By Chris Putnam
Communications officer Shannon Boklaschuk and psychology graduate program administrator Joni Morman are the recipients of the 2021 Dean’s Distinguished Staff Award from the College of Arts and Science.
Presented annually, the Dean’s Distinguished Staff Award recognizes employees of the College of Arts and Science who have set themselves apart through excellence in work performance and quality of service. Recipients are presented with an award certificate and a $1,000 prize.
Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith (PhD), dean of the College of Arts and Science, announced the 2021 winners at the May 13 meeting of Faculty Council. Fourteen employees were nominated for the award this year.
The 2021 Dean’s Distinguished Staff Award winners
As a communications officer in the college’s communications office, Boklaschuk is tasked with sharing and celebrating the successes of the people, units and departments of the College of Arts and Science.
Boklaschuk is the author of a vast quantity of news stories each year for USask news websites and publications such as On Campus News and The Green & White.
“I worked as a newspaper journalist before entering the communications profession, so one my favourite things to do in the College of Arts and Science is write news articles about the achievements of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Boklaschuk.
In nominating Boklaschuk for the award, staff and faculty members praised her “tireless” work ethic, “crisp and powerful writing,” and keen sense for news.
Examples of Boklaschuk’s work include a series of articles over the past year about teaching innovations developed by College of Arts and Science instructors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boklaschuk also leads the creation of the Arts and Science Student Update monthly e-newsletter and serves as co-editor of Arts&Science alumni magazine, which has been recognized with four awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education since 2019.
“So much of the work we do in the college communications office is a team effort, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a great group of talented professionals. It is a privilege to learn from them and my other USask colleagues every day,” said Boklaschuk.
Boklaschuk said she feels honoured to receive the Dean’s Distinguished Staff Award.
“When I graduated from the College of Arts and Science 21 years ago, I couldn't have predicted that one day I would return to work in my college. I am grateful that my career path led me here; it feels like home.”
Morman, a staff member in the Arts and Science Administrative Support Group (ASG), is the coordinator of the Department of Psychology’s graduate program.
Morman efficiently manages the department’s large and complex graduate program, which features four training streams, more than 80 students and more than 200 applications each year.
In addition to processing applications, managing the program budget and organizing thesis defences, Morman provides steady guidance and support to graduate students at every stage of their studies—from their first contact with the Department of Psychology until their graduation.
Morman said she enjoys working with diverse personalities and feeling productive in her work. “To be part of the process for the students to receive their education and start their career is exciting. Knowing that I am appreciated is motivating and energizing.”
With her long experience and intimate knowledge of the university, Morman is frequently approached for advice and assistance from other departments and fellow staff members in the ASG. She has earned a reputation in her department as someone who solves problems with a proactive, fair and respectful approach.
Students, faculty and staff who supported Morman’s nomination noted her generous and caring interactions with others, her infallible memory for detail and her dedication to her work. She is described as “the heart of the psychology office” and “the bedrock” of the department.
Morman said it is “a great honour” to receive the Dean’s Distinguished Staff Award and to be nominated by students and colleagues.
“This year all of the nominees are well-deserving, so to be one of the recipients is overwhelmingly delightful. Words cannot express my gratitude.”
Learn more about the Dean’s Distinguished Staff Award and view past recipients on the award webpage.