IOWA Award Winners

The IOWA affords supervisors and co-workers the opportunity to recognize staff for initiative and innovation that have had positive results in their workplace. Nominations are taken twice a year.

A spring reception is held to acknowledge both fall and spring winners and their nominators.

Index of Winners

Spring 2014 Awardees

 Individual : : Team

Individual Winners (alphabetical order)

Pam Dorale, CT Radiology

The Radiology department has been searching since 2007 for ways to recycle glass contrast bottles. When asked to take on the project of improving recycling within the Radiology department, Pam organized, planned, and followed up on the recycling process. She strategically placed large recycle containers along hallways, encouraged staff to recycle through e-mails, flyers, and individual contact, and contacted Iowa City Carton Recycling Center and the contrast provider to ensure the contrast bottles were recyclable. Additionally, because the hospital could not support glass recycling, Pam connected with the Iowa City Recycling Center to confirm they could accommodate additional glass products. The measurable result of Pam’s recycling project is less garbage going to the landfill and less cost to the hospital for waste disposal. Additionally, all staff have become accustomed to the process of recycling, and with a group effort of all people inside and outside of the hospital, the process will continue.
Nominated by Trish Zander-Hubing

Team Winners

Automated Data Retrieval Team for Quarterly Skin Surveys

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Department of Nursing has participated in quarterly Pressure Ulcer Prevention Surveys since 1999. The survey process required multiple points of data to be hand collected for each patient and additional data to be collected for those patients with pressure ulcers. In addition, it required the team to review and validate data forms submitted by hand which took six or more hours for each nurse participating in the survey. The Automated Data Retrieval Team identified multiple inefficiencies, collected data to support change, and implemented the current procedure which has reduced the process time to three hours. The new process has provided consistent cost savings of $11,923.20 annually.
Nominated by Martha Blondin.

Anne Smith, Pat Pezzella, Laura Phearman, Grace Rempel, Gloria Dorr, Nursing
Debra Picone, CQSPI
Vern Dengler, Healthcare Information Systems


In calendar year 2012, the UI Hospitals and Clinics Food and Nutrition Services Department was serving approximately 10,000 meals per day. The volume of food waste was 12% and small amounts of food were donated. In addition, Styrofoam food/beverage containers were used throughout UI Hospitals and Clinics. A team composed of UI members and the community established four initiatives to promote sustainability: Waste Avoidance, Food Waste Reduction, Food Donations, and Composting of Organic Materials.

The results of these initiatives from the Calendar Year 2012 to Calendar Year 2013 are:

  • a reduction in food wasted from 12% to 7%,
  • number of servings wasted reduced by 40%,
  • the dollar value of wasted food reduced by 24%,
  • an increase in food donations from 647 pounds to 2,342 pounds,
  • food waste not able to be donated is now pulped/water pressed along with 100% disposables and transported to the Iowa City Landfill composting facilities, and
  • 77 tons of food wastes were recycled to compost, compared with none the previous year.

Current food waste will continue to be diverted from the landfill as either donations or compost, and this initiative supports the UI’s 2020 Vision of 60% waste diversion.
Nominated by Joan Dolezal.

Jean Dolezal, Laurie Kroymann, Doug Robertson, Akwasi Boateng, Levi DeVries, Beth Fielder, UI Hospitals and Clinics Food and Nutrition
Jennifer Thompson, UI Hospitals and Clinics Hospital Administration
Marty Shafer, UI Hospitals and Clinics Environmental Services
Liz Christiansen, George McCrory, UI Office of Sustainability
Don Guckert, Eric Holthaus, Dave Jackson, UI Facilities Management
Sherri Dusenbery, John E. Watkins, UI Purchasing
Bob Andrik, Table to Table, Iowa City
Jennifer Jordan, Iowa City Landfill, Iowa City

UI Step

The successful one-credit hour academic course, UI STEP (Student to Employed Professional) was an idea that grew from the need for student employees to develop a professional mind-set and an understanding of the soft/transferable skills learned on the job. The course is now offered through the University College and Career Center and includes an orientation for student employees which is offered in both general sessions and departmental-specific sessions. Meetings provide students with peer-to-peer support for professional development on the job, mentors for younger students, and opportunities for students to practice networking skills and learn from speakers on topics for professional growth. Due to the demonstrated success of the program, funding has been approved on a recurring basis, allowing UI STEP to further improve the positive impact on students, supervisors, departments, and the University of Iowa in general.
Nominated by Cindy Seyfer.

Josh Frahm, UI STEP
Cindy Seyfer, Diane Schlick, UI Student Employment

Fall 2013 Awardees

 Individual : : Team

Individual Winners (alphabetical order)

Laura Schipper, CLAS/Dean’s Office

Several years ago, University Human Resources began initiating a talent management concept University-wide. A vital part of the performance management process of change was creating a local job description based on key areas of responsibility, universal competencies, and technical competencies. Additionally, a necessary component of creating and updating local job descriptions was to advertise positions based on competencies, which was a completely new concept for campus. With confusion on how to create the new document and no directional tools or model to use, Laura Schipper took the lead in creating a template for a competency based local job description. This template is now utilized for all staff positions in CLAS and has been shared as best practice with the University Search Consultants Group. Additionally, Laura led an in-service to other HR consultants on campus and shared the template she created. This tool has been shared with HR leaders campus-wide, and has a direct impact on the new goals management and performance evaluation tool for non-organized P&S staff on campus.
Nominated by Nancy Fick.

Team Winners

Learning Commons Project Team

To meet the needs and requests from students for modernized study spaces that also support their personal technology expectations, the new Learning Commons in the Main Library was developed, designed, and implemented. The space is available 24 hours per day during the week, is infused with private small group study rooms with glass writing spaces that can be reserved over the internet or through digital devices located outside each of the rooms, comfortable seating located throughout the commons with open group areas or quiet spaces for personal study, a large café, Food for Thought, and full-time staff to assist students as needed. The space has been a large success, with an average of 1,900 students utilizing the Learning Commons per day within three months of opening, and it will serve as an exemplar for other projects on campus that incorporate student learning spaces.
Nominated by Maggie Jesse.

Chris Clark, Marianne Holton, Tino Kaltsas, Les Neu, Brittney Thomas, ITS Learning Spaces Technology
Kathy Magarrell, Dave Martin, Kelly McElroy, Amy Paulus, UI Libraries
Jennifer Hoffman, Kris Kluseman, Jeff Harney, Facilities Management
Renee Houser, Registrar
Angie Cochran, Provost’s Office

Recital Attendance System Team

Every semester, 300 students are enrolled in the School of Music’s Recital Attendance course, where they attend music performances and receive credit. Out of the old labor intensive, error-fraught and cumbersome process of handing out paper cards to students grew a need for an automated attendance-taking method. The Recital Attendance System Team designed, tested and re-engineered prototypical systems to reach the result of foolproof attendance stations where students can now securely and quickly take their own attendance as they enter and leave the performance in two of the School of Music Performance venues. This system cuts down on part-time labor costs, frees staff time, reduces fraud, eliminates error, and provides correct and up to the minute grading and attendance information to both students and faculty.
Nominated by Kayt Conrad.

Lance Bolton, John Winget, CLAS IT
Steve Bowers, Logan Dewes, Ted Fitzgerald, ITS
Kathy Reeves, Kate Thompson, School of Music


Recognizing and acknowledging the upward trend of violence in society, the increase of violence at educational institutions, and the University of Iowa communities’ unease in protecting themselves, the VIST team was created. The VIST program, based heavily on the ALiCE program, incorporates elements from standard police training, real world events and feedback from audience participants. The program is taught throughout the University of Iowa in multiple departments and its team member’s tour work places to offer advice concerning emergency preparedness. Exceptional participant feedback coupled with support from the local community demonstrates the success of the program. Extensive requests for VIST training indicate a substantial need for the class content to be taught in local school districts; within and outside of Johnson County. Additionally, many UI departments mandate newly hired employees attend the VIST class and some departments have required the class be taken every year. The class has been used as a training block in annual staff retreats, has been a tool of information for University of Iowa health care and non-health care and has sparked the creation of specialized emergency plans in various departments across the UI campus.
Nominated by Shawn Sharp.

Jess Bernhard, Joe Lang, Eric Werling, Sanda Pop, Shawn Sharp, Department of Public Safety

Spring 2013 Awardees

Team Winners

Leave Benefit Accrual Team

Tracking leave benefits so that payroll can be accurate for UI Health Care staff was not supported by a good system. This sometimes led to inadvertent overuse and an administrative chain reaction leading to payroll inaccuracies and overpayments that needed to be recovered. This team developed some innovations that have produced substantial decreases in overuse:

  • October 2011 had 46 instances / October 2012 had 7 instances
  • Quarter 4, CY 2011 had 143 instances / Quarter 4, CY 2012 had 28 instances

This decreases the level of staff resources necessary to respond to this problem and eliminates the frustration of staff - from the user to the administrators. Innovations include an electronic calculator tool that HR Representatives may use to calculate the exact amount of accruals an employee earns each month to determine leave available, and a report developed with HCIS that combines information from HRIS and ELMS to provide data that can be used before payroll processing, thereby, avoiding overpayments.
Nominated by Jana Wessels.

Tara Black, Megan Sullivan, Kate Hilsman, UI Health Care Human Resources Payroll


When 10,000 meals are served every day by Food and Nutrition Services, patients, staff and visitors often have questions about the nutritional value and allergen content of the meals, snacks, etc. available. For two years this team worked to standardize over 750 recipes and 800 food items so that the software program, NetNutrition, could accurately reflect content of the food. The team has kept NetNutrition in the eye of potential users with presentations, announcements and hands on training, resulting in 4,600 hits occurring per day from people seeking information about calories, fat, sugar, vegan and vegetarian options, and allergens. In a recent customer survey at Fountain Dining and Melrose Dining, of those surveyed who used NetNutrition (71% and 58% respectively), 55% were influenced to make different food choices.
Nominated by Laurie Kroymann.

Becky Iliff, Beth Fielder, Levi Devries, Bridget Drapeaux, Food and Nutrition Services
John Lighty, Health Care Information Systems

University Employee Health Clinic Immunization Team

After convincing the Office of Compliance and Ambulatory Care leadership to offer all healthcare personnel both varicella titers (blood test for Chickenpox immunity) and Tdap (adult booster of pertussis) vaccinations for free, this team facilitated education to inform new and continuing employees of the need to use this service. The results were 8,253 personnel were screened with 205 completing their needed varicella immunization. In the same timeframe of January 2012 to February 2013, 6,448 personnel were screened for pertussis and 63% accepted vaccination. To accomplish these results, all University Employee Health Clinic staff, no matter what their position, volunteered to reduce breaks to make this happen for the safety of UI Health Care patients, visitors, and staff.
Nominated by Lynn Vining.

Cheryl Heery, Cynthia Neuzil, Pam Leichsenring, Billie Jo Kress, Beverly Belzer, Kwee Yeap, Julia Finley, Treasa Eicher, Heather Dennis, Lynn Vining, Patrick Hartley, Laurence Fuortes, University Employee Health Clinic

Fall 2012 Awardees

Individual : : Team

Individual Winners (alphabetical order)

Kathy Ford, School of Music

Student employees, who work evenings and weekends in buildings that are temporary for the School of Music, were encountering non-student individuals who would not leave when asked. These students shared with Kathy their fears and frustrations. Kathy approached Campus Police to develop an additional and more specific training to help student monitors respond effectively and with confidence in various situations. Through this collaboration, Campus Police initiated introducing themselves to on-duty student monitors to develop a relationship and a partnership in safety. In addition, Kathy and Campus Police reviewed all facilities and made the areas safer by installing mirrors and positioning desks and stations for greater visibility. These changes have benefited faculty, staff and students in making practice areas safer no matter what hour of the day.
Nominated by Kellie Kucera and Kayt Conrad.

Terrell Hunter, Business Services IT

University Printing and Mailing Services prints patient statements and reminders for UI Health Care. With only one CPU generating 11 pages per minute, the necessary printing and mailing took 4.5 hours per day while having a same day deadline of inclusion in the 10 a.m. mail! Terrell took the initiative to find a more efficient process to generate PDF files. Terrell researched and tested, settling on FusionPro Direct batch software. In supporting two servers to communicate with each other, Terrell found it necessary to debug the application and trace network communications to discover what was not working. Due to his work, the process now takes 20 minutes and is done on the server rather than a staff person’s computer which is now freed up for other tasks. This system also extends Printing Services capability and availability for other jobs, such as University Accounts Receivable statements.
Nominated by Dagong Wang.

Fred Kurt, University Housing and Dining

As Operations Manager of Hillcrest Market Place, Fred has in many ways supported sustainability goals and the collaboration with the City of Iowa City composting program. Last year, Fred recognized the potential in post-consumer waste collection after visiting Grinnell College, and secured $40,000 in University and state grants to fund the purchase of a food “pulper”. “Pulpers” grind post-consumer food and paper waste while removing 90% of the liquid. This water is then recycled to be used in the dish scraping process. Subsequently, Fred redesigned the dish room so that staff and student employees have an ergonomically based workplace that is greener and has also eliminated some disagreeable tasks. Adding post-consumer waste to the usual pre-consumer waste collection for composting is unique to UI compared with other large institutions. The pulper also uses less water than a disposal, with a cost savings of $8,000; and less wastewater sent to Iowa City’s wastewater treatment facility, with cost savings of $9500 annually while providing relief to the wastewater pipe system. The additional 137 tons of post-consumer waste to the landfill will cost $3000, money well spent.
Nominated by Greg Black.

Pauline Wieland-Plowman, School of Music

Declining enrollments and lack of permanent facilities have hampered recruitment of students. Pauline, the point person for audition day in February, polled faculty regarding their commitment to a second audition day in the fall. Faculty chose to see if more students would consider UI’s School of Music with Pauline’s suggestion. Pauline coordinated the new audition day with a Hawkeye visit day so prospective students could also participate in those events. At the first fall audition day, 19 students and families participated with ten students enrolling. This effective strategy will continue as faculty appreciate the time to meet interested students, high school and transfer students have a choice when to audition, and enrollment increases with this innovation devised and implemented by Pauline.
Nominated by Kellie Kucera and Kathy Ford.

Team Winners

Driver Review System, Risk Management

Daily driver review requests (3200 individual driving requests annually) and the semi-annual reviews of all driving records of all employees who drive as part of their job for Fleet Safety Program compliance (4000 regular reviews semi-annually) was done in an inefficient, labor-intensive process. The integrated internal system developed by this team provides an online process that can be accomplished by one individual rather than a team, can be tracked for its progress, and streamlines the process for departments. It is estimated that the system is saving 700 staff hours annually for Risk Management staff, Fleet Services staff and departmental staff.
Nominated by Gary Anderson.

Becky Schaffner, Risk Management
Valerij Petrulevich, Business Services IT

Parking Placard Process, Parking and Transportation

This team replaced a triplicate copy paper process with a completely electronic process for the 600+ departmental parking placard applications per year. (Departmental placards allow people who work frequently at multiple places on campus to park in a parking lot near each of their work sites.) The team took the initiative to develop the new electronic process after evaluating several “off-the-shelf” software products and finding them inadequate for their needs. The team developed design requirements based on user input. The new software interfaces with an existing commercial database used by Parking. The electronic version eliminated the triplicate paper and replaced it with an electronic form that requires fewer entries by the applicant and defaults many fields based on previous applications. At the end, the user clicks 3 buttons – Save, Validate, Submit – and their end of the process is complete. On the back side, the new software reduces the amount of work required to process all of the applications from campus to 8 hours per year from 160 hours per year - that’s a 95% reduction! It allows departmental financial managers (the primary customers) to pull reports for analysis. The concepts in this software are flexible and Parking plans to expand the program’s use to other types of permits that will benefit employees directly, i.e. night/weekend parking passes.
Nominated by Dagong Wang.

 Ping Gu, Business Services Administration  
Ann Greenzweig, Cynthia Fairchild, Lori Skoff, Carol Leinhauser, Parking and Transportation


This program was developed by a team of staff who were interested in student success. Their intent was to strengthen the connection between the student employment experience and learning by supporting supervisors of student employees in the Division of Student Life (largest employer of students on campus) to understand their role and how they could better contribute to the success of their student employees. IOWA GROW™ is a trademarked program that is now available online to other areas on campus and to other institutions. The resources for supervisors, including a structured conversation (questions include: What are you learning in class that will help you here?, What are you learning here that’s helping you in school?), have proved successful with a pilot group who answered positively to questions about the impact of their job with helping them develop conflict resolution skills, improving communication, and using critical thinking skills. Job expectations for all supervisors of student personnel in the Division of Student Life will now include the IOWA GROW principles.
Nominated by Belinda Marner.

Sarah Hansen, Office of VP Student Life
Rachelle Stewart and Kelly Cowan, University Housing & Dining
Penny Kaelber, Center for Student Involvement & Leadership
Tara Black, UI Health Care Payroll (current position