Classified Staff 2018 Team Award winners Amy Smith (left) and Rachel De La Cruz
Smith, De La Cruz are world-class team builders
Change is hard. And when it comes to academic departments, each with its own culture and practices, it can be especially challenging. So when the decision was made to merge the German, Russian and East Asian languages department with the romance and classical studies department to form the new Department of World Languages and Cultures, everyone knew it would be a demanding process.
Luckily for the endeavor, administrative assistant Amy Smith and senior secretary Rachel De La Cruz were more than up to the job. In recognition of their essential contributions to making the merger a success, as well as their ongoing exemplary service, the team won the 2018 Classified Staff Team Award. Smith and De La Cruz received enthusiastic nominations from faculty, administrators and graduate students. They were honored at the annual Classified Staff Council spring reception May 16. The two will share a $1,500 award and their names will be displayed on a commemorative plaque in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
Working as the sole staff under a new chair, and while also performing their regular jobs, Smith and De La Cruz facilitated the creation of one of the largest and most complex units on campus, abbreviated appropriately as WRLD.
“The merger is a project that involves the completion of so many smaller projects that ‘above and beyond’ does not begin to describe the work the two have accomplished,” wrote new chair Dr. Philip Peek, referring to the award criteria. “The attitude that they bring to work is priceless, inviting and infectious, helping to promote and establish a culture that puts collaboration and community first. In my new role as chair, they are a delight to work with. Without them I cannot begin to learn the curve that I must in order to perform my duties.”