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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 3, 2004

12 UI Staff Members Receive Awards For Workplace Excellence

Six University of Iowa staff members have won 2004 Board of Regents Staff Excellence Awards, and another six have won University Outstanding Staff Awards, the UI Staff Council has announced.

The Regents awards go to staff members whose work has effects not only at the university but also in state and national or international arenas. Outstanding Staff Awards recognize excellence in work within departments or organizations on campus and contributions to the University as a whole.

Winners of the Regents awards are:

Sandra J. Jirsa, public health microbiologist, Hygienic Laboratory, is supervisor of virology and teaches virology at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She provides on-site training around Iowa for collection of specimens of influenza and sexually transmitted diseases. She has implemented highly complex methods for virus detection and characterization and is responsible for a number of significant disease-surveillance programs in Iowa.

Michael D. Schueller, limnologist and supervisor of Environmental Health, Hygienic Laboratory, is the project manager for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' water-monitoring program. With an increase in both the number of sites that need to be tested and the number of tests that must be done, Schueller coordinated the transfer of large quantities of water-quality analysis data from the hygienic lab's Laboratory Information Management Systems into an Environmental Protection Agency database called STORET (STOrage and RETrieval). This allows for more rapid retrieval of data.

Jamie D. Sharp, coordinator of continuing education, College of Dentistry, is in phased retirement after 26 years as coordinator of continuing dental education. She has expanded and improved educational opportunities available to Iowa's dentists and auxiliary personnel, using courses from the college, the Iowa Communications Network and the state's 10 dental districts. She also has held offices in national, state and local dental organizations.

James Walker, director, Health Protection Office, is an expert in the handling of chemical, radiological and biological hazards, including regulatory issues and proper handling and disposal. His primary responsibilities are to protect the health of university workers and the integrity of the university's research enterprise by creating policies and procedures that ensure compliance with laws and regulations. His office provides continuing education opportunities for faculty and trains students in protocols for safe disposal of hazardous waste. He also is a consultant to Iowa City, Coralville, Johnson County and state emergency-planning groups.

Michelle L. Wiegand, editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly since its inception in 1976, has been credited with the growth of the journal, which now is regarded as the top journal specializing in legislative matters -- from city councils and state legislatures to the U.S. Congress, and from provincial parliaments to the European Parliament and the United Nations. She chairs editorial board meetings in conjunction with political science meetings across the country, and manages subscriptions, author relations, deadlines, finances and fund-raising for the journal.

Joel Wilcox is an academic adviser and the director of WebISIS, the university's student registration system, which allows students to register for courses online. WebISIS also lets prospective students track their applications for admission and financial aid, saving staff time and giving students more complete and accurate information. He also developed OSIRIS, a staff version, which gives staff access to student data and allows departments and administrators to interact automatically with their own data. He also helped to develop Courses in Common, the university's retention initiative for first-year students in which they may enroll in two or three classes with the same cohort of first-year students.

Winners of the Outstanding Staff Awards are:

Susan J. Carlson, dietitian, Food and Nutrition Services, is the nutritionist for sick babies in the special care nurseries at the Children's Hospital of Iowa. She has been a key member of the multidisciplinary team that manages the prematurely born and critically ill patients in the nurseries, assuring nutritional management for more than 10,000 babies who were in the nurseries during her 16 years. The survival rate for very-low-birth-weight babies in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is better than that of 96 percent of NICUs in a recent survey.

Keith Alan Miller, senior engineering research and development machinist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of Psychology, has been called upon to build instrumentation and devices used in psychology research -- ranging from interpersonal relations to neurophysiological functioning. He has designed and built dollhouses used in studying children's spatial cognition; animal learning chambers for rabbits, rats and pigeons; and precisely controlled and calibrated standard stimuli used in studying human perception. In addition, he configures and fixes computer hardware and software used in research and teaching support.

Jacqueline Nelson, administrative associate, Children's and Women's Services, UI Hospitals and Clinics, served as department facility coordinator to work with UIHC Capital Management in facilitating the construction and planning of the hospital's perinatal construction project. This project, including the new pediatric intensive care unit, maternity center and neonatal intensive care unit, is one of the largest and most complex construction projects in UIHC history. She managed every aspect of the project, working with contractors and subcontractors, more than 20 hospital departments and services, hospital architects, bioengineers, and telecommunication experts. This work was performed in addition to her role as an administrative associate in Children's and Women's Services, in which she develops and manages the division's $20 million annual operating budget and multimillion-dollar capital budgets, and supervises the staffing office.

Joyce Terhune is the recently retired Neurology Outpatient Clinic scheduling secretary, charged with balancing patients' and referring physicians' urgent requests with the complex schedules of more than 30 physicians. As appointment scheduling has become more computer-dependent, she gave patients a human voice that told them that their requests would not simply be translated into a keystroke on the computer but that they would receive personal attention. In doing so, she gave the clinic a positive impression for tens of thousands of Iowans.

Donna Welter, director of human resources and finances, Graduate College, is responsible for all personnel and budget matters in the college. That includes 50 faculty and staff positions and a budget of more than $15 million. She is responsible for assuring that the appointments of about 3,400 graduate research and teaching assistants are maintained every academic semester for nearly 100 graduate degree programs on campus. In addition, when a new, uniform tuition-scholarship policy was brought into the university's contract with the graduate employee union, she was responsible for implementing it in a highly complex environment.

Martha Wieland, clinical operations coordinator at the DeGowin Blood Center, UIHC Department of Pathology, manages all service and nursing operations of the DeGowin Blood Center and its inpatient and outpatient therapeutic apheresis sections. Her colleagues in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center praise her ability to give clear and easy-to-understand information to their patients/families and medical and nursing staff about serious and frightening procedures.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Writer: Anne Tanner