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Do-It-All Skills Earn Wells UMB Employee of the Month Award

Tara Wells is a bit of a multitasker.

In addition to the numerous and varied duties she performs as an administrative assistant II in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health (OSAH) at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Wells is trying to buy a home and working toward getting her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from University of Maryland University College.

The heavy load, however, hasn’t slowed her down or affected her job performance. In fact, she thrives in such an environment, which was evident when she was named the UMB Employee of the Month for September.

“I’m on Cloud 9,” Wells said after receiving praise from UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, a plaque, and word of a $250 bonus in her next paycheck. “I’m very, very honored. I’m beyond excited right now. I can’t stop smiling.”

Wells was instructed to report to the 14th floor of the Saratoga Building on Nov. 1 for a focus group with the UMB president. Perman did show up, but his mission was to put the group’s focus on Wells and to surprise her with the award. Attendees included School of Nursing Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN; associate professor and OSAH Chair Kathleen Michael, PhD, RN, CRRN; and OSAH administrator Wendy Bridges, who is Wells’ supervisor. All three beamed with pride as Perman spoke about Wells.

“People say that you always address every challenge and many requests that support and honor the students,” Perman said to Wells. “And I care very much about the students, because in the final analysis, that’s the reason we’re here. And I know you buy into that.

“I’m also told that you excel in performance, you go above and beyond what’s written in your job description, and you’re a team player. And if you know anything about me, teamwork is the thing that most excites me about what we do here. We do it together and we support each other.”

Wells, who joined the School of Nursing in 2012, plays her supporting role well, with tasks that include scheduling for the department chair, making sure nurses’ conference registrations are paid, keeping track of supplies for faculty and staff, maintaining a spreadsheet of faculty leave requests, creating and formatting certificates for preceptors, collecting timesheets from teaching assistants, and even planning parties.

“For the most part, that’s my title — I assist. So anything anybody needs, I assist them,” Wells said. “For instance, we’re having a party today, so I had to plan that, getting the food and other items, and that’s not an easy task. So I do a lot of everything.”

Like a Jack of all trades, she was asked. Wells responded with a laugh, saying, “Actually, I’d call it a Jacquelyn of all trades.”

Two traits of Wells’ trade are professionalism and patience, which were on display recently when a School of Nursing graduate was in California and struggling to get the proper paperwork needed to gain approval for an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse license. Wells said she was supposed to go home early that day but stayed late instead, juggling phone calls, emails, and faxes for more than two hours until the issue was resolved.

“It seemed like it was urgent, and I always put myself in other people’s shoes. If I really needed something, I would want someone to stop and help me. And I did,” she said. “I didn’t mind staying late. I’m just glad he got what he needed, and he emailed me to thank me. And that makes me feel good.

“I’m a people person, so I love to be interacting, and that’s why I took to the field of communications [for her studies],” added Wells, who said her future goals include becoming the executive producer of her own talk show. “I don’t like to be isolated in my job. And this job helps me to be in communication with people all day, every day.”

Asked what she likes best about her job, Wells said she loves the students, the staff, and especially her bosses.

Kirschling said the feeling is mutual.

“We have amazing staff, and Tara is one of our stars,” the School of Nursing dean said. “We’re just so grateful for all that she does, and I’m so proud of her.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou Cortina People, UMB News, University LifeNovember 7, 20170 comments
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Party in the Park

Advice for the UMB Class of 2017

At commencement on May 19, UMB students will be joined by an impressive platform party, many of whom will receive honorary degrees or serve as honorary marshals. We asked them “If there was one piece of advice you could give the Class of 2017 at Royal Farms Arena on May 19, what would it be?” Here are some of their responses.

Ellen M. Heller, JD
Retired Judge
Honorary Doctor of Laws

Students of the Class of 2017, you are entering a world in transition. Civil wars divide countries, millions of refugees are fleeing persecution and violence, economies and job opportunities are changing, and the earth is facing calamitous changes because of environmental effects caused by man. In the United States, we are divided by race, ethnicity, income, and political ideology. You may not be able to change the world. But it is imperative that you use the education and professional skills you have obtained to improve the quality of life for others. With the superb education you have received, coupled with compassion and empathy, you can encourage justice and create better lives for others.”

Patricia Langenberg, PhD
Professor Emerita
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
School of Medicine
Honorary University Marshal

“You’re graduating with a brand new credential — it is very easy for you to feel like an impostor, that you managed to fool your teachers and maybe even other students. Of course you still have much to learn, and you will learn much beyond what you learned here. But you are leaving a first-class institution with a broad fistful of knowledge and tools. The world needs those and needs you! Good luck!”

Gary D. Plotnick, MD
Professor Emeritus
Department of Medicine
School of Medicine
Honorary Student Marshal

“As you move on into the world and make your contribution to society, don’t forget your compassion, the joy of learning, and your family and friends. Remember to treat all people with the respect, the compassion, and the dignity they deserve.”

Leslie B. Glickman, PT, PhD
Adjunct Faculty
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
School of Medicine
Honorary Faculty Marshal

“Never say no to a challenging opportunity. Look outside the box. Be thankful for what you have and share it with others.”

Faiza Hasan
Francis King Carey School of Law
Student Remarker

“Have hope and love. Today love for one another is needed more than ever, as is hope for a better tomorrow.”

Chris Zang Education, People, UMB News, USGAMay 8, 20170 comments
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President's Message April

April President’s Message

Check out the April issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Neighborhood Spring Festival, a story on the generous gift of Drs. Richard and Jane Sherman, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10, a recap of Frank Bruni’s and Goldie Blumenstyk’s lectures, part of our President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to the next lecture in that series, Matt Hourihan on the federal budget on May 2, a story on our CURE Scholars, who advanced in the Maryland Science Olympiad, a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, and a safety tip on not texting and driving.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 10, 20170 comments
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