Blue Ribbon Winners, 2016

Has a UTC employee gone the extra mile to help you?

You can show your appreciation by nominating that person for the Blue Ribbon Award. A committee appointed by the chancellor will select monthly an award winner who exhibits outstanding service to others. Nominations should be specific in identifying incidents or situations that show the nominee has served his/her customers with special distinction.

If you have a nominee to be considered at an upcoming meeting, please e-mail your nomination to Melanie Sadler (, Human Resources Administrative Assistant, or mail to Dept. 3603.

All non-faculty staff (full or part-time) with at least one year’s regular service are eligible for the award. Any UTC faculty, staff, student, alumnus, or member of the community are invited to submit nominations.

Blue Ribbon Winners, 2016


Faith Garner, Administrative Specialist, Safety and Risk Management, is a true team player. She not only handles her job duties with grace and a smile, but is there for her colleagues as well. She’s also commended for her take-charge attitude as she manages new, large projects. And all of this while she pursues her Bachelor’s.

“Faith is reliable, dedicated, and always upbeat. Her patience is unparalleled,” explained Kellie Karaky, Administrative Assistant, Department of Public Safety.

Karaky continued, “Anyone who has worked with her can see Faith’s team player mind-set and enthusiastic embrace of change.”


Chris Howard, Associate Director, Network Engineering, Information Technology, was a key asset when it came time for the library’s relocation to the new building. He was constantly available for support (even responding to emails while on his honeymoon) and is still a vital partner to the new library as they’ve settled in.

“Christopher has been of significant help and frankly, the move to the new library would not have gone smoothly without his assistance,” said Theresa Liedtka, Dean, Library.

Liedtka continued, “His round the-clock availability is indicative of a tremendous work ethic and care for his university colleagues.”


Ethan Hereth, Research Associate, SimCenter, has taken on an increasingly demanding workload with additional responsibilities with the high-performance computing clusters at the SimCenter. He’s faced these new jobs with grace as he solved difficult hardware/software challenges and worked as an effective communicator in times of need.

“In my opinion, Ethan is fully deserving of a Blue Ribbon Award for special, exemplary performance going the extra mile as interim computer systems administrator for the SimCenter, in addition to his normal duties as research associate” explained Dr. Reinhold Mann, Interim Director, SimCenter.

Mann continued, “Thanks to Ethan’s extraordinarily effective work and dedication to the SimCenter program and to UTC, our computer systems are running in a stable and highly productive manner.”


Rebekah Caldwell, Accounting Specialist II, Accounting Services, goes out of her way to help everyone around her, and her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Even her patience and kindness while helping others is unrivaled.

“Even through Rebekah’s busiest days, when I call, she still always gives me all the time that I need to help answer my questions,” said Joanna Stephanos, Administrative Specialist, Chancellor’s Office.

“I cannot thank Rebekah enough for all her help, and demonstrating the best and the most sincere customer service,” Stephanos added.


Dr. Jay Blackman, Associate Athletics Director for Communications and Marketing, is a rockstar when it comes to balancing busy sports seasons. This past Spring as men’s and women’s basketball, indoor track, and wrestling were still going strong, a new season of softball, tennis, golf, and outdoor track were just getting started, Jay ensured every game and event was covered. If there were overlaps in schedules, he had someone trained and ready to cover the next event.

“Since his arrival at UTC in 2008, Jay has overhauled the Athletics Communications office in both organization and efficiency. He works countless hours to ensure all home events are professionally covered and that the information makes its way to media, fans, and staff in a timely manner,” said Anne Wehunt, Assistant Sports Information Director.

Wehunt continued, “What would be a day off for most is just another workday for Jay. Besides covering events, Jay’s duties include the day-to-day operations and budget needs of the Athletics Communications office. He serves on multiple committees for the university and athletics department and devotes time to his family.”


Madison Dell, Research Associate, Academic Affairs began her career at UTC as a student assistant. Her skills and dedication caught the attention of those around her and she was quickly promoted to administrative support assistant, then research specialist in a matter of a few years. Her hard work is still impressing others as she goes out of her way to help those around her.

Cindy Williams, Administrative Specialist II, said, “Madison is very observant and tries to make sure University business is done in a professional and timely manner.”

“She is very professional, kind, and definitely a great model for all admins. She is such a positive influence for UTC,” Williams added.


Bengt Carlson, Experiential Learning Coordinator, Walker Center for Teaching and Learning, was more than just a respectful host when two visiting faculty from Moi University in Kenya, Africa spent the spring semester on Campus with the Walker Center.

Mary Marr, Senior Instructional Developer, noticed just how hard Carlson worked to make sure the visiting faculty felt at home during their time here.

“[He] took the time to really get to know these gentlemen, inviting them on campus walking tours, visiting with them at downtown points of interest, and even inviting them to a friend’s cookout!” Marr said, “His ability to make them feel more welcome and more a part of our campus surely made their semester away from home more enjoyable and special.


Jewell Chason, Administrative Specialist, Department of Finance and Economics, is always willing to go above and beyond to help those around her. Irina Khmelko, UC Foundation Assistant Professor, is especially grateful for help over the past six years.

Over the years Chason has provided technical assistance in the classroom, helped with moves, and even assisted one time when birds were trying to nest in a classroom. “Her professionalism and excellent attitude have not only been very helpful in my work, but she has been a pleasure to work with,” said Khmelko.

“I believe staff members like her make our UTC into a ‘Students First’ University where faculty and staff work together to give the most to our students” Khmelko added.


Susan Cardwell, Assistant to the Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, is proactive, a team leader, and a prime example of servant leadership.

“In my time at UTC, Cardwell has been, by far, one of the kindest and most helpful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” explained John Freeze, Director, Continuing Education.

In many instances she’s rushed to the aid of Freeze and his Continuing Education colleagues when they host events in the EMCS.

“Because of her willingness to help (at a moment’s notice), her ability to solve problems effectively, her upbeat attitude, and her commitment to serving ALL of UTC’s students, she is a true asset to UTC” Freeze added.


Michelle Prince, Director, Auxiliary Services, recently took time out of her day to help a new student on Campus.

When Prince received a call from a particularly upset parent whose daughter was late to, and locked out of class because she was unable to find parking, Prince reached out to the student herself. After speaking with the student on the phone, she left her desk and went to find the emotional student on Campus. She showed the student around the University, pointing out areas where she could park, and eased some of the student’s anxieties about being new to UTC, Chattanooga, and a metropolitan area in general.

Tyler Forrest, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget and Financial Services, who saw the incident take place, said, “Parking is often a hot button issue on Campus. We frequently only hear negative things, but I thought this was an example in which Prince went above and beyond to serve our most important constituent group, the students. I witness her doing this all of the time, but this instance in particular stood out to me.”


Lindsay Hyden, Associate Director of Campus Recreation, and Allison Hughes, Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation, Campus Recreation, went above and beyond their job responsibilities to make the Chattanooga Heroes Run event happen with numerous hours of planning and preparation.

The University, in partnership with Erlanger Trauma Center, the City of Chattanooga, and Rock Creek, held the event to honor the Fallen Five and raise money for their families.

“This was a great partnership and collaboration with the community of Chattanooga to contribute to a great cause. Allisona and Lindsey donated their time, space, and resources to make this event happen. Their work and effort supports the University’s mission to inspire positive change and enrich our community,” said Caesar Wood, Executive Director of Campus Recreation and University Center.

The race raised $15,000 for the families who were affected by the tragedy on July 16, 2015, which would not have been possible without Lindsay and Allison’s contributions.


As a Student Success Specialist for Student Support Services, Christopher Stokes provides activities and services which contribute to the academic success of our students, but he tirelessly provides additional support beyond his assigned duties, always dedicated to putting students first.

Chris does whatever he can to make the UTC experience a positive one and goes out of his way to make sure students get the assistance they need. He has been there for them when they have had both academic and personal problems, even if it meant missing his lunch or working after hours and weekends. He celebrates their successes by attending every commencement ceremony.

He promotes the success of the students in the Black Males on Campus initiative by building partnerships with community leaders. This student group went from having the lowest retention and graduation rates to achieving the highest retention and graduation rates of any Student Support Services group.

Chris uses his wide knowledge of the community to identify resources to help students achieve their goals. He coached one pre-med student for three years to ensure his medical school application was exceptional. Chris also helped the student arrange a volunteer shadowing experience by connecting him with his own physician. That student graduated in May 2016 and was accepted into five medical schools.

New Tax Form for 2015 Tax Year

Between now and March 31, you will receive a new tax form, 1095-C, that contains important information about your 2015 health care coverage. You will receive the form if you were enrolled in health care coverage provided by the University at any point during 2015 or were considered eligible for coverage during 2015 under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

You should keep the form 1095-C for your records, although you do not need to have the form to file taxes.

If you and your family members participated in the University’s health insurance plan for the whole year, simply check a box on your tax return to indicate that you had qualifying health coverage and no further action will be required.

Contact the UT System Administration Payroll Office at (865) 974-5251 for questions about information on the 1095-C form. For information on how to report health care coverage on your tax return, visit or talk with your tax professional.

2015 Service Award Honorees

For the past 34 years staff and faculty have been celebrated for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Recipients will be honored at the Annual Service Awards Program with a luncheon on November 24 at 11:30 in the Tennessee Room of the University Center. View a list of the 2015 Service Award Honorees.

2016 Flexible Benefits enrollment ends October 15, 2015

Enrollment is online at You will need your personnel number, which is located underneath your name on your pay advice. Even if you participated in Flexible Benefits last year, you must enroll each year you wish to participate.

Flexible Benefits Plans permits the University to exclude, from both Federal Income and Social Security taxes, premiums paid by you for group medical insurance, dental insurance and amounts you contribute to a medical and/or dependent care reimbursement account. By enrolling in the Medical Reimbursement Plan or Dependent Care Reimbursement Plan or both plans, you can designate a fixed dollar amount to be set aside annually for dependent care and/or medical expenses. View a list of eligible medical and dependent care expenses. As expenses are incurred, the University reimburses you for those expenses. Payments can be made via the card provided or you can make the payments and request reimbursement from the funds in your account. Employees may enroll when first eligible or during the Flexible Benefit Enrollment period, with an effective date of January 1st. Keep in mind that if you enroll in the new CDHP (Consumer-Driven Health Plan) and choose an HSA (Health Savings Account) you cannot enroll in a full scope medial FSA (Flexible Savings Account) and your spouse cannot have a full scope FSA either.

Blue Ribbon Winners 2015

Has a UTC employee gone the extra mile to help you?

You can show your appreciation by nominating that person for the Blue Ribbon Award. A committee appointed by the chancellor will select monthly an award winner who exhibits outstanding service to others. Nominations should be specific in identifying incidents or situations that show the nominee has served his/her customers with special distinction.

If you have a nominee to be considered at an upcoming meeting, please e-mail your nomination to Melanie Sadler (, Human Resources Administrative Assistant, or mail to Dept. 3603.

All non-faculty staff (full or part-time) with at least one year’s regular service are eligible for the award. Any UTC faculty, staff, student, alumnus, or member of the community are invited to submit nominations.

Blue Ribbon Winners, 2015


Cindy Williams, Assistant to the Associate Provost, is known around campus for her friendliness and helpfulness. She has been especially helpful to new employee, Madison Dell, Administrative Support Assistant for the Department of Integrated Studies, as she learned about her duties in her new position.

“In the last few months, Cindy has helped me learn how to do travel, how to do a purchase requisition, how to reconcile a procurement card, how to read and interpret ledgers–the list goes on and on! No matter how busy her schedule is, she always makes time to help others,” Dell said.

Dell also praised Cindy for her work ethic.

“No matter how busy her schedule is, she always makes time to help others. At this point in the semester Cindy is very busy with checking through every syllabus for every class on campus for SACS. However, she volunteered to help Dr. Rutledge with a search committee (for the Vice Chancellor of Research/Dean of the Graduate School) despite her already full schedule,” Dell said. “She has done a terrific job with the search, with the syllabi, and with everything else on her plate (and she does it all with a smile)!”


As Director of Operations for Mocs Football, Carter Crutchfield made an impression on Dave Snyder, UTC Director of Sports Medicine. According to Snyder, Crutchfield had to think quick when a third bus didn’t show right before the team’s seven-plus hour trip to South Carolina.

“In the midst of this trouble, Carter kept his composure and treated everyone involved in a very kind and professional manner. He represented UTC, the athletic department, and his family very well. This is just one example of the types of problems that pop up and Carter handles them with honor and class,” Snyder said.

“He works tirelessly to help our football program run in an organized and efficient fashion. His is a job that is very difficult and comes with little appreciation. Having observed the program prior to Carter’s arrival and seeing how it is now there is no doubt that he has made a substantial impact,” Snyder continued.


Moving into the library was no easy feat, but Victor Howell, Assistant Director of Purchasing, went above and beyond to make sure everything was in its place before the new library’s doors were opened to campus.

“Victor, on more than one occasion, stayed late and prioritized new library purchases so they could be received and implemented prior to opening the new building,” explained Theresa Liedtka, Dean, Library.

Liedtka continued, “He ushered purchase orders and bids through the process, frequently reaching out personally to approve each in order to expedite the process.”

April – May

Warren “Cooter” Simpson, Craft Supervisor, and Jerry “JJ” Taylor, Sr Electrician, were crucial assets for the new library as unexpected technology and electrical problems occurred during relocation to the new building.

Theresa Liedtka, Dean, Library said, “They designed and securely installed ‘media hubs’ in the group rooms, a task that our contractors did poorly.”

“They also researched and installed new floor ports across the building when it was discovered that the ports installed would not work for UTC students,” Liedtka added. Warren “Cooter” Simpson earned the Blue Ribbon Award for April 2015 and Jerry “JJ” Taylor earned the Blue Ribbon Award for May 2015.


When Dr. Lyn Miles found herself in a bind while trying to prep an experiential learning exercise for her Anthropology class of 96 students, Mary Marr, Sr Instructional Designer, Walker Center for Teaching and Learning, took an hour out of her day to help Miles organize and prepare material, including over a thousand yards of cord and twine, for a class activity.

“I expect teaching help from Walker Center, but this went above and beyond normal duties–and at 5 P.M. no less, when we are all rushing to get home” Miles said.

Miles continued, “It’s this ‘going the extra mile’ that I try to instill in our students–and Mary is a shining example.”


Many times, the artists brought in by the Patten Performances require difficult and complicated specifications for their lighting and sound needs. Sam Fort, Media Production Coordinator, Fine Arts Center, handles these behind-the-scene demands with grace and patience.

“Most specifically, though, is Sam’s management of the extremely complicated and time consuming lighting hang for the Swiss mime artists Mummenschanz during the recent campus closing, then reopening, which reduced the time available to complete the work by almost 24 hours,” said Robert Boyer, Director, Patten Performances.

“Sam’s ability to overcome the time constraints due to campus closings and having the technical needs of the performance ready in time for the scheduled Tuesday evening performance went far beyond what would be expected of technical support personnel in the worst of circumstances,” Boyer concluded.


On numerous occasions, faculty have witnessed students personally thank Jessica Pierce, Academic Advisor, Health and Human Performance, for her help, noting Jessica as the reason they were able to graduate. She tackles dilemmas and recalls details “with humor and fierce passion.”

“When I am stumped on how to manage a student’s schedule, I know that I can email Jessica and within minutes, she will have an answer for me. I have never seen this kind of service or dedication in all of my years teaching and directing programs in higher education,” said Dr. Charlene Schmidt, Assistant Professor, Health and Human Performance.

“She truly cares and puts students first as the UTC motto directs. This is rare,” Schmidt added.


When the entire department of Political Science, Public Administration, and Nonprofit Management moved for Fletcher to Pfeiffer Hall, last summer had the potential to become chaotic and disruptive to the faculty’s work. But, Amy Oaks, Admin Support Asst III, handled the details of the move with a sense of professionalism, good humor, and precision that the entire department appreciated.

“Amy is an invaluable member of our team and it is good to know that once we discuss various problems and determine the proper course to a solution, I can trust her in implementing these decisions,” explained Dr. Michelle Deardorff, Professor and Department Head, Political Science, Public Administration, and Nonprofit Management.

“One of the things that stood out about Amy’s participation in our move to Pfeiffer was the way she maintained her good humor. Not only did she help keep everything as organized as possible, but she was always there to answer questions and offer information. Beyond this, she anticipated our needs in advance, and was always there to help, even with the manual labor of moving bookshelves around in my office!” said Dr. Jessica Auchter, Assistant Professor, Political Science.


Jean Walston, Preschool Assistant Teacher at the UTC Children’s Center, Battle Academy location, and ERC Representative, is a dedicated, humble person who has created a wonderful working relationship with those around her.

“Not only is she a great teacher of preschool children, she is a wonderful staff member and coworker,” said Jackie Tate, Administrative Specialist, UTC Children’s Center. “Whenever we have a celebration of any kind, she is the person who organizes it. When a staff member has a birthday, she will make a cake and bring it for them. She makes holiday goodies and distributes them to the Kitchen Staff at Battle Academy. She helps with our Summer Kick Off and our Scholastic Book Fair. Each of these events are a huge success because of her dedication and many hours of planning with staff and coordinating volunteers. I feel she really deserves the recognition for her many years of selfless giving to the staff, families, and children of UTC Children’s Center.”


Marion Perkins, Administrative Specialist in the Music Department, has been known for her friendliness, conscientious attention to details, and incredible patience since she began working at UTC in 2011.

Marion has always been willing to go the extra mile to help others, but this was particularly apparent early in 2015, when Administrative Assistant Nancy Leamon went on extended sick leave. Despite the fact that Spring is an especially busy time for the music department, Marion picked up whatever needed to be done in addition to her own demanding duties.

“It’s no easy matter to cover two positions, but Marion was organized enough to delegate duties in an efficient, professional, and caring manner. We are very fortunate to have Marion and should recognize her work in going above and beyond the call of duty,” said Dr. Lee Harris, Head of the Music Department.

“She is deeply involved with assisting every faculty member, every performing group, and every student that calls the music department home. She has been a kind co-worker who offered me counsel at every turn, and took me under her wing to make certain that I felt welcomed and appreciated. She is passionate in her work, and it truly is a privilege to call her a colleague. Marion Perkins is the glue that holds the Music Department together,” said Jordan Hicks, Administrative Assistant.


Gayle Barrett, Contract Coordinator, is a critical part of the programs that are a part of the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies (CHEPS). Almost every degree within CHEPS has field placement requirements, many of which involve multiple organizations or institutions. For every one of these, a contract is required.

“Gayle has been an integral component as she has ensured that the required paperwork has been submitted, reviewed, approved, and completed. Not only does she oversee the contract process while at work, it is not uncommon for her to spend her own time to assist faculty and staff in clarifying requirements, assuring that the correct signatures have been obtained, and shepherding all of the documents through the required steps from beginning to end. The service she provides is vital,” said Dr. Valerie Rutledge, Dean of CHEPS.

“Each program director, department head, faculty member, staff member, and student is positively impacted by her work ethic and her desire to make certain that everything is done professionally and promptly,” continued Dean Rutledge.

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