Congratulations to spring 2021 Employee Recognition recipients

Since fall 2019, Student Affairs has had an employee recognition program in the four important areas of student retention, customer service, leadership, and morale building. The program’s purpose is to shine a light on the talent, commitment, and compassion demonstrated by our staff. Nominations were accepted by peers and supervisors during the months of August through March. We are delighted to announce the winners for spring 2021.

April 2021 winners

Justin Hickw Patti Light Linda Barker Emily Bell
Student retention Customer service Leadership Morale building
Justin Hicks
Disability Resource
Patti Light
Campus Living
Linda Barker
Emily Bell
Trojan Transition
and Assistance Center

Here are some plaudits from the nominations:

Justin Hicks

In the past few years, the DRC had to switch over to a new student database. Justin worked with IT Services and the Database company to help organize the transition to the new system. This past summer the amount of work he put into uploading data and make sure the office could access student information is immeasurable. In this current school year, he has converted a semester’s worth of online content into accessible formats for several professors. The impact of this will provide current and future students accessible content.

Justin works with students and faculty directly and indirectly daily providing alternative formats and walks students through assistive technology programs to help them understand how to access materials. His up-to-date knowledge and guidance to students can make the difference between passing a failing. Justin’s experience and knowledge help him identify many solutions to navigate the barriers that some students endure. Not only does Justin work with students but also with faculty often taking what seems to be a monumental task providing them with the accessible materials for their students.

Justin has been the DRC for over 15 years and the impact of his work often goes unnoticed.

Patti Light

I have witnessed an all-hands-on-deck leadership and customer service style with Dr. Patti Light. There have been several occasions where she has stepped up in a manner that put her on the same playing field as a Graduate Hall Director, Resident Assistant, or Front Desk worker to provide the best service for our students and staff members. I have seen her work the desk in the wee hours of the night to give a desk worker a break, I have seen her perform lock-outs (let a student in their room because they left their key), and work alongside our custodial staff to perform cleaning tasks. Specifically, during the Pandemic, she lead the cause in strategizing Isolation Rooms, Meal Deliveries, Package Deliveries, and Cleaning Schedules to provide the best service for our students. She has also coordinated the services and worked with our Dining partners, Health Services partners, and Athletic partners to streamline all of the needs of the students impacted by this virus. All in all, it is her visible commitment to her students and staff that prompts me to nominate her for the Excellence in Customer Service Award for the Student Affairs Division. All of our isolated and quarantined students that lived on campus since the beginning of the pandemic. There is something to be cherished about having a Director working in the division who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

Linda Barker

Ms. Linda Barker has served the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for over the past 30 years working with low-income, first-generation students and adults. Recently, Ms. Barker developed and submitted 6 federal TRO grant proposals to the United States Department of Education. If received, that will bring more than $9,821,435 million to the UA-Little Rock campus (five-year total) to fund college readiness programs for low-income and first-generation college students in certain target areas and counties throughout the state.

Why the employee should receive this award: My time working with Ms. Barker has been an amazing learning opportunity. She serves as an excellent role model and mentor to all staff. And is actively involved and supports the professional development for all staff. She continues to push staff to further their education and goals. During the pandemic, the staff had a difficult time working with students and clients. Ms. Barker has offered different program recruitment strategies and has even assisted the team in their planning efforts to ensure the program meets all objectives. As a leader, she never complained about the effects of the pandemic and offered suggestions and assistance on how our programs can continue to provide services and engage the community safely. Comment from a student: ‘Working with Ms. Linda has provided me with opportunities that I don’t believe I would’ve had anywhere else. (anonymous)

Emily Bell

I have had several bosses and despite my anxiety of yet another one, Emily has not only been supportive of me at work but also through personal experiences. She has honed in on what makes each of us happier, and therefore more confident and productive. In a department with all women, she has been able to prevent the drama that usually comes with an office filled with women. She puts little personalized awards on our computers. Mine says “You are valued!” I can’t tell you how much I and we all need that right now. She has created fun things we all can do together such as games. We have a special board for when someone says something funny to us on the phone, we right it up on the board. She has created group chat rooms where we aren’t just “all business.” We have fun with them as well. I can’t say enough good things about Emily. I don’t trust people often, and I trust Emily. Everyone else has been right. Emily really is awesome.


Please join Student Affairs in congratulating these stellar colleagues! You may also visit the complete list of winners since the program’s inception.

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