Classified Staff Team Award

Like a well-oiled machine, Barbara Berta, Mary Busdeker and Marcia Seubert keep the Department of Mathematics and Statistics running smoothly. This is good news for students and faculty in the best of times, but especially impressive during times of great transition, as the last two years have been for the department.

In recognition of their achievement and the graciousness with which they go above and beyond their official duties, the three were presented the Classified Staff Team Award on May 18 at the annual Classified Staff Council reception and awards ceremony. The team will share a $1,500 award and their names will be displayed on a commemorative plaque in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

“The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has had three chairs in the last two years,” said Dr. Hanfeng Chen, current chair of the department, in nominating the team. “Furthermore, we have had a change in three out of the main leadership positions within the last year.”

Although this caused an inordinate amount of work for Berta, Busdeker and Seubert, they handled it “with professionalism, patience and promptness,” Chen said. “They never missed a beat and basically ran the department during the transition period of leaderships.”

“Their support during this time ensured a seamless transition for faculty, but more importantly, for the graduate students and the many undergraduate students that come into contact with our office each day,” wrote faculty member Barbara Zirkes.

Calling them the “heart and soul of the department,” Chen said they not only keep things moving, they also create an atmosphere that promotes collaboration and learning.

Berta, an administrative assistant, has a key role in creating the class schedule and making sure there are ample opportunities for all the students who wish to enroll and that they have an appropriate learning space, “which is an enormous undertaking since we offer so many different course sections,” said Dr. Craig Zirbel, graduate coordinator. She also facilitates communication among the department and keeps the calendar of events organized, among her myriad duties. “Barb is utterly competent in everything she does,” Zirbel said.

Seubert has served the department for many years, currently as senior secretary for the graduate program. She works with graduate students from their first inquiry through graduation. She is “extremely detail oriented” and handles all the forms, assistantships and other items, freeing students to concentrate on their research, coursework and teaching responsibilities. In fact, graduate students have reported that they chose BGSU because of how well she maintained contact with them, Zirbel wrote. She also helped him “in a clear and thoughtful manner” when he had to step into his coordinator role last summer, he said.

Although Busdeker’s title is typist, “she is much more to our department than her title suggests,” wrote Zirkes. The first person faculty and staff see when they enter the office, she is the “front line” and “the glue that holds our department together,” according to her nominators. She greets everyone with a smile, and is always courteous and patient. Even during trying times she boosts morale and unites the unit. She cares deeply about the students and helps them navigate difficult situations successfully.

The team’s unfailing kindness and good cheer is appreciated by all. “Many times I find myself visiting them only when I have a problem I need solved and yet they still couldn’t be happier to see me,” said Logan Opperman, a Ph.D. student in statistics.

“Many people do their job well but it is another thing altogether to approach the job with such an attitude that makes people delighted to work with you,” he said. “These three ladies are some of the rare ones.”