2023 President Award Honorees
The President’s Awards for Staff Employees of the Year and the Team Achievement Award provide the opportunity for employees to be recognized for outstanding service and significant contributions to the campus community in the categories of Student Success, Inclusive Excellence, Leadership, Innovation, and Team Achievement.
Employee of the Year for Inclusive Excellence
The Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes an employee who had made a significant contribution in fostering an inclusive culture of respect, collegiality, and civility. The employee aligned actions and decisions with the University’s core value of diversity.
Student Accounting Services, Division of Administration & Finance
The 2023 honoree is Sovandany “Dany” Wang, Account Specialist in Student Accounting Services.
Although Dany’s work could be described as “behind-the-scenes,” it has a noticeable impact on the day-to-day lives of some of our most vulnerable students.
Dany thrives in being the middleman for students, networking with departments on campus, like the Bob Murphy Access Center, to assist in smoothing out the billing process for students. Also, in this role, Dany has loved working with VA students, giving them the peace of mind to know she will handle their VA benefits while she reassures them to focus on their education. She took helping VA students very personally as her brother served in the military.
Colleagues say that Dany is undaunted by even the most challenging situations and is an outstanding communicator and collaborator who is always striving to provide exceptional service to our students. She remains poised and compassionate, even when dealing with tough subjects like past-due balances, and she isn’t afraid to have difficult conversations, especially when they will lead to an improved process and a better student experience.
Employee of the Year for Innovation
The Innovation Award recognizes an employee who had made a significant contribution in providing innovation in the delivery of services to the campus community, such as students, faculty, or staff. The employee aligned actions and decisions with the University's core values of excellence, integrity, service, creativity and innovation.
College of Liberal Arts Administration, Division of Academic Affairs
The 2023 honoree is Julie Ortiz, who serves as Curriculum & Personnel Manager in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA).
Julie played a crucial role in implementing the university’s new scholarship-awarding process in the largest college, a task that required close collaboration with some 30 department scholarship committees and many individual faculty members.
She worked tirelessly and creatively, over the course of several scholarship cycles, to provide effective training and offer patient, persistent encouragement, resulting in significant increases in both the number of students receiving awards and the amounts awarded.
Notably, in 2022 CLA awarded 126 scholarships, totaling more than $168,00. And the mean scholarship amount is now $1,000, compared to $100 or $200, which had been the previous norm.
Employee of the Year for Leadership
The Leadership Award recognizes an employee who had made a significant contribution in providing quality leadership in the delivery of services to the campus community, such as students, faculty, or staff. The employee aligned actions and decisions with the University's core values of excellence, integrity, and service.
ATLAS Advising Center, Division of Academic Affairs
The 2022 honoree is Tanisha Peoples, who has served as director of the College of Liberal Arts Advising Center, also known as “ATLAS,” since 2014.
Terie Bostic, CLA’s administrative and business manager, says that “meeting challenges is the hallmark” of Tanisha’s leadership style, and that quality was very much in evidence during the pandemic, when Tanisha and her team revamped the ATLAS web site to create an attractive, engaging, and easy-to-navigate online-information source for CLA students.
In fact, Tanisha’s influence goes beyond The Beach. Because she is always leading by example, training, and promoting her staff, the center serves as a model for other campus advising centers, and her staff are groomed to qualify for further promotional leadership positions on other campuses.
So, Tanisha is not only contributing to the advancement of CLA and its students — she is also helping staff members fulfill their potential and helping strengthen the advising profession as a whole.
Employee of the Year for Student Success
The Student Success Award recognizes an employee who had made a significant contribution in support of CSULB’s core mission of providing excellent, highly-valued educational opportunities. The employee aligned actions and decisions with the University's core value of educational opportunity.
Nursing, Division of Academic Affairs
The 2023 honoree is Anitha Johnson, Instructional Support Technician in the School of Nursing.
In addition to overseeing the school’s computer-loan program and ensuring that its learning center, skills labs, and simulation rooms are all well-equipped and -maintained, Anitha is the point person for Nursing faculty who encounter technology challenges.
Her expertise and can-do attitude were put to good use last summer when she worked with IT to equip classrooms with Hyflex technology and then to prepare faculty to use the new technology.
Anitha is described as quick to anticipate future challenges, to recognize and resolve safety issues, and to lend a hand to colleagues. Kind, cheerful, and supportive, she is a much-admired and appreciated member of the School of Nursing team.
Team Achievement Award
The Team Achievement Award recognizes a team of staff members who collaborated on a project, process, or other significant initiative to achieve distinctive results/solutions which positively impacted University operations, improve productivity, and/or reduce costs, and benefited a major sector of the University. The team aligned actions and decisions with the University's core values of excellence, integrity, service, creativity, innovation and educational opportunity.
Basic Needs Team
The 2023 honoree is the Basic Needs team, which has responded to simultaneous crises affecting CSULB students — including COVID, the recession, and affordable housing — with care, creativity, and compassion.
The team expanded its outreach efforts, collaborated with a multitude of new partners, developed new programs, cut through red tape, and addressed gaps in support — always with an eye toward creating an equitable and welcoming environment for our diverse student body.
As a result, more than $285,000 in emergency aid made its way to students last fall, the wait time for emergency funds was cut in half — and the list goes on and on.
Thanks to these innovative, equity-focused interventions, many more students now have easier access to both existing and new resources that will help assure their safety and well-being, enhance their sense of belonging on campus, and make it possible for them to remain on the path to graduation.