Employees of the month

Jennifer Talbott

October Unclassified Employee of the Month

Started at KU: 2005

Jennifer Talbott

Current title: Assistant to the director, Spencer Museum of Art

What that means: Talbott is responsible for managing many office functions, including communications and meetings, calendars and appointments, travel arrangements and leadership initiatives. Her range of duties is diverse and fluctuating, from researching art history to preparing reports, then helping with special events or external relations. She is also a channel of information to and from the museum director and the staff when the director is absent from the building on museum business.

Notable: Talbott is instrumental in managing and facilitating several grant-funded museum programs, including an engaging communities grant that funded an island for the Spencer museum in the online, virtual world of Second Life. Through the site, the museum is reaching potential new audiences and exploring evolving art education methods. Talbott is working alongside all the museum staff toward successfully completing a $1 million matching challenge grant from the Andrew E. Mellon Foundation that will strengthen collaboration between the museum and academic departments. She is instrumental in other large-scale projects at the museum, including the re-accreditation process and the information management team.

Quotable: Talbott “is the model employee in a learning organization, constantly revising structures as she encounters new challenges,” said Saralyn Reece Hardy, museum director.

Sandra Deen Urish

October University Support Staff Employee of the Month

Started at KU: 1999

Sandra Deen Urish

Current title: Accountant, business manager and human resources director, pharmacy practice department

What that means: Urish assists the department chair and faculty with all fund and business issues, is the department purchasing agent and advises on human resources policies and maintains personnel files. Because of budget cuts, she has been the sole support staff person for the program, which has faculty on both the Lawrence and KU Medical Center campuses.

Notable: Urish took a financial system that was in some disarray when she was hired three years ago and in three months had the office reorganized and systems in place for purchasing, travel planning, photocopying, budgeting and more. With the restructuring she also improved the formerly messy look of the office into an efficient workspace. Urish volunteers for additional responsibilities and seeks out training to improve her job performance. Since the vacant administrative support position at the KU Medical Center has not been filled for budgetary reasons, she has ably bridged the gap between the two campuses and voluntarily taken on administrative duties and regular trips to Kansas City.

In addition to her responsibilities on both campuses, Urish devoted considerable time to helping with planning the department and school move to the new west campus building. She also collaborated with School of Pharmacy colleagues in creating a grants procedure manual for faculty, and this year added an appendix addressing the unique budget and personnel issues of the medical center faculty to her department’s new employee handbook.

Quotable: Last fall after an internal audit of the pharmacy practice department, Urish was commended by the audit staff for her flawless management of accounts, and they stated that her department “serves as an excellent example for all other departments on campus.”


Campus closeup
Kevin Liu, associate director, Confucius Institute

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