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 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 benefitted 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

Spring 2012 Awardees

 Individual : : Team

Individual Winners (alphabetical order)

Kelly Reding, 4RC Nursing

Some of us may be using a water mug that states “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". We may own it because we wanted to reduce the use of non-recyclable straws and plastic or Styrofoam cups and bought the mug at one of UI Hospitals and Clinics cafeterias. Or, because we had been an inpatient at UI Hospitals and Clinics. Here is the history of how these mugs became available. For several years, Kelly Reding, a nurse in the inpatient cardiac care unit, has advocated for the change to reusable mugs because the water pitchers are cumbersome, spill often, look of poor quality, are non-recyclable and make it difficult for staff to determine how much fluid the patient drank. Through her persistence, mugs were finally chosen. Kelly participated in the design and can now view these mugs in all inpatient units- with an annual cost savings of $20,000. Nominated by Kara Prickett.

Team Winners (alphabetical order)

Behavioral Health Nursing Management Team

For 25 years, patients and staff have been cranking non-electric hospital beds in adult inpatient behavioral health units. Newer models of medical beds are designed with possible risks for this population - electrical hazards, exposed moveable parts, and controls that couldn’t be disabled to prevent patient use. This team developed their design needs for an optimal bed, and collaborated with a national manufacturer of medical beds to build a demonstration model that was evaluated several times by management and staff on the units. Eventually, the bed design was finalized and 58 aging mechanical beds have been replaced with this safer design that has led to no injuries since August, 2011. The ergonomic safety for medical and housekeeping staff is also being tracked for the use of these electronic beds. Nominated by John Wagner.

John Wagner, Julie Barrett, Carol McNamara, Don Swanson, Susan Wyse, Leah Appell, Carla Shield, Behavioral Health Nursing
Heidi Burak, Patient Care Finance and Logistics

College of Dentistry Go Green Committee

Reducing our environmental footprint is a part of the UI’s mission. This team has been making that happen in their college since 2008. It takes a village of dental staff to implement all their ideas. Subcommittees have collaborated on recycling, energy conservation, data collection and policy assessment, and media and public relations. In 2009, a Student Go Green committee was born. Two waste audits have occurred in 2008 and 2011 that generated areas of concern. In collaboration with Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management and other internal and external entities, college-wide practices now include:

    • biodegradable plates and silverware at the restaurant
    • reusable shopping bags and water bottles
    • automatic computer turn off at end of day
    • paper forms (no longer in use) are now scrap paper
    • lab coats may be placed in provided lockers instead of daily disposal
    • the practice of composting is spreading from one department to others including Dining Services
    • Styrofoam packing is reused, and
    • the College’s Sustainability Pledge is used by faculty, staff and students to help the UI attain the goals of Vision 2020

    Using 2006 as a baseline to fiscal 2010, there has been a 22% decrease in waste and a 33% increase in recycle poundage. Nominated by Deb Hoyle.

    Nancy Slach, Maggie Hogan, Scott Arneson, Peter Damiano, David Drake, Ron Elvers, Mike Kanellis, Ron Roskam, Ann Synan,
    Megan Danforth, Julie Reynolds, College of Dentistry

    eCOI Application

    Several offices on campus require disclosure of conflict of interest for faculty and staff and provided separate forms for that purpose. This team took the opportunity to work across offices to develop a single consolidated disclosure form that utilizes decision logic to minimize length and redundancy of information required by the individual user. And, this web-based form is integrated across several IT systems on campus. This will eventually impact close to 10,000 faculty and staff in research as the remaining phases are rolled out. Nominated by James Walker.

    Charlotte Talman, Conflict of Interest in Research
    Diane Finnerty, Provost Administration
    Susan Zollo, College of Medicine-Continuing Education
    Jose Jimenez, Gayle Elliot, Ashok Vijayendra, Research Information Systems

    Fall Prevention Project

    Given data that the fall rate in the adult inpatient units at UI Hospitals and Clinics exceeded the average number found in a national quality database, this multi-disciplinary team (from their unit nursing council) studied the literature and formed an action plan. They incorporated a best practice to be used differently - to take orthostatic blood pressures every morning. This innovative use as a daily practice decreased falls to 1 in 5 months in contrast to an average 2 falls/month. In addition, patients with mildly orthostatic blood pressure (30%) have been given additional fluids, thus decreasing their risk of falls and improving their general comfort. In experiencing the daily orthostatic blood pressure, patients now have an increased awareness of the potential for falling and will call for assistance when needed. Nominated by Rhonda Evans.

    Janis Johnson, Shara Power, Rhonda Evans, Grace Mathews, Nursing Services
    Melanie House, Rehabilitation Therapies


    The Regents schools have been urged to find ways to collaborate for work and cost efficiency. This effort to develop and deploy an electronic portfolio system at the University of Northern Iowa used the expertise and experience of the UI staff. It is the first IT collaboration proposed and completed by UI and UNI. ifolio offers students a tool to showcase their work to current faculty for feedback, when applying to grad schools or for employment; and is being required by increasing accrediting bodies. Currently at UNI, the Post-secondary Education department, the pilot department, requires that all first year students complete a portfolio and second year students have the option. Five other UNI areas are in discussion regarding implementation of ifolio in their programs. The future annual cost saving for UNI from this collaboration is $20,650. The benefits of collaboration across Regents schools is significant for both schools. Nominated by Maggie Jesse.

    Annette Beck and Sue Almen-Whittaker, ITS Enterprise Instructional Technology
    Andrew Rinner, ITS Enterprise Services
    Chris Pruess, Nick Roy, Gary Rogers, Greg Nims, Rebekah Ahrens, ITS Administrative Information Systems
    Aaron Thompson, Lorie Seawel, Jason Vetter, Jeffrey Ries, Donna Vinton, University of Northern Iowa

    Online Bill Pay

    Through MyChart, patients at UI Healthcare are able to read their medical charts. Affording the same ease to paying their bills is not currently available from the same vendor. This team developed an interim process that is being increasingly used - 100% increases monthly to a usage by 1,718 patients in January. This is a collaborative effort between three departments in providing service excellence electronically. Nominated by Joseph Wagner.

    Robert Jones, Health Care Information Systems
    Barbara Wiese, Patient Financial Services
    Robert Duff, VPMA/Marketing and Communication

    Fall 2011 Awardees

    Individual : : Team

    Individual Winners (alphabetical order)

    Ben Anzelc, School of Art and Art History

    When the Studio Arts programs came under one roof (Old Menards Building) after the flood, Ben (Instructional Service Specialist - Jewelry and Metals) noticed inconsistencies in safety policies and procedures across studios. He has worked over the last four years to change that by developing a safety manual that streamlined hazard communication and protocols, spearheaded the process to find less hazardous and non-toxic alternatives to materials and processes used in various Studio Arts. He helped develop an audit system to assist faculty and students to identify hazards and potential risks. “Site-specific" training is now available plus a safety briefing in each class on the first day. Faculty and students are more safety conscious due to Ben’s efforts and have the tools in place to continue this culture of safety. Nominated by John Anderson. 

     Teresa Franklin, HCIS

    Teresa, Senior Application Developer, saw the time-consuming inefficient process that faced staff to void a parking citation when parking in hospital ramps for a patient visit to a clinic. It wasn’t easy for the patient, or for the Hospital HR staff who spent time accessing patient records to validate the visits. Teresa revamped the process to a win-win, so that UI staff as patients only had to hand their citation and validation or waiver from the clinic to the parking attendant as they left the ramp, it eliminated most of HR staff time, and did not add to Parking and Transportation staff time. Teresa is exploring ways that this process could be extended for other staff parking, e.g. Blood donation, prescription pick-up, etc. Nominated by Kristy Walker.  

    Gregory Paul Johnson, Language Media Center

    As IT Support Consultant, Greg saw that DVDs of guest lectures were not being checked out. He initiated “Video on Demand” webpage to provide access to public lectures by visiting scholars and members of the UI community sponsored by the Division of World Languages, Literature & Cultures to those unable to attend, and to the whole world. Biographies and links provide additional information to viewers. Six hundred web visits have already occurred. Nominated by Sue Otto.

    Chris Pruess, ITS-Admin Information Systems

    In 2002, the UI community experienced a dramatic change as we began to use AD (Active Directory) as the central log-in and authorization infrastructure. To communicate and support this change, an ITAdmin Community of members from IT central and local service providers was formed. Chris recognized the need for a forum for concerns, feedback, and information sharing for this community as more changes for the whole campus were forecast. As the leader of the monthly meetings, she provided a model of creating engaging agendas that encouraged participation and inclusion of all 90 members. This model is being explored by other CIC schools who are interested in replicating our ITAdmin success that has supported many change initiatives on campus including, campus Exchange e-mail, higher awareness of security, and broad adoption of desktop management services. Chris’ model of communication among IT service providers continues even as she releases her formal leadership role of this important group. Nominated by Guy Falsetti. 

    Team Winners (alphabetical order)

    BONGO Implementation Team

    This unique team provided a mobile smart phone application that allows riders to use GPS to locate buses and predict arrival times at bus stops. Recognizing that many riders use multiple systems to arrive at their destination, the UI team approached Iowa City and Coralville administrators to provide a seamless system for riders. All entities focused on customer service and accessibility to information using a variety of formats including LCD monitors. Currently, the average weekly website hits are 30,000 (half from mobile devices) and increases in ridership for all three transit systems. Nominated by Tim Evans and David Ricketts.

    Brian McClatchey, Janelle Beswick, Pat Smith, Parking & Transportation
    Mark Ahrens, Romy Bolton, Steve Tomblin, Brad O'Meara, Steve Troester, Mike Jenn, ITS
    Lance Bolton, CLAS
    George McCrory, Facilities Management
    Vicky Robrock and Jenn Coleman, City of Coralville
    Chris O'Brien and Scott Amlong, City of Iowa City

    Fran Hauschild and Teresa Blenner, Nursing

    Surprised by the high cost of a stand used in ophthalmology surgery, this duo (nurse and surgical technicologist) proposed the use of an in-stock mayo cover stand in its place. They involved their team, asking all members to evaluate. The cost savings is $47.50 per procedure or $29,640 annually. Nominated by Jan Ahrlrichs Hanson.

    Fran Hauschild, Teresa Blenner, MOR Ophthamology

    SOS Helpline

    HCIS staff were not able to respond to requests from users calling for application help at the level they desired. The team developed a new response process when the help desk consultant can't answer a specific question or solve a problem. An email SOS is sent to a group address that is monitored by rotating staff wherever they are in the hospital. Within fifteen minutes, a knowledgeable consultant will respond to a call related to patient care notes and in-basket workflows. The success of this process will expand to all teams in 2012. Nominated by Kristy Walker.  

    Brien Denning, Elizabeth Lee, Edudzi Etsey, Mary Jo Duffy, Matthew Espy, Todd Zikmund, Mike Henricksen, Ben Mann, Kris Marnin, Laura Norpel, Ben Handley, Josiah Service, Jason Gardner, HCIS


    Every year, University of Iowa students, faculty and staff participate in a Personal Health Assessment (faculty/staff) or a Health Interests and Practices Survey (students). Approximately 50% of participants are interested in changing their eating habits. The UI has a commitment to providing a healthy and supportive environment for its students, faculty, and staff. Improving the eating and nutritional environment facilitates individual health improvement and generates organizational benefits. However, educating 40,000 students, faculty and staff about making healthy food choices is a challenge. The Healthy Campus Nutrition Advisory Group developed nutrition goals for campus and established guidelines in the areas of food service, vending, communication/education and evaluation. The goals were twofold: 1) To increase the amount of healthy food available in food service and vending in each area, and 2) To create an awareness campaign that made healthy eating an “easy” choice. UChoose is a nutrition awareness campaign that unites the academic and hospital areas of the campus in the goal to promote healthy eating for faculty, staff, students, patients and visitors. UChoose-approved items meet one or more criteria established by the Healthy Campus Nutrition Advisory Group. A “healthy nutrition” graphic of an apple with an “I” was developed as a logo for the UChoose program. Posters, logo on menus and labels, table tents, a Health Fair booth and establishment of the UChoose website have been successful in informing the UI community. Through exit interviews, approximately 50% sampled customers in residence hall dining areas and UI Hospitals and Clinics dining areas were influenced to purchase the UChoose approved food items. Nominated by Joni Troester. 

    Healthy Campus Nutrition Advisory Group
    Tanya Villhauer, Student Health Service
    Joni Troester and Megan Moeller, Organizational Effectiveness
    Joan Dolezal and Laurie Kroymann, Food and Nutrition Administration
    Greg Black, Food Services Administration
    Debby Zumbach and Jim Jetter, Purchasing
    Ann Synan, Dental Clinic Administration
    Jane Pendergast, College of Public Health - Biostatistics   

    UChoose Communication and Education Work Group
    Heidi Bohall, Student Health Service
    Megan Moeller, Organizational Effectiveness
    JoAnn Daehler-Miller, UI Wellness
    Laurie Kroyman, Food and Nutrition Administration
    Beth Fielder, Food and Nutrition Services

    UChoose Evaluation Work Group
    Kathy Mellen, Health and Human Physiology
    Jane Pendergast, College of Public Health - Biostatistics
    Fred Kurt, Hillcrest Marketplace