College Employees Recognized for Excellence and Years of Service
Campus News

Franklin College employees came together virtually on Friday, Dec. 18 for the 27th Annual Employee Appreciation event. The event serves as a time for the Franklin College community to join to celebrate the conclusion of the fall semester before embarking on a break for the holidays. During the event, employees are recognized with service awards for milestone anniversaries with the college. In addition, three individual awards were bestowed.

Two staff members were recognized as recipients of the 2020 Margaret A. Hommell Staff Service Excellence Award for having gone above and beyond expectations in adding support to colleagues and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The award is named in memory of the late Margaret Hommell, a Franklin College staff member who served on the award selection committee for several years and passed away in October 2006. The recipients will each receive a $250 cash award and an engraved plaque.

Jason McHenry, assistant director of Information Technology Services, was recognized as the first recipient of the 2020 Margaret A. Hommell Staff Service Excellence Award.

McHenry attended Indiana University and graduated with a degree in informatics. He began working at Franklin College in 2014 as the application developer and database administrator. While at Franklin, he has steadily taken on more responsibility and helped to improve protocols in the IT department, benefiting both students and employees.

McHenry received many nominations for the award. One nomination stated, McHenry “is the go-to person for all things in IT. He is always willing to help. I have never seen him lose his patience even when much is asked of him. He is easy to communicate with and always provides peers with respect. It is always a pleasure to work with him on a project because I know he will be patient, will communicate effectively and execute with precision.”

Another nominator wrote, “Jason frequently goes above and beyond to deliver excellence for this institution. On any given week, you can expect Jason to put in no less than 5-10 hours more than is expected of him to keep up with the needs of our college. When the department is down a person, Jason keeps up the slack and takes on the extra work caused by the vacancy. On top of that, he is a member of multiple campus committees as well as leading the esports initiative alongside our athletic director. Jason seeks to achieve excellence in every one of these areas and he puts in all the extra time and work necessary to do so.”

McHenry was also cited in another nomination for his initiative to switch the campus over to laptops. “This was very critical when we were sent home in March. During that time, all manufacturers were running short on laptops. Our classes could not have gone online as smoothly had we not switched over to laptops prior to the pandemic.”

McHenry resides in Franklin with his wife, Lindy, and children, Ethan, Taylor, Parker and Annabelle.

The second recipient of the Margaret A. Hommell Staff Service Award was Chris Shaff, Franklin College’s head athletic trainer.

Shaff graduated from Franklin College’s athletic training program in 1996. Prior to returning to Franklin and joining the staff in 2003, he received his master’s degree in athletic training from Valparaiso University and gained valuable experience in a variety of athletic training settings, including professional baseball, high school and as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Shaff is praised for combining his passion for working with student-athletes with his selfless, dedicated service to the Franklin College Griz athletics family.

“Chris has a positive, upbeat attitude that helps any athlete work through an injury or ailment keeping them from the playing field/court,” said one nominator. “The athletic training staff, led by his leadership, consistently follows best practices in the medical field. This year specifically, Chris, along with his staff, have taken on a very important and critical role in providing COVID-19 testing for student-athletes, staff and faculty at the college. Chris has navigated the complexities of the current pandemic and has developed new policies to ensure the safety, health and overall wellness for the student-athletes at Franklin. He has excelled in his efforts to be knowledgeable and well-trained in the areas necessary to take on this new task surrounding COVID-19.”

In addition, Shaff was praised for improving many processes in the Athletic Training Department to make it easier for all involved. For example, all documents the student-athletes are required to complete are now on-line; the drug testing procedures student-athletes must complete are now held on campus instead of an off-campus testing facility; students are able to schedule appointments with trainers on-line; and he has helped to develop a mental health policy for all student-athletes, coaches and the athletic administration to follow.

Shaff was also praised for being a lifelong learner, attending seminars, conferences, watching webinars and reading research to keep on top of the new developments in an ever-changing world of athletic training. He also represented Franklin College last year as part of the Leadership Johnson County program, helping to create a group project to support men who are grieving.

Shaff was noted in one nomination as someone who “embodies the mission of Franklin College through his leadership, honesty, excellence and service to the student-athletes and athletic staff on a daily basis – as well as to the entire student body and faculty and staff in 2020.”

Shaff is a resident of Franklin. He resides with his wife, Megan, and sons Riley and Kellen.

The Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award is designed to honor a commendable faculty member who is not in a tenure-track position, has completed two or more semesters and has taught a minimum of 12 credit hours at Franklin College. The award was established in 2012. The recipient receives a $250 cash award and has their photo displayed in Old Main.

Katie Burpo was recognized as the recipient of the 2020 Franklin College Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award. She serves the college as an assistant professor of English.

Burpo received her bachelor’s degree in English (writing) from DePauw University. She received a master’s degree in fine arts in creative writing from Western Michigan University.

“Ever since her arrival on Franklin College’s campus in 2014, Katie Burpo has been a valuable part of our faculty. I have had the honor of observing Professor Burpo in the classroom twice, and both times I was impressed by her easy rapport with students, her careful preparation, and her pedagogical insight,” said one nominator. “She is highly creative and strives to make learning interactive for students by using humor and visual components, like images and videos, to engage them. As a result her students routinely praise her on course evaluations for her dedication to their learning and her approachability.”

Burpo is also praised by her colleagues for not only excelling in the classroom, but also contributing to the campus in many ways, even though, as a non-tenure track faculty member, she does not have any service obligations. Her contributions include serving as a contributing member of the First Year Seminar working group, meeting with prospective creative writing students to help them in their college decision-making process, meeting with sophomore and junior English majors for their yearly consultations, helping to research and plan the department’s curriculum revision, helping to manage the department’s social media accounts, and serving as an academic adviser to students.

Burpo has been praised by many across campus for her ability to make English fun for the non-English majors. Many students at Franklin College enjoy her classes. One of them even said, “I don’t even have a good grade in the class and it’s one of my favorites.”

Burpo resides in Bargersville with her husband, John, and their three sons.

Full-time employees honored for their years of service with the college include the following:

5-year awards: Callista Buchen (Franklin), Andrea Gash (Franklin), Adam Heavrin (Indianapolis 46227), Sara Kinder (Franklin), Steven “Justin” P’Pool (Greenwood), George Phillips (Franklin), Matthew “Brett” Turner (Greensburg), Gina Waldrip (Bargersville)

10-year awards: James Alexander ’06 (Franklin), Kathryn Johnston (Franklin), Mary Johnston (Franklin), Benjamin O’Neal (Franklin), Eric Schwarz (Franklin)

15-year awards: Karen Bauman (Edinburgh), Bradley Jones’88 (Franklin), Christine Morris (Indianapolis (46227)), Virgina “Ginger” George-Nelis (Franklin), Amy VerSteeg’ 96 (Franklin), Katherine Wehner (Franklin)

20-year awards: Kirk Bixler (Franklin)), Nelson Preston (Franklin)

25-year awards: Barbara Chambers (Martinsville)), Deana Pierson (Needham)

30-year award: Katherine Remsburg (Trafalgar)

35-year award: Joel Cramer (Avon)

40-year award: Gregory Cataldi ’80 (Franklin)

45-year award: Janet Schantz ’03 (Trafalgar)

Part-time employees honored for their years of service with the college include the following:

 5-year awards: Sam Kinder (Franklin), Joshua Torres (Indianapolis 46202); 10-year awards: Linda Morse (Scottsburg), Elizabeth Stillabower (Franklin); and 15-year awards: Janet Stone (Franklin), DeeAnna Woods (Needham)

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

POSTED Dec 22, 2020