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2001 Research Staff Recognition Awards

Distinguished Research Administrator Award

Owen Jansson, Assistant Director, Center for Human Growth and Development, has worked at the University since 1980. In his first position here he helped establish and then directed the operation of the UM Children's Center, a new research and training facility. For the past 18 years, Jansson has held a series of progressively more responsible positions with the Center for Human Growth and Development (CHGD), where he is currently the Assistant Director. The co-workers who nominated Jansson emphasized his leadership through all kinds of changes that a research unit such as CHGD faces over time, his ability to engender employee loyalty by establishing a positive work environment, his keen administrative abilities and willingness to take on extra work to help other UM units, and the effort he puts into encouraging the professional growth of his staff. In the words of one Jansson supporter, "I believe that the Center could not have moved forward so productively without the wisdom and expertise of an administrator like Owen." Jansson has also contributed his energy and expertise to the community in many ways. He currently serves on the Parks Advisory Commission for the City of Ann Arbor, and previously served on the Energy Steering Committee for the City of Ann Arbor, the City Charter Review Committee, and the Consultation Panel of the U.S.-Canadian International Joint Commission.

Dorene Markel has had a long affiliation with the University of Michigan. She spent two years at the UM-Dearborn campus as an undergraduate, then attended graduate school at the UM-Ann Arbor in Human Genetics and later in Health Services Administration. She remained at the University in a variety of positions, such as a research study coordinator, genetic counselor, and Director of the Clinical Trials Center. Markel is currently Administrative Director of the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), a position she has held since 1996. Markel was a crucial contributor to the recent successful renewal of the GCRC's five-year, $31 million NIH grant as well as a parallel NIH construction grant to support renovations in the GCRC. Her expertise extends to many other corners of the University, as well. Markel is a member of the Medical School Institutional Review Board, which reviews human research protocols. She also served as interim administrator of this Board during a recent restructuring of this important committee. She is a lecturer in the Training Program in Clinical Research, and course coordinator and primary lecturer for the Macy Minority Students in Medicine Summer Academy. In nominating Markel, her colleagues highlighted her "splendid record of sustained leadership and initiative," her focus and action-orientation, and conclude that "she is a positive and effective force on this campus."

Patrice Somerville, Administrative Manager for the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, has been an employee of the School of Public Health for 16 years. She was employed initially in student services for five years, then moved into an administrative role. Somerville has earned a reputation as an outstanding administrative manager who handles her duties with tremendous skill and effectiveness. Her contributions reached a crescendo when she agreed to manage the affairs of two departments simultaneously -- her then current job in Biostatistics and new responsibilities managing Environmental Health Sciences (EHS), which had been without an administrator for some time. Somerville took on the additional work of restoring orderliness to EHS functioning through long hours spent outside the normal work week. In the end, she became the permanent EHS administrator and trained her replacement for Biostatistics. Somerville has made valuable contributions campus-wide. She devoted great effort to the design and implementation of the Cost Accounting Standards training project and to the creation of the Research Administrators Information Network (RAIN), the University's unique and popular training program. In all of these activities, Somerville is known as someone who performs with "sure-handedness, good humor, and insight." She is "pragmatic yet creative," and someone admired and respected by all of the faculty and staff she works with.

OVPR Exceptional Service Award

Jane Ginopolis's extraordinary contributions to the Institute of Gerontology (IoG) led to her nomination for this award. She began working at the Institute in 1996, and IoG faculty members soon noticed major improvements in all aspects of unit management. Last year, when a plan was set in motion to merge the Institute with another unit, Ginopolis and other staff members were encouraged to find new positions elsewhere. However, at the eleventh hour, the merger was called off, and the Institute's future became uncertain. Although Ginopolis had begun working in her current position as the Administrative Manager in the Department of Geological Sciences, she volunteered to take on many important administrative tasks after hours and on weekends to keep the Institute operating during a difficult period that extended for nearly a year. In addition, just before Thanksgiving, Ginopolis worked with another IoG staff member to prepare the Institute's booth for the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, one of the principal means for the Institute to reach the larger gerontological community. Clearly, the Institute's success was important to her, and her efforts were appreciated. "Jane was competent, calm (and calming) and efficient," said one faculty member. Another said her "performance has been exemplary, her loyalty to the Institute remarkable, and her contributions to the IoG during a difficult period outstanding."

Thomas Zdeba has been involved since 1992 in negotiating all manner of research-related agreements with industrial sponsors as a Project Representative in the Division of Research Development and Administration (DRDA). During this period, Zdeba has elevated his involvement in this complex area of research administration, taking on such additional tasks as training new staff working in the industrial sponsor area without reducing any of his other duties. He also willingly assists faculty involved in technology transfer, applying his legal knowledge and scientific understanding to help in an area that is technically beyond the boundaries of DRDA. He has demonstrated a talent for working with industrial sponsors and finding ways to uphold University policies and principles while also trying to understand and accommodate the very different goals of businesses with an interest in University research outcomes. He also contributes his time and expertise to the community through his annual service as a judge in the Southeastern Michigan Science Fair. Zdeba is widely cited among both the faculty and research administrators as "knowledgeable and professional," willing to share his trade "secrets" of contract negotiations freely, and possessing "style, sense of humor and consistently positive attitude," even when the workload piles up.