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2006 Research Staff Recognition Awards

Distinguished Research Administrator Award

Violet Elder is the Administrative Director of the University's new Center for Computational Medicine and Biology (CCMB) in the Medical School. With 22 years of experience at the University, she brings to the Center her vast experience in the areas of finance, research, human resources, space, computing and student administration. Challenges for the Center include building ties between the CCMB and the service-oriented Michigan Center for Biological Information of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, while simultaneously assuring the multi-site start up of the National Center for Integrative Biological Informatics, one of just seven National Centers for Biomedical Computing created by NIH. Elder has demonstrated good judgment and energetic leadership in this demanding role and is a key member of the leadership team. In August 2003, Elder joined the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) as Administrative Manager just as the GCRC was planning their NIH Competitive Renewal application. Under Elder's administrative leadership the GCRC was successfully renewed for five years with an award totaling $35,000,000. As the Business Manager for a newly created Post Award Unit within the Survey Research Center, Elder's charge was to create the unit from the ground up beginning with an initial needs assessment, hiring and training support staff, and developing training, evaluation and feedback mechanisms. She gained center-wide support and confidence as she built her team and achieved each goal.
Violet is a highly effective person, both professionally and personally. She exemplifies the Covey principles of living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.

Ruth Freedman is the Administrative Director at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI) in the Medical School. From 1985 to 1988, she served as the Coordinator of Academic Service Programs in the Office of Academic Affairs and joined the Mental Health Research Institute (now the MBNI) as administrator in 1989, a position she has held for the past 17 years. During that period, Freedman has handled a truly remarkable range of issues – technical, financial, social, political and logistical, and has done it all with great intelligence, effectiveness, wisdom and kindness. The Institute has an annual budget of over $15 million that Freedman oversees and directly manages. Three years ago she orchestrated moving thirteen laboratories to temporary space when the Neuroscience Building was leveled and is now overseeing the move into the new facilities. She has orchestrated these moves with the precision of a great strategist, ensuring minimal disruption of scientific research. Freedman has served on governing boards of numerous research and education organizations including the American Lung Association, the Society for Public Health Education, the National Breast Cancer Coalition and the National Women’s Health Network. Currently she is a member of the Breast Cancer Advocacy Advisory Committee and a peer counselor for the UM Comprehensive Cancer Center and a lay reviewer for the American Cancer Society. Freedman successfully balances these commitments with her duties at the University and as a mother.
She is the glue that binds all of MBNI together and makes it feel like a family.

Jane Holland, Administrative Director in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has served the University for more than 29 years. From 1986-1995 Holland worked in the Department of Biological Chemistry assisting the department administrator until it became clear she was ready to lead a department of her own. Since her move to Microbiology & Immunology in 1995, the department has been fiscally sound due to her careful management of resources. She was the prime mover in educating the chair and, in turn, the faculty during the transition to "All Funds" budgeting, which also required additional effort on her part to manage the Department’s General Funds, Sponsored Research Funds, Indirect Costs, and Space issues. She was instrumental in developing and updating all aspects of departmental policy, including the "Trade Policy." She is thoroughly knowledgeable about grants administration and helps the faculty with all aspects of grant preparation, submission and post-award issues. Following events surrounding September 11th, Holland had to deal with the press, problems within the BSL3 laboratory, security clearances as a result of the Patriot Act, and additional complexities in the management of research within the BSL3 laboratory. Holland's expertise is recognized beyond the department as well and has led to her service on numerous committees within the Medical School, including the School's Financial Advisory Committee and on the Space Planning Committee and Oversight Team during the design of the Basic Science Research Building.
I wish I could recount a story about how Jane helped me to solve some terrible problem, but frankly under Jane's hands fiscal crises simply weren't allowed to occur.