Mindy Hunke and James Harrold, Ph.D. were honored with the 2022 Jerry and Patricia Deichert CPACS Staff Award on Friday, December 9, 2022. Dr. Harrold and Hunke demonstrate, through both their daily work and outstanding performance, the finest attributes of exceptional customer service, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and self-improvement. They are a credit to their professions, their families, and the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS).
About this Year’s Award Recipient: Mindy Hunke
Hunke is the office associate for the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) and is the first contact for prospective students of the Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies (BMS) program. “Mindy has more direct contact with DCS students than any other member of the team,” said Kerry Fina, senior academic advisor for DCS. “If there is a way Mindy can help a student, she finds it.” Fina went on to point out how Hunke does whatever it takes to provide students a better experience. She helps students troubleshoot technology, routinely provides direct links to other institution transcript request pages, and assists students needing help with university systems like MavLink. Fina continued, “From the moment a student first clicks on a request for more information, to the moment they graduate, Mindy provides concierge service.”
Hunke received a B.A. in communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She enjoys her position at UNO and specifically working in DCS. “I love the unique way the BMS program fits so well for each of our students who have such diverse backgrounds, interests, goals and educational experiences;” said Mindy. “The BMS program also offers unique interest areas, such as the Library Science and Nonprofit Administration areas of concentration.”
Hunke not only helps with her own department, but she also serves on the Staff Advisory Council and participates in numerous activities such as the Faculty Staff Picnic and the Pancake Breakfast. She even attends events that feature DCS student workers on her own time.
Every day Mindy embraces the challenge of providing exemplary service to prospective and current students.”
“Every day Mindy embraces the challenge of providing exemplary service to prospective and current students,” said her office supervisor, Karen Kempkes. “She finds answers, routinely solves problems, and is a welcoming and inclusive presence to all.”
About this Year’s Award Recipient: James Harrold, Ph.D.
Dr. Harrold is a student services coordinator and an instructor for the School of Public Administration (SPA). He has been with UNO for 12 years, starting as an adjunct instructor. During his time at UNO, he completed his Ph.D. in public administration. He also holds an M.P.A. from UNO as well as an M.S. in logistics management from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a B.S. in geography from UNO.
Dr. Harrold advises over 160 graduate students in the Master of Public Administration program, and he has taken on the advising of more than 30 Ph.D. students. “It is exceptionally rare to have someone advising students who also has experience with both our M.P.A. and Ph.D. programs,” said Craig Maher, Ph.D., director of the UNO School of Public Administration. “He has a way of easing student’s anxieties about matters such as program application, course enrollment and career planning.”
Dr. Harrold does much more than advising. He played a significant role for SPA regarding program accreditation. He collected data, was instrumental on getting the report submitted on time and presented at SPA’s accrediting body’s Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) conference. “He is respected by peers and his work with NASPAA has helped elevate our program’s reputation on the national stage,” Maher said.
A common theme in Dr. Harrold’s nomination was his willingness to help and take on extra duties. He has stepped in where needed and in turn has become heavily involved in the recruitment process. This has included being the main point of contact to answer questions and provide information to individuals interested in the program, organizing an information session for potential applicants, and contacting graduate programs across the country to publicize the Ph.D. program. “Jim frequently volunteers to help out with special projects and is always willing to help out in any way when asked,” said Carol Ebdon, Ph.D., professor in the School of Public Administration. “Jim has a big heart, which makes him a wonderful advisor and colleague. He is humble and exhibits quiet leadership and initiative. He makes us all better.”
About the Jerry and Patricia Deichert CPACS Staff Award
The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding CPACS staff members on an annual basis. CPACS staff are recognized for their outstanding performance based on the following criteria: Exceptional customer service, problem solving, extra duties, leadership/mentoring, and self-improvement. This year is the first year the award was made available to two employees, a professional staff, and an administrative staff.
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