We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the President’s Staff Awards at the Vancouver campus. These awards recognize the personal achievements and contributions that our staff make to UBC, and to the vision and goals of the University.
This year’s President’s Staff Awards recipients are:
- Jennifer Chin, Associate Director, Enrolment Services
- Gerry McGeough, Director, Planning and Design, Campus & Community Planning
Creativity & Innovation
- Natasha Boskic, Senior Manager, Instructional Design, Faculty of Education
- Glenn Jolly, Technician and Electronics Shop Supervisor, Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
Enhancing the UBC Experience
- Chris McGill, Research Manager, UBC Animal Welfare Program/Program Coordinator, Applied Biology Program, Faculty of Land & Food Systems
- Cherrylyn Navarrete and Sally Vargas, Service Workers, St. John’s College
- Debra Harris, Divisional Assistant, Accounting/Law & Business Communications Group, Sauder School of Business
- Marlene Chow, Director of Academic Programs, Administration and Facilities, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
Advancing Diversity & Inclusion
- Debbie Harvie, Managing Director, University Community Services
Jennifer Chin, Associate Director, Enrolment Services
Jennifer Chin, Associate Director, Enrolment Services, is dedicated to creating an environment at UBC where staff have the tools to succeed and thrive in their roles. Through this approach, she has built a team of enrolment service professionals who are transforming the student experience at UBC.
Jennifer’s colleagues value her ability to connect with people’s strengths and then maximize those strengths in the work that they do. She has an exceptional ability to bring people together, both within a team and with partners across campus – and all with a commitment to organizational and individual success.
Jennifer creates a supportive and respectful environment where staff are willing and able to step up to the challenges of change. Jennifer’s daily guidance to her team in all matters of the student experience is invaluable, ranging from admissions and recruitment, student financial support and awards and the support of Aboriginal students and special population groups such as the Youth in Care program.
Jennifer demonstrates a strong commitment and constant willingness to helping staff with accomplishing their goals and overcoming challenges to achieve the best outcomes possible.
Gerry McGeough, Director, Planning and Design, Campus & Community Planning
In his role as Director, Planning and Design, Campus & Community Planning, Gerry McGeough has played a key role in shaping the campus environment. For each proposal that comes across his desk, Gerry focuses on how the project can make UBC a better place. Gerry’s influence can be seen in how academic space blends with residences, services, and social spaces in all new developments.
In working with colleagues, Gerry encourages everyone to bring their best ideas to the table to find the best solution for any challenge. His co-workers consider Gerry as a mentor, and value his support and encouragement in the development of their own careers.
Recently Gerry collaborated with students in UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) to start planning the future Stadium Road neighbourhood. Under Gerry’s mentorship, these students will gain valuable knowledge, sustainability collaboration and work skills.
Gerry and his team are committed to raising UBC’s environmental performance in its approach to its physical footprint. As just one example, Gerry’s leadership and involvement with UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability building and promotion it as a “living laboratory” for students, faculty and staff is invaluable for UBC’s commitments to sustainability.
Creativity & Innovation
Natasha Boskic, Senior Manager, Instructional Design, Faculty of Education
Dr. Natasha Boskic, Senior Manager, Instructional Design, Faculty of Education, joined the Faculty when distance education was primarily done through correspondence. As learning becomes increasingly digitized, Natasha has developed a consistent and efficient set of processes for online course development using an integrated team approach.
Since 2003, Natasha has been involved in the development of every one of the Faculty’s online courses. In addition to leading a team of staff who assist faculty to develop fully online courses, she also provides professional development sessions for faculty and students interested in making better use of educational technologies. Natasha’s support was key in the development of UBC’s most successful MOOC—Reconciliation through Indigenous Education.
Natasha is always looking at how to leverage new technologies to deliver a high-value educational experiences, while meeting the needs of learners. One such example was in the Faculty of Education’s involvement in the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees project being carried out in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. Natasha and her team developed innovative means to help deliver the courses using a locally used social media app Whatsapp, resulting in a highly successful outcome for everyone involved.
Glenn Jolly, Technician and Electronics Shop Supervisor, Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
Glenn Jolly is the Technician and Electronics Shop Supervisor in Mechanical Engineering. Glen’s practical electronic and technical knowledge, and his every-day mentorship and advice to colleagues, undergraduate and graduate students alike, has had a transformative influence on the department.
Glen is the unsung hero behind many undergraduate laboratories, graduate research projects, and in the delivery of outstanding education programs. His genuine passion for his work has created an outstanding learning experience of countless undergraduate student and graduate students in Mechanical Engineering.
Glen regularly contributes to technical content in undergraduate curriculum and has had a hand in instrumentation aspects of most of the custom-built teaching lab apparatus in the department.
As an electronics and instrumentation shop technician, Glenn has established himself as the go-to instrumentation expert, not only with students, but also with professors outside of Mechanical Engineering.
Glen’s expertise, developed from many years of practice, has helped countless graduate students and professors in successful research projects. He is a mentor to junior colleagues in the shop, and is the force behind undergraduate labs that earned Mechanical Engineering its reputation for excellence in teaching.
Enhancing the UBC Experience
Chris McGill, Research Manager, UBC Animal Welfare Program/Program Coordinator, Applied Biology Program, Faculty of Land & Food Systems
Chris McGill, Research Manager for the UBC Animal Welfare Program and Program Coordinator for the Applied Biology undergraduate degree program in the Faculty of Land & Food Systems, goes the extra distance to ensure that students and researchers have an outstanding experience at UBC.
At a time when enrolment in agriculture-related degree programs are declining across the country, UBC’s programs are experiencing increased enrolment, in no small part because of the prominence Chris has given the university.
One of Chris’s strengths is in advising and mentoring students in their academic careers. He can often be found arranging initiatives to help students connect with opportunities for the next step in their careers.
Through Chris’s leadership, the Animal Welfare program has benefited greatly from scholarship programs, including the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program. Chris has helped to bring an outstanding cohort of students into the Animal Welfare Program, including some who have stayed or returned as PhD students.
Chris is also active in volunteering in UBC outreach activities, and encourages graduate students to volunteer with undergraduates and the wider community.
Cherrylyn Navarrete and Sally Vargas, Service Workers, St. John’s College
Cherrylyn Navarrete and Sally Vargas, Service Workers at St. John’s College, have made St. John’s College a true home away from home for the students and visiting scholars in residence.
Cherrylyn and Sally are outstanding ambassadors for Student Housing and Hospitality Services and for the university. Every day, they provide a high level of customer service, and are dedicated to creating the best experience for their residents.
They take pride in their work to create a comfortable residence experience for everyone in St. John’s College. When they started to work in St. John’s College they initiated a number of maintenance improvements that have upgraded the aesthetics of the building, but also increase efficiency of service for residents and visitors.
Many residents and staff value Cherrylyn and Sally as role models through their positive interactions with residents, visitors, and staff members at St. John’s College.
Debra Harris, Divisional Assistant, Accounting/Law & Business Communications Group, Sauder School of Business
Debra Harris, Divisional Assistant, Accounting/Law & Business Communications Group, Sauder School of Business, has been a dedicated member of the Sauder United Way Committee for 10 years, and has been instrumental in planning events that engage the Sauder community to raise both funds and awareness for the United Way’s work on social change.
Debra brings her co-workers together by fostering a sense of community through such activities as Sauder’s United Way Bake Sale, Hot Dog Day, Chair Race, Lunar New Year Relay, and Thrive Week.
For 13 years, Debra has been a valued member of the Health and Safety Committee at Sauder, where she has been instrumental in creating a number of initiatives for health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace. In particular, Debra’s work has been key in building positive mental health among staff and faculty.
Beyond UBC, Debra is a long-time member of Beta Sigma Phi, an international women’s sorority founded in 1931 to encourage social, cultural and civic enrichment. In her work with Beta Sigma Phi, Debra has contributed to projects for BC Children’s Hospital, BC and Yukon Arthritis Society, Covenant House and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Marlene Chow, Director of Academic Programs, Administration and Facilities, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science
Marlene Chow, Director of Academic Programs, Administration and Facilities, in Chemical & Biological Engineering, is a leader and mentor with students in the CHBE program, helping to guide them in making connections and taking part in activities to help them succeed at UBC and beyond.
Marlene has created a number of programs such as enhanced mentoring services, resume development workshops, design competitions, and industry workshops to improve the academic experience for students.
As industry connections are key to student outcomes in engineering, Marlene has increased student participation in industrial field trips. Students regard these field trips as one of the highlights of their program.
Under Marlene’s leadership and collaboration with technical staff and faculty, lab facilities have been improved and upgraded, and lab group sizes reduced, to improve student learning experiences.
Marlene enjoys mentors students through the Engineering tri-mentorship and first-year student mentoring programs. She has an open door for all students seeking advice on job searches and career planning. Marlene also works closely with the Co-op office, to support students in getting the most out of their work placements.
Advancing Diversity & Inclusion
Debbie Harvie, Managing Director, University Community Services
Debbie Harvie, Managing Director, University Community Services, has demonstrated leadership in expanding UBC’s commitment to making the university a more inclusive workplace. She is dedicated to creating a community in which all employees, including those with developmental challenges, can succeed. She sees the potential in every member of the community, and brings a celebration of difference and diversity to her work.
In 2016, working with a local community support group, Debbie created a role in the UBC Bookstore for a young man with special needs. Today, this young man is a productive employee and proud member of the UBC Bookstore team. While there have been a few challenges, Debbie and the Bookstore team have worked to ensure that this job placement is successful. With Debbie’s support, the team has been supportive and flexible to find strategies to help everyone do their best work.
By taking steps to make UBC a more inclusive workplace, Debbie has demonstrated to others at UBC and the general public how an inclusive workplace is key in supporting the mission and values of an institution of higher education.