exceptional service and support to OU staff, faculty and students.

Mrs. Wilhelm began her career in 1962 when the University was still an extension of Michigan State University and its enrollment was less that 1,000 students. When she died in October of 2007, enrollment was more than 18,000 students.
Throughout the years, Mrs. Wilhelm’s devotion to outstanding service grew proportionately with the University’s enrollment.

Mrs. Wilhelm is remembered and celebrated for her extraordinary work ethic and supportive can-do attitude, which assisted faculty, staff and administrators in serving their most important constituency – University students.

The award will recognize eligible employees who provide high-level, administrative support and mirror Mrs. Wilhelm’s exemplary work standards.

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost provides a stipend that accompanies this award. All members of the Oakland University community are invited to submit nominations.

Selection Criteria
To reward a full or part-time Oakland University clerical employee who:
  1. consistently demonstrates exemplary service to the University community;
  2. builds positive working relationships with supervisors, peers and students;
  3. serves the needs of the University with a positive attitude and work ethic;
  4. displays dedication by going above and beyond by participating in University activities outside of work responsibilities;
  5. exhibits sustained and proven methods of improving the efficiency of the work place; and exceptional performance in a project or task that results in a savings of money or time, or increases revenues, productivity and/or employee morale.

All OUPSA and excluded clerical staff with at least five years of service.

Nominations are accepted by clicking here and completing the nomination form. All 2021 nominations must be received by Monday, March 15, 2021.

2021 Sharon Wilhelm Excellence Award: Darlene Mathiak

Darlene Mathiak, Office Assistant III in the Health Sciences - Physical Therapy department, is being celebrated on campus as recipient of the 2021 Sharon Wilhelm Excellence Award recipient.

Past Recipients
Carrie Sliwinski, 2020
Shanna Dawson, 2019
Irene Cobb, 2018
Jill Lawson, 2017
Vicki Gossett, 2016
Eileen Arseneau, 2015
Ellen Keaton, 2014
Kimberly McWain, 2013
David Ollie Ray, 2013
Virginia Cloutier, 2012
Dorothy Farrior, 2012
Roxanne Knudson, 2011
Vernita Parker, 2011

The Grizzly Engagement, Action and Thoughtfulness (GrEAT) Recognition program is a University of Choice initiative in which all employees can applaud and reward colleagues for performing community service.

OU Community Service

Thanks to generous support from the Oakland University Credit Union, OU employees can acknowledge colleagues with $5 gift cards up to six times each year, or once every two months. They can do so using the CARROT app, which the University already uses to promote health and wellness among faculty and staff members.

Along with enhancing OU’s already strong campus community, another important goal of this initiative is to encourage all employees to offer greater contributions of time, knowledge and resources to their local communities.

Learn about and download the CARROT app

Instructions for sending gift cards

If you have not yet downloaded the CARROT app, do so using the link above.

  1. With the app downloaded and linked to the OU wellness program, select “OU” from the top menu of the app’s homepage.

  2. Select the OU Community Service Program icon at the top of the app’s OU page.

  3. Select the Oakland University – Celebrate Community Service icon at the top of the OU Community Service Program page.

  4. Select a Recipient and Community Service Category from the app’s dropdown menus.

  5. Include any thoughts to be shared with the recipient in the “My Comments” field.

  6. Select “Submit” at the bottom of the page.


Q: What is the Grizzly Engagement, Action and Thoughtfulness (GrEAT) Recognition Award?
A: The GrEAT Award is a new program that celebrates the significant community service efforts of Oakland University employees. The award program is being run through the “CARROT Wellness” mobile app.

Q: What is “CARROT Wellness”?
A: Developed here in Southeast Michigan by an OU graduate, CARROT Wellness is a mobile application that rewards users for walking and meeting personalized activity goals. Oakland University utilizes CARROT to encourage all faculty and staff members to be more physically active.

Q: Is there a cost for the program?
A: Downloading and using the CARROT app is free. In addition, participating in the CARROT Health & Wellness program is free for all OU benefits-eligible staff members. Participants can utilize it to earn gift cards and other rewards for maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Q: How do I nominate a co-worker for this award?
A: Open the CARROT app, select the "OU" option from the top menu and tap on the “OU Community Service Award” image. On the screen that appears, begin to enter the coworker's name and then select the employee's name from the dropdown list that appears. Next, identify the reason you are recognizing this person from the list of options, or use the "other" option to describe the employee's community service work. Finally, enter comments regarding the reason the employee is deserving of community service recognition and submit the information.  

Q: Is using the CARROT app the only way I can send a gift card to a colleague?
A: Yes. The app provides the University the most convenient and efficient means of managing the GrEAT program.

Q: Does the recipient of a gift card need to use the CARROT app to access it?
A: No. Regardless of whether the recipient has downloaded the app, he or she will receive an email from CARROT notifying them that they’ve received this honor, along with instructions on how they can select and receive the $5 gift card of their choice. Recipients who are using the app will also receive a notification from it if they have set their preferences to allow notifications.

Q: Can I recognize a colleague anonymously?
A: Yes. The CARROT app does not provide recipients with sender names. In this way, senders can choose whether to let recipients know who sent the acknowledgement.

Q: Can I recognize as many colleagues as I wish?
A: The program allows benefit-eligible employees to recognize up to 6 colleagues per year, or one every two months.

Q: Can I acknowledge my own community service through this initiative?
A: No. The GrEAT Recognition Program is designed to acknowledge and encourage the community service of others.

Q: Can I recognize a colleague that has sent me a gift card?
A: No. Reciprocal rewards are not allowed through this program.

Q: What kinds of gift cards are available?
A: Many options are available, including Amazon, AMC Theaters and Apple gift cards.

Q: Can an OU employee be recognized for community service more than once?
A: Yes. There is no limit to the number of acknowledgements and gift cards and employee can receive. Because employees can send only one acknowledgement per year, however, each acknowledgement that an employee receives would come from a different sender.

Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions about this program?
A: Human Resources Assistant Emily Block at


Oakland University (OU) established a Team Award Program (TAP) to recognize a team of faculty and/or staff members for significant contributions supporting the University’s strategic plan initiatives or strengthening and improving the University’s effectiveness as a community/institution.

The individual team awardees shall receive a Team Award plaque and formal recognition at the annual Exemplary Employee event.

How the Team Award Program Works

  • On or before March 15, the nominator shall submit an online nomination form.
  • Online forms are automatically submitted to the TAP Committee. The TAP Committee will review each nomination based on the Team Award Program criteria.
  • By end of May, the TAP Committee will notify the nominators of the TAP Committee’s decision.

Nominators will notify the team member of the Team Award. Names of award recipients shall be announced in April.

Submit a team for nomination

  • All faculty and employee groups are eligible to receive a Team Award. A team must have a minimum of three employee group members with preference of more than one division. Standing committees and/or task forces are not eligible.

  • A Team Award shall be given for work or accomplishments that have significantly contributed to the University’s strategic plan initiatives or to its institutional strength and improvement. A Team Award shall be made for accomplishments during the one-year period preceding the March 15 deadline.

 Examples of accomplishments, work, or service that meet these criteria include: 

  • Successful completion of an action item related to the Strategic Plan or a significant contribution to the strategies and goals of the plan.
  • On-going engagement in efforts that have resulted in institutional strengthening and improvement measured against internal goals and/or external benchmarks.
  • Implementation of innovative leadership practices that have significantly strengthened an office, department, unit, or the University.
  • Implementation of financial planning and budget management processes or practices that demonstrate exceptional stewardship of University resources.
  • Effective and productive participation on special projects, institutional committees, or tasks forces that have advanced strategic initiatives or that have strengthened or improved the institution.
  • Team effort that results in substantial, measurable improvement to a required process, compliance regulation, business system, or direct service to students, employees, alumni, or other stakeholders.

Nomination Process
  • Nominator can be a team leader, a member of the team or a member of the OU community.
  • Nominator submits an online nominations for Team Award by March 15 deadline. Nominations are limited to a maximum of 500 words and should outline the team’s contribution to one or more strategic initiatives and/or to institutional strengthening or improvement.
  • Nominations for work, projects, or service that have clear end dates shall not be made until after the work or project has been completed. Nominations for on-going work that contributes to institutional excellence shall provide evidence of specific positive outcomes against institutional goals or external benchmarks.
  • The TAP Committee will review the nominations to determine the Team Award.
  • The Team Award will be announced to the campus community in April.

For questions please contact University Human Resources at (248) 370-3486.