Brown and True named TTU 2007 Outstanding Staff award winners

Two Tennessee Tech University employees, each with more than a decade of service to the university, recently received recognition for their skills, attitude and dedication.

As the recipients of the 2007 Outstanding Staff Awards, Carolyn Brown, secretary in TTU's Honors Program, and Charlene True, technical clerk in TTU's University Advancement Office, received praise from colleagues, supervisors and students.

The Outstanding Staff Awards program was established in 1989 to show appreciation to TTU's most outstanding clerical and support staff. Awards are based on job performance, attitude toward work and the university, attendance and perseverance, professional development and suggestions for improvement.

Carolyn Brown

Brown supports the best and brightest TTU students in the Honors Program by monitoring their efforts from their first course through graduation. She keeps up with more than 500 students who are at various stages of earning honors credits.

Brown, who holds the Certified Professional Secretary designation, joined the Honors Program in 2005, after serving as secretary in the mechanical engineering department for 10 years.

"She is the center of the day-to-day flurry of activities that support what our young scholars do," said Rita Barnes, interim director of the Honors Program. "She is committed to making their academic and extracurricular experience meaningful."

Barnes credits Brown with improving the early registration course permit sign-up process, which reduced confusion and traffic in the office. She also developed a database for monitoring students from their candidacy to graduation. That means maintaining about 800 student records to determine an individual's progress in honor studies.

"Ms. Brown's excellent attitude and genuine care for the honors students has prompted many of them to call her "Ms. Carolyn," said student James White. "She never fails to take an interest in their lives."

Brown commits herself to leveraging emerging technologies and shares her skill and continuing education with students.

"What I experience in Carolyn is a person who truly loves her job and, therefore, dedicates herself to it," said Michael Clark, interim associate director of Honors.

Brown is a rare two-time Outstanding Staff Award winner; she also won in 2000 while serving TTU's mechanical engineering department.

Charlene True

Working in the Gifts/Records and Stewardship Offices, True holds a position where a small mistake could have severe negative implications. Virtually every gift or pledge to the university crosses her desk.

"Fortunately, Charlene takes great pride in her work to keep costly and embarrassing mistakes non-existent," said John Smith, associate director of Advancement Services. "She is prompt, detailed, accurate, and honest."

True streamlined the gift entry process, allowing her to enter more than 200 gifts in one day. She was instrumental during the conversion to a new fund raising information system two years ago.

'Her attitude is refreshing and contagious," said Smith. "She is someone whose positive attitude exemplifies what it means to see the glass as half full."

In her 10 years as technical financial clerk, she has consistently pursued additional training, earning the Certified Professional Secretary designation, attending customer service and supervisor seminars, and taking TTU courses.

Research associate Lora Cowan says the whole team depends on True's excellent documentation, memory and knowledge.

"I have been able to turn to Charlene several times with questions not only specific to her job, but also about general and historic information," said Cowan.

Tiff Rector, director of Planned Giving, says he believes that humbleness is one of True's greatest traits.

"She is quick to share praise with her colleagues, believing she is only one member of the team," said Rector. "That epitomizes what this award is all about -- the celebration of participation in the TTU team."

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