2011 COSA Recipients

2011 COSA Recipients

Individual Recipients

  • Barney Bailey
  • Dara Birnbaum
  • Akirah Bradley
  • Jennifer Chizuk
  • Lori Cripps
  • Carrie Donovan
  • John Fiorillo
  • Jerilyn Foushee
  • Merle Hancock
  • Heidi Hoffman
  • Sheila Humphreys
  • Wendy Hussey
  • Kimberly Johnson
  • Frances Katsuura
  • Alice Kubler
  • Grace Leach
  • Mabel Lee
  • Staci Markos
  • Kati Markowitz
  • Richard Moe
  • Michael Morgan
  • Sharron O'Connor
  • Carissa Orwig
  • Trish Ratto
  • Jeff Rhode
  • Soukern “David” Saephan
  • Margaret St. John
  • Katalin Voros

Team Recipients

  • Operational Excellence Shared Services Design Team
    • Yau-Man Chan
    • James Dudek
    • Steve Garber
    • Barbara Lane
    • Claudia Lopez
    • Amy Robinson
    • Joan Shao
    • Cynthia Weekley
    • Jane Fink
    • Andrea Sohn
    • Sharon Page-Medrich
  • Caltopia
    • Joe Watz
    • Mike Weinberger
  • Data Security Review
    • John Ives
    • Kate Riley
    • Paul Rivers
    • Ryan Means
  • Student Affairs Strategic Management and Administrative Resource Transition Initiative
    • Jodie Rouse
    • Steve McCabe
    • Lance Page
    • Susan Roach
    • Flori Ramos
    • Eddie Bankston
    • Joan Shao
    • Bob Flaharty


Barney Bailey For 37 years, exhibition designer Barney Bailey has been working behind the scenes at the Berkeley Art Museum, making sure each artwork on display is shown off to its best advantage. His unique combination of aesthetic acumen and resourcefulness enables the museum to present stunning exhibitions on a very tight budget. His ingenious reuse of materials not only saves money but supports the university’s commitment to sustainability. His work has helped the museum garner numerous accolades: for example, the 2007 Bruce Nauman exhibit that was recognized by Artforum magazine as one of the year’s best, and by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the ten most significant Bay Area exhibitions in the last decade. Recognized as an innovator in his field, Barney plays a key role in making our university’s art museum a world-class institution.

Dara Birnbaum As the Community Liaison between the university and the City of Albany, Dara Birnbaum has made great strides in improving town-gown relations with our neighbor to the north. Her innovative thinking and sensitive understanding of the Albany community have resulted in positive outcomes for the city and the school district. Projects she has initiated and seen through to completion include finding new facilities for the Albany Children’s Center and bringing a Headstart program to University Village. Most notably, she was able to organize a complicated real estate swap that resulted in significant enhancements for all stakeholders. Dara’s excellent working relationships with campus colleagues, elected officials, and community members make her an outstanding representative of the university in our community.

Akirah Bradley With her passion for diversity, inclusion, and social justice, Akirah Bradley is a shining example of a student affairs professional who motivates others by leading with empathy and integrity. In the three short years that she has been at Cal, she has amazed those around her by her tireless work to increase the diversity of the students who are hired in the Office of Student Development. She volunteers her time to many diversity-related campus committees, shares her personal story, and provides mentorship to countless students even though she is not formally employed as an advisor. She created the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program, a mentorship program that provides guidance to underrepresented Berkeley students interesting in pursuing a career in higher education, and was recently honored with the Outstanding New Professional Award from the California College Personnel Association.

Jennifer Chizuk “Question The Status Quo,” “Confidence Without Attitude,” “Students Always,” and “Beyond Yourself”: these are the four defining principles of the Haas School of Business. As the Chief Administrative Officer and “morale manager” for Haas, Jennifer Chizuk led the school in creating these principles and embedding them in all of the school’s business processes. In addition to this transformational work in her own unit, Jennifer has demonstrated campus-wide leadership through her involvement with the Chief Administrative Officers planning group, the system-wide Professional Degree Fee Working Group, the new Privacy Forum Development committee, the search committee for the Audit and Advisory Services Associate Director, and the OE Finance Initiative. Following the Haas principles, Jennifer has truly gone “beyond herself” in her service to the university.

Lori Cripps We are all well-aware of the dramatic impact the current recession has had on our university’s budget. The ninety million dollars that came to campus by way of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has been a boon to the university during a time of desperate need. However, this money came with reporting requirements the likes of which the university had never seen. As the Director of Extramural Funds Accounting, Lori Cripps took the primary leadership role in bringing together the talents and services of numerous campus groups to design an electronic portal through which ARRA reporting information could be easily submitted by campus units, verified by EFA, and submitted to the federal reporting site in a timely fashion. Her willingness to take on this project and put in many extra hours helped us manage this enormous reporting requirement and keep our ARRA funding, which in turn has allowed us to save and even create jobs on campus.

Carrie Donovan Service is a vital part of our university’s mission. Carrie Donovan has shown great leadership in increasing the ways that Cal students can serve local youth. As the K-12 Programs Manager for the Cal Corps Public Service Center, she has improved training for student literacy tutors, partnered with the Graduate School of Education, and secured grants to fund improvements to program accessibility and assessment. In response to the decreased availability of arts education in schools, she developed the CREATE program, which helps student- artists contribute their skills in visual arts, dance, theater, and filmmaking. She also developed the annual Education Summit, where the hundreds of Cal students who volunteer in local schools and afterschool programs can build the knowledge and skills they need to provide meaningful service.

John Fiorillo Communications Specialist John Fiorillo set out to add some historic background to the School of Optometry website—and ended up singlehandedly producing a 768-page book. Nearly four years in the making, John’s book is a scholarly and candid account of more than nine decades of optometry and vision science at Berkeley. John’s chronicle presents, in lively and extensive detail, key events that have made Berkeley’s School of Optometry the premiere institution of its kind. Despite having had no previous experience as a historian, archivist, or author, John reinvented himself as each, completing a remarkable project that is of great value to Optometry students, alumni, faculty, and staff. The book has been recognized as “one of the most comprehensive, and entertaining, histories of a modern health science program assembled to date.”

Jerilyn Foushee For Jeri Foushee, the exceptional is routine. As budget officer for the Division of Arts and Humanities, she has worked tirelessly, not just to cope with budget challenges but to analyze their root causes and propose innovative solutions. Her work on grant proposals has resulted in gifts of six million dollars for graduate fellowships; 2.3 million dollars for postdoctoral fellows; and 2.5 million dollars for research support for associate professors. Dean Janet Broughton says, “I am constantly amazed by Jeri’s ability to make our limited resources stretch. She has created and implemented transformative new processes, brilliantly managed limited resources, and undertaken vital planning with care and imagination. In every aspect of her work, she has been a patient teacher, encouraging colleague, and morale-building communicator.”

Merle Hancock, an administrative officer at the Goldman School of Public Policy, is a terrific example of someone who consistently goes “above and beyond” in her commitment to excellence. Recently, her careful financial sleuthing uncovered a major accounting error that would have had a significant negative financial impact not only on the school, but on other units across campus. She not only does her own job with great care, but reaches out to help others. When BFS 9 rolled out, many on the procurement staff felt lost and angry. Merle took on an active mentorship role. She was so effective that one staff member went from threatening to quit to offering to help others with reimbursement requests. Currently, Merle is serving as a Local Implementation Manager for the new Cal Planning budgeting tool being rolled out as part of the OE initiative. She has emerged as a leader in her department, as well as across campus.

Heidi Hoffman is serving as manager of the Procurement Initiative Team within Operational Excellence. In this position, she helped recruit volunteers from across the campus, organized them into working groups, assisted in the analysis of current business practices in all aspects of procurement, and supported the team as they crafted their recommendations. At the same time that she was playing a key role in this project that will affect almost every person on campus, she was also busy at her “day job” as Director of Operations and Administration in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, where she was asked to lead the merger of administrative staff in MCB and Integrative Biology as part of the Organizational Simplification initiative. In responses to each of these challenges, Heidi has demonstrated her mature judgment, creative thinking, sensitivity, and deft leadership skills.

Dr. Sheila Humphreys has been a consistently supportive voice for women and underrepresented minorities for nearly 30 years, not only in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences but across the campus and the nation. She has worked tirelessly to recruit and retain under-represented students, and to enrich the learning experience of all EECS students through company internships, undergraduate research experiences, and workshops and seminars. Her nominators avow that she serves as a mentor to virtually every woman and minority student in EECS—and encourages others to serve as mentors as well. Due in part to her diligent efforts, the number of female students entering the EECS graduate program doubled in 2010. On the campus level, Dr. Humphreys played a significant role in creating the policy that allows graduate students who have children extra semesters to meet degree requirements.

Wendy Hussey contributes to her community in the School of Public Health in a number of ways. In her role as Assistant Director of the Maternal and Child Health Program, she has increased program funding, established a standardized system to ensure that all students received consistent support, and worked with program faculty to develop an innovative leadership course. She establishes one-on-one relationships with every student in the program and is always available to them. In addition, Wendy has served for years on the School’s Staff Advisory Committee and was recently elected chair. Whether she is organizing monthly brown bag meetings, bringing in homemade cookies to share, or passing out “It Gets Better” buttons to promote a welcoming, supportive environment for LGBT students, Wendy is always finding ways to make the School a more cohesive community.

Assistant Dean Kimberly Johnson is recognized across campus for her leadership, cooperative working style, and ability to build bridges between the College of Natural Resources and other campus units. Recently, Kimberly was the lead facilitator for the centralization of undergraduate advising at the College. As a result, highly successful new programs, policies and trainings have been implemented. Kimberly empowers her staff to take on leadership roles and join project teams in pursuit of continuous program improvement. With a focus on inclusion, Kimberly makes extra efforts to reach out to high schools in underrepresented communities to promote the College of Natural Resources, and works closely with units across campus to broaden student awareness of the College. Kimberly combines the best in managerial excellence with an inspiring and enthusiastic work style that helps both staff and students reach their potential.

Frances Katsuura was hired as the Director of Administration in the Psychology Department at a particularly critical juncture four years ago. Since then she has led the department through a series of highly successful transitions involving streamlining operations, developing highly effective work teams, upgrading technical capabilities, and instituting an energized, professional work environment. She is a model for open and transparent management that fosters positive work relationships. Through a period of painful budget cuts she maintained an outgoing, progressive, and enthusiastic approach that combined the maintenance of longstanding, meaningful departmental traditions with a trailblazing focus on innovation that will support a successful, sustainable future. Innovative, sensitive, kind and inspiring – she has made a lasting imprint on the Psychology Department in a relatively short time.

Alice Kubler Overseeing budgets in these times is no easy endeavor. As Chief Financial Officer for the Haas School of Business, Alice Kubler has not only persevered but achieved outstanding success. During her tenure at Haas, Alice’s stewardship has led to the creation of a new budget system, a new long-range financial forecasting tool, and the regular attainment of aggressive financial recovery goals, saving the college a million and a half dollars over the last three years. Three years ago Alice took on the additional role of overseeing space use at Haas, including the creation of a master space plan and the construction of a new state-of-the-art classroom, completed in six months and under budget. Alice is known as a leader who inspires others to achieve well beyond expectations, both at Haas and as a mentor to many campus employees.

Grace Leach Financial Analyst Grace Leach’s thirty-five year tenure at UC Berkeley has been marked by her ability to not only ride out operational challenges but emerge as a key contributor to the success of the campus and its staff. Grace is known for the care with which she attends to every detail and the extra time she takes with both staff and students in matters large and small. In 2009 and 2010, the Department of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies saw the departures of its Management Services Officer, Student Affairs Officer, and Front Office Manager. Grace stepped in to keep the department operating smoothly. Grace’s response was immediate – she was able to make the lives of those in the department easier through these difficult transitions, even if the tasks at hand lay outside her regular responsibilities. Working hard and staying calm in the midst of tough circumstances, continually going above and beyond what is expected – that is Grace Leach.

Mabel Lee Student Affairs Officer Mabel Lee’s nomination for a COSA arrived with the signatures of thirty-eight graduate students in the History Department who joined forces to submit it. They wrote: “I would not have a PhD if it were not for Mabel Lee.” and “It is a running joke between my husband and me. When we run into trouble we say ‘Ask Mabel.’” and“When I needed emergency access to my locker and did not have the combination Mabel reached down behind her desk and produced a heavy-duty lock cutter.” Mabel guides students through complex bureaucratic and academic challenges on a regular basis. Since 2007 she has expertly managed a five-year fellowship program, leveraging department resources and matching students with appropriate opportunities in specialized fields – meticulous work that is above and beyond her normal responsibilities. Mabel’s extraordinary commitment has been essential to students’ academic success and career advancement.

Staci Markos Administrative Officer Staci Markos coordinates development efforts for the University and Jepson Herbarium. Recently she oversaw the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the department’s history. In a time of severe budget constraints and a challenging economy, Staci’s efforts allowed the department to initiate new research in the area of solar energy and endangered desert flora. Undeterred by her already significant responsibilities or her part-time schedule, Staci also volunteered to manage the production of the new Jepson Manual, a fully revised account of the more than eighty-three hundred native and naturalized plants that is the primary authoritative reference on California plant diversity and a major public service provided by the Berkeley Natural History Museums. Staci is to be acknowledged for rising to each new challenge with professionalism and poise.

Kati Markowitz Doctoral students are often far from home, pursuing elusive results, struggling with their dissertations, chasing grants and juggling multiple responsibilities. But with Kati Markowitz on their side, life is little bit easier. A combination of coordinator, motivator, cheerleader and champion, Kati cultivates a sense of community at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute through her role as graduate program coordinator. Student after student recounted how Kati was willing to drop everything to be there for them when they needed help. There are too many quotes to repeat, so I’ll leave you with just one: “Kati has expressed time and again, in words and actions, her desire to make our lives easier so that we might be happier human beings, best able to take advantage of the incredible knowledge and resources available at UC Berkeley.”

Dr. Richard Moe The University and Jepson Herbaria contain over 2.2 million plant specimens, representing the largest collection of herbarium material at a public university in the U.S. This collection is an irreplaceable physical record of biodiversity utilized by researchers throughout the world. While the physical doors of the Herbaria are only open Monday through Friday, Dr. Richard Moe’s work to bring these collections online provides access to the collection from throughout the world, 24 hours a day. As Manager of Collections Data, Dr. Moe developed the IT infrastructure for the Consortium of California Herbaria, a database of collection records from 17 institutions state-wide containing over a million records and counting. His skills in electronic data management also helped bring The Jepson Manual, the authoritative reference for California plants, to the web. All the while pursuing his own research on California marine lichens.

Michael Morgan uses his role as a buyer for RSSP as a platform for expressing his commitment to our university. He proactively seeks out vendors who will provide the best products at the best price, so that his customers’ needs are met and cost savings are realized. Michael has worked creatively to support campus sustainability efforts. When a student group wanted to reduce energy consumption in the residence halls, he convinced PG&E to donate over 4,000 compact florescent bulbs. He found a company to take campus lawn and garden waste for compost, a cooking oil recycler for Cal Dining, and a less expensive waste removal company with an aggressive reuse/recycle component. Now he is bringing that same creativity to his work on a sub-team of the OE Procurement Initiative.

Sharron O'Connor Transfer students with part-time jobs….students returning to school after years in the work force….student-parents juggling family, work, and study. These students don’t often have the time to make it to the Career Center, so Sharron O’Conner brings the Career Center to them. She has developed classes including one called “Culminating the Cal Experience” for re-entry students, “Once Upon a University” and “Beyond the Village” for student parents, and a section of “An Intro to University Life from a Multicultural Perspective” focusing on first-generation college and first-generation immigrant backgrounds. She has also designed programs for Cal veterans and the Cal Independent Scholars Network, a group of orphaned or former foster youth. These populations bring unique and diverse perspectives to our campus community. Through her responsive and inclusive efforts, Sharron is helping them bring those perspectives to the world after Cal.

Carissa Orwig, a program coordinator for the Chemical Biology Graduate Program, is someone who consistently goes beyond the scope of her job to improve student services and diversity across the campus. Carissa created an innovative diversity recruitment program recognized by the NIH to improve diversity recruitment in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. She has worked to coordinate with other STEM programs on campus to help focus diversity recruitment, creating a model for future cooperative efforts. As Co-Chair of the recently formed Advising Network Council, she has brought together campus advisors for trainings and discussions on the changing demographics in the undergraduate population. Through her work on the Operational Excellence Student Services Team, she’s created opportunities for advisors to provide input on the future of student services.

Trish Ratto Thanks to Trish Ratto, manager of the Health Matters Program in University Health Services, UC Berkeley is considered a leader in workplace health promotion within the UC system. Trish not only works tirelessly to improve awareness of available resources that all staff can use to improve their health at work; she has identified areas where the risk of employee injury is high for targeted promotion of health programs, generating up to half a million dollars in cost-savings. Trish’s efforts have garnered statewide recognition: UC Berkeley received the “California Fit Business Award” and kudos for our “Eat Well Berkeley” initiative from the State of California. As all of us struggle to stay healthy while working hard, we are grateful for Trish’s commitment to workplace wellness.

Jeff Rhode As Senior Director of the Regional Development Program in University Relations, Jeff Rhode has achieving outstanding results despite budget cuts, turnover, and a recession. Under his leadership, the Regional Development Program achieved a 39% increase in gifts to the campus over the last two years, even after losing one fundraiser position. Jeff clearly understands that such results are only possible if his entire team is engaged and motivated. He has devised training and mentoring programs; brought in faculty as guest speakers so that team members can stay current on Cal’s teaching and research innovations; and maintains an “open door” approach to collaboration and strategic planning with his entire team. The critical importance of philanthropy to the future of our university makes Jeff’s accomplishments particularly noteworthy.

Soukern "David" Saephan Maintaining the cleanliness of our enormous and complex facilities is vital work that often goes unrecognized, so we are pleased to honor David Saephan for his exemplary service as a custodian in Physical Plant Campus Services. As the custodian for the Life Sciences Addition, he not only ensures that the laboratories are maintained properly, but communicates effectively with all faculty, graduate and undergraduate students—many of whom have come to rely on his friendly assistance during their long hours of work and study. Custodians tend to labor in obscurity, but David’s nominators spoke with enthusiasm of his attention to detail, conscientiousness, reliability, and dedication.

Margaret St. John In her role as a Student Services Manager, “Meg,” as Margaret St. John is affectionately called, has instituted numerous innovations that have benefited the School of Information as well as the wider campus. She created a new funding model for doctoral students that helped the School use its funds more efficiently and enabled the School to compete for the best students, despite budget cuts. She spearheaded the creation of three “Dissertation Boot Camps”–including one for the entire campus –to assist PhD candidates in completing their dissertations. “INFO-CAMP,” the first student-organized conference at the I-School, was a project championed by Meg—yet another demonstration of her commitment to building community among students and faculty. Her nominators also point to her coaching and mentoring of staff as an example of her commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Katalin Voros could not be here today to accept this award. Her work as Manager of the Berkeley Microfabrication Laboratory in the College of Engineering demonstrates what one dedicated staff member can do to contribute to the University’s research mission. Through Katalin’s efforts the MicroLab has emerged over 25 years as a “best practice” facility for the campus. Besides providing first-class research facilities for Engineering faculty and students, the MicroLab is used by commercial researchers to develop technology solutions. The MicroLab facilitates more than forty million dollars in grant-funded research each year. However, under Katalin the MicroLab does more than help faculty secure research funds; the MicroLab fosters collaboration and stimulates research cross-fertilization. Katalin’s leadership has helped create a learning community of faculty, students, and staff that has become known to many faculty members as “The MicroLab Culture.”


Operational Excellence Shared Services Design Team As our campus-wide Operational Excellence initiative entered the design phase, a team of eight staff members were appointed to the Shared Services Design team. They were charged with developing a plan that will allow our campus to deliver HR, Finance, and IT services more effectively and more affordably. The members of this team (and three staff who assisted them on an ad hoc basis), in addition to performing their regular jobs, worked thousands of hours over a six-month period, meeting weekly and sometimes more often, to meet the deadline they were given to present their final report. The team interviewed dozens of individuals and groups and led a series of focus groups with staff from across the campus to refine and validate the Shared Services model for Berkeley. This process of broad and deep communication with multiple stakeholders enhanced the quality and credibility of their final report. The entire team showed tremendous dedication in taking on this challenging and extremely important project, which will save the campus millions of dollars in years to come.

Caltopia Nine years ago Joe Watz and Mike Weinberger of Rec Sports conceived a Welcome Week event that would transform the way our students are introduced to Rec Sports, our campus and our community at large. Caltopia was born, and they haven’t looked back. Each year this event -- which attracts more than 30,000 Cal students, faculty, staff and the public – has grown and improved. Students can experience the latest products, services and programs from campus, local and national sponsors. It is a true public-private partnership and has improved “town-and-gown” relationships, which Joe and Mike have carefully cultivated and maintained. Joe and Mike recently added “Playgreen,” another innovative event that promotes sustainability.

Data Security Review We hear about phishing scams and cybercrime in the news nearly every day. Security cameras and alarms help prevent physical theft, but how do you secure electronic information that passes through cable wires? After a significant campus data breach in 2009, a small group of staff came together to find a way to better protect our community. The result was the creation of an entirely new approach that combined policy, process, tools, training and partnership to help the campus develop better practices around data security. The team was structured to provide opportunities for participation and knowledge-sharing with campus IT staff across campus, creating a campus-wide network of data security specialists. During their first year alone, over one million records have been protected from the risks of cyber theft.

Student Affairs Strategic Management and Administrative Resource Transition Initiative In order to create more efficient and consistent processes in the areas of human resources, finance, and administration, the Division of Student Affairs embarked on an ambitious project in February 2010, dubbed the SMART initiative. An eight-member team led a fast-moving change process, with thirty-three other divisional staff members involved in sub-committees. Within six months, an entirely new, centralized service group was formed to meet the needs of the division. This effort flowed smoothly into Operational Excellence – the SMART initiative has been cited as a model for other campus units that are implementing similar changes. Users of the new consolidated service center report improved customer service and turnaround times for transactions and communications. Processes now reflect best practices, and a new culture of collaboration and teamwork has been established. Intense dialogue and interaction produced innovative solutions.