Staff member Cindy Morrison wins Award of ExcellenceCindy Morrison was at home recovering from the flu when she learned that she would be receiving a 2012 Western Award of Excellence. So her initial reaction can perhaps be chalked up to a lingering fever.
“My very first thought was ‘seriously? Why me?’” she laughed.
There were no such questions in the minds of Cindy’s nominators. Led by current FIMS Dean Thomas Carmichael, former Dean Catherine Ross, and Professor Carole Farber, the group had no difficulty in gathering a plethora of evidence supporting Morrison’s candidacy.
Wendie Crouch, FIMS Media Specialist, was one of the team members contributing to the nomination.
“I thought Cindy deserved to be considered for the Western Award of Excellence because she has such a commitment to the students in the various programs in FIMS and because the strengths she brings to the job are over and above what any job description could ask for,” said Crouch.
“People end up relating to her because she treats people as more than just workmates, she helps in any way she can. That is especially true about students – they often succeed because Cindy went a little further to helps them during good times and bad.”
Morrison, who is currently the Team Leader (Graduate Student Services) for FIMS, began working at Western in 1985. She started in HR Payroll Records, but shortly thereafter moved into a Clerk position with the library school. Over the following decades, the library school would morph and change several times, before finally becoming part of the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, as it is today. Morrison now supports five separate graduate programs.
“My workload has increased and evolved tremendously, but my current position still reflects a very small part of what I did as a Clerk 3 all those years ago,” said Morrison. “It has been a crazy ride and there has not been a minute of rest or regret. As crazy busy as it is here, I keep on enjoying what I do.”
Morrison, who was referred to at the awards ceremony by Catherine Ross as “the stealth weapon of FIMS’ graduate programs,” has had an opportunity to look through some of the nomination material that was submitted on her behalf. She explained that she found it a very moving experience.
“The kindness and caring in all of these letters not only brought back many fond memories, but they made me aware of how often you do things day to day without the intent of ever receiving any sort of recognition,” she said.
Crouch said that Morrison’s dedication to her day-to-day work is just one facet of why she’s a great co-worker. She also pointed to Morrison’s general openness, and willingness to engage personally with her colleagues as a reason why she’s so warmly regarded.
“She’s one of those put your money where your mouth is people. For example, we know she is committed to environmental causes and sustainability because she has started her own little composting program at FIMS,” said Crouch. “We know she loves gardening because she shares cuttings and clippings with other staff members just beginning their own gardening career. We also know she loves cats, and all animals, because she empathizes whenever a colleague loses a dear furry friend and celebrates new adoptions as well.”
Crouch added that Morrison’s example shows other employees that you get as much out of a job at Western as you put in. You may put in long hours to see something through, but the joy and pride you feel as a result of the accomplishment is its own reward.
Now Morrison has been formally recognized for that approach, as one of only seven employees across campus this year to be honoured with an Award of Excellence.
“I can’t think of anyone more modest or deserving,” said Crouch. “But having said that, I wasn’t surprised. She so deserves the award.”
See speeches from Catherine Ross and Cindy Morrison at the awards ceremony.