To recognize their exemplary commitment to Case Western Reserve University, three staff members—Christopher Bond, Shannon Swiatkowski and Tracy J. Wilson-Holden—received this year’s President’s Award for Distinguished Service, and Kathleen Dowdell received the Robin Kramer Staff Advisory Council Volunteer Award.
President Barbara R. Snyder recognized the four staff members last Thursday during the university’s annual staff awards brunch. The event also honors distinguished service award winners of 10, 25, 35, 45 and 50 years of employment at Case Western Reserve.
“This awards ceremony marks a special opportunity to recognize some of our most outstanding staff members,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “It also offers a powerful reminder of the longstanding dedication of so many members of our community. I am grateful to everyone involved in organizing this event, and inspired by the accomplishments of our honorees.”
The annual President’s Award for Distinguished Service honors up to three staff members whose outstanding contributions to the campus culture have a transformational effect on colleagues, students or visitors.
The President’s Award winners were selected by the Staff Recognition Committee of the Case Western Reserve University Staff Advisory Council. The winners received a $1,000 cash award and have their names engraved into the plaque on display in the Adelbert Hall quad side foyer.
The is the second year of the Robin Kramer SAC Volunteer Award, which honors one Staff Advisory Council member whose volunteer service to the council and broader campus community has had a notable impact. Robin Kramer, former chair of the Staff Advisory Council and effort reporting specialist in the Office of Research Administration, died in 2013. A dedicated Case Western Reserve employee for 21 years, Kramer was known for her passion for serving the university and its employees. In 2005, she earned the President’s Award for Distinguished Service.
The recipient receives $500 and joins the President’s Award winners at the Staff Awards Brunch for recognition.
President’s Award for Distinguished Service
Horticulturist and Coordinator, Farm Food Program
Christopher Bond doesn’t simply grow food. He uses his knowledge and experience as a horticulturist to teach others how to do so, and to cultivate ways to improve.
“He is not afraid to try new challenges that will expand the learning opportunities on food production,” said a nominator. “His contribution to the CWRU community has been outstanding, not only for the university, but for the surrounding community.”
Since joining the university in 2009, Bond has taken on myriad roles. In 2011, he helped implement the Farm Food Program, for which once-unused land turned into six growing areas that provide food to students, faculty, staff and even animals at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Since its inception, the Farm Food Program has provided more than 51,000 lbs. of food to campus dining halls and led to more than 5,000 volunteer hours for students.
Bond also supervises students on capstone projects and SAGES lectures at the farm, and he leads continuing education courses on horticulture and farming. Plus, he’s implemented a campus compost program and a nutrition education program with students from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and Michael R. White STEM School, an elementary and middle school in Cleveland.
Bond’s commitment to learning extends to his own: He’s working toward his bachelor’s degree in environmental science at the university.
Bond is, as one nominator explained, an “excellence example for his staff and student workers.”
Manager, Administrative Operations of the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative
Since coming to Case Western Reserve in 2006, Shannon Swiatkowski has worked to find innovative ways to institute positive change in her department and on campus.
“Shannon is committed to excellence,” a colleague said, “and to promote a ‘community’ spirit.”
Swiatkowski is known for her creative thinking and her organizational skills—both of which are crucial in her role managing administrative operations of the collaborative, which provides support to biomedical researchers at the university and across Cleveland.
“If an idea or initiative doesn’t work at first, she continues to brainstorm ways to make things better,” a nominator explained.
Swiatkowski also puts these skills to use as a member and former chair of Staff Advisory Council (SAC), which she’s been involved with since joining the university.
Her work has helped open communication in an attempt to create a more engaged and active workforce; as an example, she spearheaded the effort to create constituency email lists that allow SAC committee members to communicate with those they represent.
“Shannon is the kind of person everyone wants to have on a team. She honors all her commitments, readily collaborates with others and always puts the good of the university and its employees first,” wrote a nominator.
Tracy J. Wilson-Holden
Director of Research Integrity and Education, Office of Research Administration
Three years ago, Research ShowCASE returned to Case Western Reserve as a way to recognize the campus community’s research discoveries in a daylong celebration. But its comeback may not have happened if not for Tracy Wilson-Holden.
“Tracy’s contributions are many, but the achievement of pulling [together] the Research ShowCASE event with very little budget and no staff support is a true accomplishment,” a nominator wrote. “Research ShowCASE is not just an event for the campus; it is a community event that celebrates our research discoveries in a very public way.”
Wilson-Holden’s mix of creative, organizational and leadership skills helped her successfully reinvigorate the event, but throughout her nine years on campus, she’s also become known for her diplomacy and subject-matter expertise, which she uses regularly as she independently runs the scientific integrity program in the Office of Research Administration.
In addition, in the past year, she’s stepped in to oversee all compliance operations in the research office while the associate vice president position is vacant.
“Tracey is a fine example of an effective, dedicated professional and respected member of the staff,” a nominator wrote. “She is a natural leader who knows how to develop a team and play to each member’s strengths. She is a consummate problem-solver and her judgment is first-rate.”
Robin Kramer SAC Volunteer Award
Department Administrator, Department of Anthropology
Kathleen Dowdell’s dedication to the Staff Advisory Council—and, in turn, the staff of Case Western Reserve—is seemingly endless.
As one nominator wrote, “Kathie is the ‘Energizer Bunny’ that doesn’t stop!”
Dowdell has been active with the Staff Advisory Council since joining the university in 1999. She’s voluntarily served or been elected to a multitude of committees, including the Staff Training and Development Committee (of which she also was elected co-chair), the Steering Committee and the General Council, and served on ad-hoc committees, including the Constitution Committee, Climate Action Plan Committee and Sustainability Committee.
Through her work on the training and development committee, she’s advocated for better professional development opportunities, encouraging staff to seek assistance from the Staff Educational Enhancement Fund. She also works closely with others to keep the Administrative Professional Network running successfully.
Dowdell is committed to spreading the word about the Staff Advisory Council: She promoted a stronger SAC presence at new staff orientation, scheduling members to speak about participating in activities and joining the council as non-elected members—just as she did 16 years ago.
“She explores every opportunity on campus and encourages others to join,” a nominator wrote. “Her enthusiasm is contagious and she makes the best of every situation.”