Campus News

The Lethbridge College Employee Excellence awards recognize and celebrate the dedication and exceptional service by employees who go above and beyond to promote our core values of people, excellence and success. Winners are nominated by fellow colleagues in one of three categories — Lifelong Learning, Leadership and Creating Community, and Service and Innovation. The awards are being presented at the Lethbridge College Employee Recognition Online Event March 4.

Sandra Dufresne, Executive Director, Advancement

Excellence Award for Leadership and Creating Community

A woman smiling
Sandra Dufresne

Sandra’s ability to bring people together emerged as a unifying theme from the colleagues and community partners who supported her nomination for this award. She was praised for demonstrating respect, dignity and compassion in all interpersonal relationships; she practices high standards of personal integrity and trustworthiness; and she is trusted to listen with an open mind and heart.

Her colleagues write: “Sandra makes you feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. She asks important and insightful questions, proposes compelling story ideas, and suggests ways of approaching issues and solving problems that I never would have thought of.” Another noted that, while skillfully balancing department needs with individual skillsets and passions, she is always available to handle questions or have conversations about major issues. But “at the same time, she is great at keeping everything light and is quick to crack a joke or follow-up with questions about our families that build true, meaningful personal connections. I have never worked with a more supportive and trusting supervisor.” Another adds that Sandra “is both trustworthy and transparent, and she works hard to ensure her team has the tools they need to be successful in their positions. Sandra is highly respected in the community and works hard to create the relationships she has with community members.”

Sandra’s connections to and with the community are legendary, and she builds on these connections to continue to develop and advocate for the work of the college. She greets everyone like a long-time friend, because in many cases they are. She not only remembers them, but she knows how to help them. For these and so many other reasons, her colleagues were proud to see her receive this award.

Melanie Hamilton, Educational Development Specialist, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation

Excellence Award for Leadership and Creating Community

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Melanie Hamilton

Mel’s dedication and passion for educational development as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) are at the heart of her recognition this year. She is known for putting her team first, for always making time to help others and for helping people feel connected even during the disruptive move to working from home.

Her colleagues write: “As a new educational developer, Melanie has encouraged me to challenge myself and become a part of national teaching and learning groups. Melanie inspires not only her own team, but the larger college community to take risks and be creative in order to meet their own best potential.” Another writes: “To walk through the college halls with Mel is to see other staff and instructors light up with smiles, laughter and greetings as she passes. She is a connector among people and departments at the college and is both respected and respects others in return.”

She stands apart from the crowd for her willingness to accommodate instructor or participant needs by adapting her teaching practice, she offers flexible deadlines and she adjusts course assessments to provide a more personalized learning experience to participants in her ICP course. The result is a learning experience that’s better tailored to the needs of individual learners. Her colleagues are proud to celebrate her nonstop energy and wholehearted commitment. In addition, they recognize that her work in educational development and SoTL is her passion, and this dedication shows.

Harmoni Jones, Manager of Wellness Services, Student Affairs

Excellence Award for Leadership and Creating Community

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Harmoni Jones

Harmoni is being honoured for her effective leadership, one that is inclusive, authentic, respectful and graceful. Her colleagues say Harmoni’s understanding of health and wellness goes well beyond supporting physical health, as she champions a holistic approach to wellness. Viewed this way, they say, respect for individuals, honouring diversity and creating safe spaces for all are simply her standard operating procedures.

“Harmoni is an inspiration to our team and others through her leadership in developing the Health and Wellness Strategy,” a colleague says. “Harmoni welcomed ideas, such as committing the college to join the Okanagan Charter, and facilitated the development of the college’s application. The wellness strategy is the result of several years of effort that included using the provincial mental health and wellness grant for students to encourage initiatives across campus, rather than championed solely by Wellness Services. Another adds: “Simply put, kindness, compassion, and empathy are hallmarks of Harmoni’s approach to her work and the way she approaches others.”

Harmoni’s exceptional leadership shines especially brightly given the challenges posed by the pandemic and working from home. Despite this, Harmoni’s colleagues say she has gone above and beyond in so many ways, lifting those around her up and creating a calm and safe space for them to contribute and be creative. She also has that special and sometimes elusive quality that all leaders should aspire towards – compassion.

Loretta Kroker, Chair, Practical Nurse, Centre for Health and Wellness

Excellence Award for Leadership and Creating Community

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Loretta Kroker

Loretta is being honoured for the many ways she works to improve the Practical Nurse program and for how she exemplifies Lethbridge College’s mission in leading and transforming education in Alberta.  Loretta’s long-time vision to front load the program has created an innovative approach to delivering the curriculum in a way that improves student competency and patient safety.

Her colleagues write: “She is not only an amazing leader of our team, but she also facilitates the creation of a community to achieve a common goal. Loretta draws from the strengths of every person, be it a student or faculty. She creates an atmosphere that is positive and encouraging.” Another colleague writes: “While I think many see her as a modest and humble nursing educator, I have come to know her as a fierce and confident leader who would not back down from a challenge or accept anything less than excellence from her students or colleagues.” And a student writes: “Loretta has been the most wonderful, caring, motivational and aspiring professor I have ever had. Her passion for teaching, nursing and for helping students succeed shines through her lectures and her availability to us as students.”

Loretta creatively finds ways to improve the program by identifying priorities in the constantly diversifying nursing world, and her vision and creativity has given her colleagues the courage to take risks backed by research to continually improve the program and build Lethbridge College’s reputation.

Kevin Wiber, Chair - Crooks School of Transportation and President of Lethbridge College Faculty Association

Excellence Award for Leadership and Creating Community

Kevin Wiber

Kevin, a 1983 grad of the college’s Automotive Service Technician who has spent more than three decades teaching here, is being recognized for all that he gives to the college community, both in the classroom and in his role as faculty association president. His work has helped build trust between faculty and staff that permeates throughout the Centre for Trades, and he is known for his solution-oriented direction and willingness to field all questions or concerns with harmony, where mutually beneficial outcomes are always the goal.

Kevin’s colleagues say: “As faculty association president, Kevin has worked hard to build relationships between faculty and administration. Kevin has always been very fair-minded and has always prioritized the students and our community partners.” Another colleague writes: “There are many competing and unique interests across the college community and Kevin is able to respond appropriately to this diverse range. Kevin’s calm demeanor helps to keep potentially volatile situations under control. Kevin applies a professional approach to situations without losing his ability to be empathetic or kind.” 

Kevin’s colleagues were delighted to be able to recognize his dedication to his co-workers, students and Lethbridge College as a whole.

Ina Baczuk and Constance Sheriff, Information Services Specialists, Buchanan Library, CTLI

Excellence Award for Service and Innovation

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Constance Sheriff
Ina Baczuk's photo was unavailable.

Ina and Constance are being recognized for their vision to create a new and invigorated program of information literacy through embedded librarianship. The information service professionals wanted to have sustained contact with students to create deeper opportunities for learning and support, so they decided to expand the embedded librarianship program and use that approach to provide information literacy. The advantage to this is that students can, at almost any time, get access to support either from the resources provided on Canvas by the embedded librarian, or directly from them. Together, Constance and Ina have been embedded in about 80 classes during the fall 2020 semester.

Their colleagues say: “Constance and Ina have been dedicated, flexible, helpful, inclusive and tireless in their work with students and faculty, helping to create an environment that encourages their success and wellbeing. This enthusiasm was in many ways what carried the program into the changes they led and creates a marvelous setting for the continuation of an integral piece of the library’s services.” And instructor who worked with them says: “Her knowledge of the library’s resources, combined with her eagerness to learn about our programs’ needs, have made the embedded librarian program a crucial element of many of our courses.” Another adds: “She is always there for me and my students...and is the epitome of student centeredness. During our time together in the classroom, I was able to observe, firsthand, her commitment to teaching, learning and student success. She continues to research methods to improve her own personal and professional development and to enhance student engagement.”

The colleagues were celebrated for the enthusiasm, creativity, dedication and innovation in launching this successful new program.

Sandra Price, Accounts Receivable Supervisor, Financial Services

Excellence Award for Service and Innovation

Sandra is being recognized for bringing her decades of experience and practical knowledge of Lethbridge College financial systems to every project, and for making valuable contributions and insights in all she does. She was instrumental in adapting the fees system to bill students more accurately for the LCSA Health and Dental plan fee. By identifying the way students were being assessed and applying her experience with the college billing system, Sandra developed a billing method that resulted in fewer errors and greater student satisfaction overall in the process, while also simplifying reporting and increasing transparency.

More recently, in the summer of 2020, Sandra collaborated with the Awards office on a payment plan arrangement to assist students affected by COVID-19. With the uncertainty surrounding post-secondary student funding during the height of the crisis, the college was looking for a way to allow students to pay their tuition and fees in installments. Sandra’s experience and insight were critical to the development of a new payment plan system that has benefitted nearly 100 students in just the two terms that it has been available. Without her knowledge and recommendations, these students would have no other options and would have been deregistered from classes.

Her colleagues say: “It takes a person with calm and flexibility to be able to maneuver the minute to minute changes encountered by the accounts receivable team. From calming an angry parent who is screaming into the phone, to comforting a sobbing student in her office, or cheering on a student who has won an award, Sandra manages to expertly handle each situation.”

Andy Benoit, Educational Development Specialist and Research Ethics Board Coordinator, CTLI

Excellence Award for Lifelong Learning

Andy Benoit

Andy is described as being the embodiment of forward progress in teaching and learning, and he is always working to achieve the best research- and evidence-based result from every effort he undertakes. He is being recognized with this award for his generosity in sharing his resources, knowledge and passion for learning, and his genuine interest in bettering teaching and learning shines through in every work-related conversation he has.

Andy’s colleagues describe him as a mentor, saying he “has offered guidance and criticism in a gentle, developmental way, and I have gained confidence in my own role through his encouragement and collaboration.” Another added: “Aside from his kind and generous disposition, the thing I’ve always appreciated and admired most about Andy is his questioning nature. Lifelong learning is all about a desire for continued growth, and a key way to seek out growth is to ask questions. Perhaps more than anyone else I’ve worked with, Andy has a real strength in asking excellent questions. I’ve seen Andy’s questioning skills at work during project meetings, collaborative activities, instructional activities, a hiring committee we served on together and even in personal conversations. His questions have an uncommon depth and thoughtfulness to them that serve to illuminate new perspectives while also seeking new information, and this has been true over all the years I’ve known Andy.”

Andy’s team members say they are bolstered by his commitment to ensuring the team focuses on research and evidence, on incorporating new ideas and consideration into their work, and on evaluating what they’ve done so they can improve every time.

Adam Addison, Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator, Human Resources

Appreciation Award for Lifelong Learning

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Adam Addison

Adam plays a critical role in creating a healthy and safe environment for the entire college community. He is known for being a team player, a willing volunteer and a valued colleague whose contributions have been especially important following the onset of COVID-19 and the challenges the pandemic has posed. Adam uses his foresight to identify what requirements would be up-and-coming issues for Health and Safety. For example, when employees had to start moving to remote work, not only did he assist in virtual ergonomic assessments with the home work stations, he also brought to light WCB requirements when working from home especially those who may be working out of province. He continues to identify and create new processes to deal with emerging issues.

“He is extremely motivated and focused on his current career and educational goals and has a plan for future endeavors,” says a colleague. “Adam is always pursuing new opportunities to educate himself and inspires others to participate with him.” Another colleague says, “While working in the scheduling department, he supported program areas by providing scheduling systems training for staff across the college. Feedback from these sessions often complimented his ability to explain clearly and his patience with questions or follow up.”

Adam was celebrated for his ability to focus and build knowledge, and to promote growth and understanding across the college. His colleagues say witnessing Adam’s passion for learning is motivating, his drive towards personal growth is admirable, and his vision shows all those around him what is possible.