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The University of Alabama

Accolades for Dec. 3, 2012

Sam S. May Award Winners Named

The Sam S. May Commitment to Service Award winners were named at the fall faculty/staff meeting. Colleagues nominated these groups of UA employees in recognition of their outstanding responsiveness to customer needs and dedication to excellence in their jobs.

First Year Experience and Parent Programs Team

First Year Experience

The First Year Experience (FYE) and Parent Programs team received the award for their dedication to providing exceptional support and opportunity for students and parents to be involved at the Capstone.

Over the past year, the team of Sara Hartley, Litsa Orban, Jennifer DeFrance, Mary Alice Porter, Logan Franks, Kristen Moore, Meredith Campbell and Jesse King has developed a new area within the Division of Student Affairs focused on enhancing services and resources for new students and family members. The staff worked tirelessly to build the FYE area while continuing to ensure that other programs were executed correctly and that students and parents are put at ease with their concerns as they transition to the University.

In his comments supporting the team’s nomination, Vice Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Nelson shared that it would be hard to find an office more dedicated to serving UA’s students and parents.

“This team contributes to The University of Alabama’s mission daily through action,” said Nelson. “When a customer need is discovered, this team will work tirelessly to see that it is met. One example of this is the new publication for first-year students called the A Book. FYE saw an unfulfilled need in first-year students to have a resource for learning about student life prior to attending.”

This team, under the leadership of Sara Hartley, has proven to be a crucial component to students and parents as they grow to be a part of the UA community. Not only do they rebuild and develop programs based on parent and student feedback, but these staff members have shown a commitment to serve others through their ability to make very personalized and individualized relationships with students and parents.

Academic Affairs 

A&S Office of Financial Affairs

Jimmy Vail, Janis Elkins, Amanda Dobbins and Gayle Lind with the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Financial Affairs received the award for their ability to manage the massive accounting enterprise of the College of Arts and Sciences, and doing so while excelling at providing excellent and innovative service to customers.

The team of Vail, Elkins and Lind came together five years ago when Vail was hired as director of financial affairs for the College; Dobbins joined the team this year. Since then, they have worked together to create one of the smoothest operating budgetary offices at the University.

Dr. Robert F. Olin, dean of the College, explains that the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Financial Affairs is the largest academic financial operation outside of UA’s central administration and that this team plays a key role in its success.

“The responsibilities of the Office of Financial Affairs are great and the details are seemingly endless, yet the staff of Mr. Jimmy Vail, director; Janis Elkins, accounting specialist; Amanda Dobbins, accountant II; and Gayle Lind, part-time accountant II, not only manage this massive accounting enterprise, they do so while excelling at service to the people enterprise behind the numbers,” said Olin.

The award, created in memory of Sam S. May, a staff member in the chemistry department who learned from professors on his lunch hours and then tutored generations of struggling students, is given annually to recognize units providing exceptional service to customers through commitment, innovation, creativity and continuous improvement in customer relations.


Baldwin Named Vice President for Advancement

Dr. Karen Baldwin

President Judy Bonner has named Dr. Karen Baldwin as vice president for advancement, effective immediately.

Baldwin has served as interim vice president for advancement since March and served as associate vice president for advancement from 2008 until her appoint-ment as interim vice president.

“Karen Baldwin is a consummate professional and has extremely high standards for herself and for those who report to her,” Bonner said. “The Office of Advance-ment set an annual giving record under her leadership in the last year.”

As vice president for advancement, Baldwin leads the Division of Advancement, which includes all University fundraising, Planned Giving, Alumni Affairs and University Relations.

In fiscal 2012, the Office of Advancement set an annual giving record with a 25 percent increase over fiscal 2011, realizing more than $93.8 million in total giving. New documented planned gift expectancies increased by 102 percent to $26 million. In the past two years, UA has had a record number of donors (58,000 each year) and donor transactions (94,000 each year).

Baldwin joined the University in 1998 and served for 10 years as director of external affairs and development for the UA College of Engineering. A three-time UA graduate, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in American studies and her doctorate in higher education administration.

Her previous experience includes 13 years with BellSouth Advertising and Publishing Corp., where she was twice selected to the President’s Club – the top 3 percent of the corporation’s 3,000 employees.

Her positions with BellSouth included manager, BellSouth Advertising and Publishing group strategic planning; manager, process innovation; and several marketing positions. She began her career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she served as director of marketing for the special studies program.


5 Questions: Bob Pugh

Bob Pugh is director of risk management and special projects for the Division of Financial Affairs.  

Bob Pugh

Describe your job in a nutshell.   Risk management covers a wide and varied range of matters from the initial risk identification process, review of options to control risks and implement control mechanisms, to the methods to finance risks when things don’t go so well. There’s also the concept of risk avoidance (also known as the “NO” approach), but this risk management method means the loss of an opportunity in order to avoid the risk. While risk avoidance may be necessary in more extreme cases, working to implement reasonable controls is in most cases beneficial to all involved.

Who depends on you?   The entire campus community. The most positive aspect of my position is the opportunity to work with students, faculty, staff, volunteers, alumni, etc. There are no borders in my profession.

What item of men’s fashion do you hope never comes back in style?
Leisure suits.

What do you try to contribute to the University?   To serve as an example to our students and help them find success in every worthwhile endeavor; and to promote sound risk management principles so others embrace the concept of responsible risk controls to protect the assets and reputation of the University.

Do you have a favorite hobby?   I’ve always had a passion for automobiles and enjoy tinkering with anything mechanical. Got a broken lawnmower?