The Archbishop John Carroll Award for Learning recognizes the contributions of a staff member to the educational pursuits of John Carroll University student, staff, and faculty. This individual enhances learning through innovative programs and initiatives that pertain to members of the University community. This year’s award went to Louise Barmann, Administrative Assistant for Sociology and Criminology.
After hearing of a position at Grasselli Library & Breen Learning Center from neighbors and friends working on campus, Louise began her JCU career in Grasselli Library & Breen Learning Center. Twenty-five years later, she is “helping professors help students.”
Mrs. Barmann’s favorite thing about working at John Carroll is the students. Having raised four sons with her husband, Joe, and seen them through JCU to the successful adults they are, she especially values the service opportunities that are here. “My own children started doing service in grade school and they did it in high school, so they were used to doing it. It was modeled for me by my parents, and I suspect I modeled it for our children.”
“The whole (JCU) community at large is about service. It’s part of how our culture has gotten to think. Here, it’s an integral part of our community, part of the mindset of what we are, and people who do service are the norm. It doesn’t feel like I’m doing service. If I’m able to do something, why wouldn’t I? If not me, who? It behooves me to share the gifts God has given me and make the world better for somebody else. I don’t even think of it that way. If it needs done, I do it.”
As the recipient of the 2011 inaugural Staff and Administrator Service Award, Louise has made lasting impressions on JCU faculty, staff, and students throughout her career. When she envisions the future of JCU and its service to others she says, “This University is so willing to grow and change and become what it needs to be to allow our students to be everything they can be. I know that whenever it becomes available for the university to grasp and implement, they will. The students clamor for service. They want to do it.”
So what does Louise tell herself when getting ready for her day each morning? “I’m a morning person. Oh, I have another chance! I have another day, hurray, hurray, hurray! I don’t need to feel like I get ready for it, I’m just so grateful to be able to do it again and when I pray I ask God to please give me the opportunity to do something for somebody, to make someone’s life better. In fact, that’s my normal coming-up-in-the-elevator prayer – please let me be what someone needs me to be for them today. That’s what I ask for every day.”
The Staff Member of the Year Award is given to a staff member recognized for “continual contributions” and the “significant impact” of his/her service to John Carroll University. The staff member “exemplifies the University’s mission through outstanding customer service, respect for his/her colleagues, collaboration, integrity, and Blue Streaks pride.” This year’s recipient of the award is Joel Mullner, Associate Director of Enrollment.
Joel began his “John Carroll Experience” as a freshman in 2003. While earning his MBA, he was a graduate assistant to the Office of Student Engagement and worked with leadership development, student organizations, and advised the committee planning the American Cancer Society Relay for Life on campus. He began full time in the Office of Admission in 2009. Joel states that John Carroll has been a “tremendous home for me over the years, so being able to talk about it and show prospective students the opportunities and experience that awaits them is extremely gratifying. My position has also allowed me to combine my interests and skills in marketing, event planning, student development, and customer service.”
Asked what drives his ability to give outstanding customer service to others, Mr. Mullner says he “started learning the basics of customer service when I worked retail in high school. However, it was my hotel management internship with Marriott that really instilled in me the importance of superior customer service. Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve” really resonated with me and I’ve incorporated those lessons into everything I do at JCU. Many people note that I sign my emails “at your service” because it’s true.” It “pushes me to go above and beyond for those with whom I interact.”
What gives Joel his daily inspiration and energy for the service he gives while living the mission? He responds it is his love of JCU and recognition of “what it has done for me personally, as well as many others who have gone before and after me. I want everyone to see what makes JCU so special, and that’s all the inspiration I need! The service orientation of John Carroll “begins and ends with an esprit de corps. We must all adopt a service ethos. As a campus community, we need to seek out ways to go above and beyond in our relationships with students, parents, alumni, visitors, community members, and colleagues.”
Corporal Brent Russ of the JCU Police Department received this year’s St. Ignatius of Loyola Leadership Award, given annually to a staff member who demonstrates “outstanding leadership” and involvement in “projects that benefit the larger university community.”
A 14-year veteran of the JCUPD, Brent says that he was surprised to receive the award, but credits his department for making it possible for him. “We’re set up to be successful here,” he says, with department leadership encouraging officers to “be involved in serious projects.” Brent has provided police perspective and support to such university-wide projects as campus climate surveys and Title IX investigations, in addition to his multifaceted work for the JCUPD.
When Brent was offered the position at JCU, he was a recent police academy graduate working at a small municipality. “I prayed about it and ended up here – and there’s no looking back.” He cites the close-knit community, the people-centered work policies in his department, and the beautiful working environment of the campus itself as three reasons why he is glad to work at JCU, but his highest praise is reserved for other members of his department. “These people are probably some of the best officers I’ve ever worked with,” he says.
So what makes a good officer? In a campus police department, Brent says, an officer has to be intensely service-oriented. “You know people personally, so when you’re taking an action, you have to be a good communicator, demonstrate good decision making, show respect for the community. You need to explain what you’re doing. It’s not just ‘because I told you so.’” In addition, he says, because the department is so small here, every officer participates in every aspect of policing on the campus, honing multiple valuable skills. “I’ve always said that if officers had to do some shifts here after finishing policy academy, they’d be better officers in a municipality.”
Parents of students often stop officers on patrol, he says, to ask them questions about security on the campus, saying, “it makes me feel good knowing you guys are here.” We are all ultimately here because of the students, as he points out, so his ultimate goal for JCU would be to continue to grow the community of students in each entering class. “People aren’t just passing faces on a city street. We are a part of this community and relationships are important.”