The UF College of Public Health and Health Professions recognized Melissa Naidu and Candice Vogtle as the 2018 PHHP Employees of the Year at the staff and faculty appreciation luncheon held Dec. 7.
Nominators said despite Naidu’s heavy workload as an academic specialist in the department of clinical and health psychology, she continually seeks out opportunities to improve department activities and processes.
“Not only is her effort above and beyond, she performs additional tasks at the highest levels of competence and timeliness, and regularly engages in new learning to solve problems she doesn’t initially know how to solve,” a nominator wrote.
In the past year, Naidu developed an online student portal that now houses all records for trainees. Previously, these records were maintained in hard copy form, necessitating the printing of thousands of pieces of paper per year and dozens of hours of filing time. The new portal allows students to manage forms and records in one digital location; lets faculty members approve and track documents electronically; and provides an easy way to synthesize data for reports and accreditation.
“Her work has been universally hailed by students, faculty and administrators in the department as a major step forward and a big reduction in administrative burden,” a colleague wrote.
Co-workers said Naidu saw the portal through from inception to implementation, working evenings and weekends to research online resources and training herself in the software.
“Ms. Naidu does not take shortcuts or go with what’s ‘good enough,’” a colleague wrote. “She goes the extra mile and with tenacity hunts out the ‘perfect’ solution that will create a long-term positive impact.”
Vogtle is an administrative specialist for Stephanie Hanson, Ph.D., the college’s executive associate dean. Nominators praised the way she continually takes on new challenges and volunteers to assist colleagues, asking, “How can I help?”
Among the projects Vogtle tackled in the past year was the development of the HPNP Complex’s new digital signage. She designed the layout of the website shared by the three colleges, oversaw test runs, and created the web-based request form, all in coordination with IT services, an outside software company and the colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy. The result is an attractive, dynamic display system for news and announcements and a dramatic reduction in posters and easels lining the first floor of the building.
“She never said ‘no’ to a challenge, of which there were many on this project,” a colleague wrote. “She simply worked both independently and with a diverse team of contributors to ensure a final product that not only works, but is used by faculty, staff and students every day.”
Vogtle’s recent accomplishments also include redesigning the financial aid and scholarship website and the student application form to improve efficiency. Instead of completing multiple forms if they are applying for more than one scholarship, students now only need to fill out one. Vogtle was also a catalyst for improvements to the curriculum committee’s work, leading to the implementation of a formalized quality and content review of new courses, and more effective follow-up procedures.
“It has already become clear that Candice has made a significant impact upon the teaching in PHHP, with new courses having much stronger syllabi, and instructors having a more defined sense of the purpose of their courses,” a nominator wrote.