September Student First Award Winners
Two UT employees recently were honored with the Students First Award.
Martino Harmon, former director of the African-American Student Enrichment Initiatives Office, and Dr. Linda Rouillard, associate professor of French, were the first winners this semester chosen by a committee from the President’s Commission on Student Centeredness.
This award was launched in November 2006; employees are nominated for exemplifying student centeredness.
Harmon was nominated for his hard work and long hours he puts into his position. In late 2004, Harmon recognized the need for enriched services for UT's African-American students and co-wrote a proposal for an office to provide such services. Two months later, he was named director and his dedication to students emerged every day in the time he worked to improve the experience of UT students.
A student who nominated him wrote, "Martino has made an impact on my life personally … The African-American Student Enrichment Initiatives Office was the best thing that has happened to me." A colleague described him this way: "Martino … consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty for the students. He works so hard for them day in and day out, weekends, nights, whenever he is needed … Martino is a shining example of student centeredness and has displayed that since the day he began working here at UT."
"Ithink there is no greater honor at The University of Toledo than to win an award that recognizes service to students," Harmon said. "For someone to nominate me, and to see that I am doing my job, makes it extra special, especially as I’m leaving. I’m sad to leave, I’m excited for what lies ahead, and getting the award makes it extra special."
Harmon, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from UT, began working at the University in 1996 and spent a number of years in the Office of Undergraduate Admission before moving to his current position in 2005. He recently accepted a position as dean of admissions, retention and student life at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. He will continue his doctoral studies at UT in the Judith Herb College of Education.
Dr. Rouillard was nominated by several people for helping her students to succeed in meeting the high standards to which she holds them. She understands the different reasons why students with a wide variety of majors study French, and tailors her classes to meet those different needs.
A UT graduate nominated Dr. Rouillard because of her passion for her students extending beyond graduation, specifically in helping to identify research positions and internships abroad. "Dr. Rouillard is a dedicated professor who expects the best from her students," the UT graduate wrote. A student wrote, "She has a genuine interest in the success and the life of every student she teaches … She also sets very high standards, which encourages her students to set high standards for themselves in all aspects of life."
"It is gratifying to know that our students appreciate our work with them. Just as students need feedback from their instructors, we also need feedback from them," Rouillard said. "It is important that the students know I'm engaged in their academic and intellectual progress, and that I recognize their potential is not determined or limited by a grade. The Students First Award tells us that we are doing some helpful things, but of course it doesn't mean we can stop thinking about new and better ways of helping students achieve their goals."
Dr. Carol Bresnahan, vice provost for academic programs and policies, presented Harmon with his award, and she surprised Dr. Rouillard before one of her classes with the award, presenting it to her in French.
Each winner receives a $75 gift card from Barnes & Noble and a $25 gift card from Starbucks. At the end of the academic year, one winner will be chosen to receive a prize of $1,500.