Tammy Spencer of Poteau, Okla., assistant director of procurement and contracts, and Danielle Jolie of Fort Smith, director of academic services and academic coordinator in the College of Applied Science and Technology, were honored as outstanding employees during the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s annual staff meeting Sept. 26.
Spencer and Jolie received the Lucille Speakman Staff Awards, which recognize exemplary staff members at the university. For winning the awards, Spencer and Jolie will each receive a $2,500 monetary award. The award is named for the late Lucille Speakman, a longtime teacher, administrator and member of the Board of Trustees when UAFS was a two-year community college.
Spencer, who worked at UAFS from 1979-85 before returning to the school in 1990, has served in various roles throughout her tenure, including payroll officer, director of purchasing, budget officer, human resources administrative analyst, assistant to the director of plant operations and her current role as contracts manager.
“These varying positions were not always something she actively sought out,” said Rhonda Caton, director of procurement and travel, during remarks at the staff meeting. “A few times, she was approached by top administrators who recognized her talent and work ethic, and asked her to consider applying for those positions that she ultimately worked in.”
Caton went on to extoll her determination, work ethic, and personal qualities.
“She can be very gracious and professional but can be very firm and straightforward when necessary,” Caton said. “The words ‘soft-spoken’ and ‘demure’ are not words I would use to describe [her]. Her humorous sayings and anecdotes are known by people on and off campus.”
Jolie, who began working at UAFS in 2011, has also worked in a number of roles during her time here, including academic advisor, assistant director of career services, and career services coordinator.
Her knowledgeable perspective and passion for students were lauded by Dr. Micki Voelkel, associate dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology, who read her nomination letter.
“She lifts up our students and always champions what is best for them,” Voelkel said. “Her job performance is stellar, her work ethic is a model for others and she creates a team atmosphere even when others are not team players. Through her leadership, she is able to diffuse and solve situations and problems.”
“Most important is her ability to see opportunities in times of trouble, see the promise of the future, and promote what is right for the college and the university,” Voelkel added. “In my experience, this person has never failed to put students first, never failed to remind us of the student’s point of view when that’s important, and never fails to fight for what is best for the students.”
The University Staff Council, the organization at UAFS granting the awards, is comprised of all UAFS full- and part-time employees who are not deans, members of the faculty or members of the chancellor’s senior staff. Previous Lucille Speakman Excellence Award winners select the new recipients.