Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne with this year's General Staff Award winner, Anatomy's Sally-Ann Howard. Photo: Sharron Bennett.
Department of Anatomy Administrator Sally-Ann Howard has won this year's University of Otago General Staff Award – the second award she has received this year recognising the competence, hard work and warmth she brings to her role.
Ms Howard received the General Staff Award at a ceremony at the Clocktower yesterday, while in May she won a Dunedin North Rotary Club's Pride of Workmanship Award.
She says she is “delighted, honoured and really humbled” to win.
"Sally-Ann rocks! The Department of Anatomy's warm and popular identity both within and outside of the University has been crafted in many ways by her tireless and outstanding efforts."
“There are many staff who provide excellent support to the activities of the University - it can be a little overwhelming to be singled out.”
While she herself is surprised and modest about her win, those in the Department of Anatomy are less so.
One of her nominators, Associate Professor Christine Jasoni sums up her opinion of Ms Howard.
“Sally-Ann rocks! The Department of Anatomy's warm and popular identity both within and outside of the University has been crafted in many ways by her tireless and outstanding efforts.”
Head of Department Professor Neil Gemmell agrees: “In short, Sally-Ann is a veritable font of knowledge about all things to do with our Department. She genuinely cares about the wellbeing of the Department and seeks the best outcomes for staff, students and the Department at all times. Add to this that she is a lovely person and seemingly has endless patience and an astonishing work ethic and you have pretty close to the perfect employee and colleague.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne warmly congratulates Ms Howard on her win.
“Otago takes great pride in the outstanding performance of our general staff. Sally-Ann is a great example of a staff member who has routinely gone the extra mile to provide a high level of support to her Department.”
"If you don't have this sort of support it can be difficult to achieve in your job and probably impossible to be recognised for what you do."
Ms Howard has been in this role for over 20 years, looking after the administration in the Department of Anatomy and supporting the Head of Department with his administrative tasks.
“My role has changed enormously since I started due to the size and activity of the Department and the changes in University administration procedures (eVision presently leaps to mind). I am primarily involved in overseeing Human Resources in the Department, assisting the HOD with his administrative roles and supporting my team in their roles providing administrative support to our teaching and research activities.”
She says she was shocked when Professor Gemmell handed her the letter announcing her win.
“Having just got over receiving the Pride of Workmanship Award it seemed a little surreal.”
And she says receiving two awards in one year has made her “a little philosophical” and reflect on how much of what she has achieved is due to things beyond her control.
“Things like the opportunities I had growing up, having people around me who modelled a sound work ethic, my first HOD (Professor Gareth Jones) who had the wonderful foresight to appoint me(!), the HODs I have worked with who have provided opportunities and encouraged me to grow in my role and colleagues who challenge and inspire by what they do and achieve.
“If you don't have this sort of support it can be difficult to achieve in your job and probably impossible to be recognised for what you do.”
About the General Staff Award
The purpose of the General Staff Award for Exceptional Performance was created in 2004 to recognise and reward members of the general staff who have made an outstanding contribution to the University of Otago. Last year it went to Mark Brunton, Research Manager Māori in the University's Office of Māori Development, while in 2013 it went to Helen Morrin of the Christchurch campus' Department of Pathology.