Employee appreciation

May 31, 2013

This is a favorite time of year for me because it's a time when our university celebrates the success of our students and employees. Two weeks ago, we celebrated with our graduates and sent off into communities more than 600 well-prepared and educated doctors, nurses, health professionals and scientists who will positively change the face of health care.

Meanwhile, on May 14, at the annual employee service recognition lunch and ceremony in the Francisco Lounge, we honored hundreds of men and women who make it possible for us to fulfill our mission to educate future health care leaders. Our faculty and staff are the lifeblood of our university. We highlighted this fact earlier this week when the KU Med Central newsletter profiled our longest-serving employee Rosetta Barkley, a histotechnologist in the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. Rosetta just celebrated her 50th anniversary with us. The newsletter also contained a link to the list of all the honorees, from employees who celebrated five years of service all the way up to Rosetta's 50 years.

Our Wichita campus honored its longtime employees during employee appreciation week in April, and we look forward to the time when our colleagues at the still-young Salina campus start celebrating five years of service.

For folks on the Kansas City campus, I encourage everyone to watch the ceremony posted on the Human Resources website. Particularly entertaining was keynote speaker Dr. Vince Loffredo's litany of notable historical trivia such as No. 1 movies and songs, and the cost of movie tickets, gasoline and postage stamps in five-year increments dating back to 1963. Dr. Loffredo made sure to include notable things that happened at KU Medical Center during those years as well. When you hear how much the world has changed over the last five decades, it's really an amazing testament to how much KU Medical Center has grown over that same period of time - thanks to the dedication of our employees. It's also extremely moving to watch a few of those folks with more than 35 years of service come forward to receive our institution's official words of gratitude - along with some tangible gifts.

I'd like to reiterate my congratulations to Lyle Baade, Milton Butler, Paul Cheney, Steve Hoffman, Grant James, John Maksimowicz, Isaac Murphy, Norma Turner, Sue Popkess-Vawter, Valerie Warren and Havis Wright on 35 years of service; William Godfrey, Thomas Pazdernik, Gloria Schroder and Laura Zeiger on 40 years of service; Curtis Klaassen and Leona Therou on 45 years of service; and, of course, Rosetta Barkley.

The employee service ceremonies came just a few days after we congratulated our newly promoted and tenured faculty at a dinner in Beller Conference Center (a list of these faculty members is here.)

In total, we can celebrate almost 5,000 combined years of service. To build on that extraordinary wealth of knowledge, we are increasing our opportunities for employees to grow and develop professionally. Some of you may have heard about the "Leading the Jayhawk Way" and "Jayhawk Way Success Academy" programs offered through Steffani Webb's office. These professional training programs have proven to be so popular and effective in our Support Services and Student Services departments that we have decided to make them available to the entire campus, including faculty.

We created these programs because we know that our future success depends on having a highly effective, engaged workforce, where everyone benefits from increased skills such as managing people and performance, developing staff, communicating effectively and building an overall culture of excellence. The training is delivered in highly interactive sessions. A program for managerial employees will begin in August and run through next April (nine half-day sessions), while a similar training program for non-managerial employees will run from late September to early December (three half-day sessions). Please watch for additional details on how to register for these valuable opportunities.

It's because of this knowledge and the dedication and diversity of our employees that we will continue to move forward successfully into the next phase of health care, regardless of what that landscape will look like. Thank you to our service honorees for investing your time, dedication and passion to our institution!

Last modified: May 31, 2013