The School of Undergraduate Studies honored two staff members and two supervisors for their outstanding contributions to the school’s mission to enrich the undergraduate experience at The University of Texas at Austin.
As senior academic program coordinator, Larissa Noake coordinates the day-to-day operations of the Bridging Disciplines Programs (BDPs), a set of 16 different college-bridging certificate programs for undergraduates that collectively serve over 700 active students at any given time. While her team consists of just four other full-time staff members, Larissa’s efforts to improve processes related to student contracts and databases has led to a marked increase in BDP student enrollment.
As her nominator remarks, “From managing outreach to let students all across campus know about the BDPs, to running our program assessment plan, to coordinating the communication and advising for our current and prospective students, to serving as the liaison with over 150 faculty members across the university who serve on committees overseeing our programs—and the list just keeps going—Larissa performs with professionalism, commitment, and skill.”
Ed Fernandez ensures that UT students and tutors receive the support they need to achieve and maintain standards of academic excellence in his role as program coordinator of academic counseling and tutorial services at the Sanger Learning Center. Ed is known among his fellow staff members as a kind and understanding team member who goes above and beyond to ensure smooth collaborations between various UGS teams and departments.
“Ed has not only encouraged a great community among students but with staff as well,” wrote one of Ed’s nominators. “By communicating, collaborating, and cooperating with those within his department and beyond, he has shown his willingness to not only make things better for the school, but for himself.”
Jen Morgan plays a key role as senior program coordinator in ensuring that all UT undergraduates experience a rich and dynamic core curriculum. In addition to her work reviewing and approving supporting documents for hundreds of UT courses, Jen also serves as UGS degree audit manager, handling the UGS core petition process and logging more than 1,000 student petitions each year.
“Jen’s job is particularly difficult because, unlike some other universities, we have an extraordinarily large and diverse number of core courses,” said Associate Dean Larry Abraham. “This was a year wherein she deserved particular recognition, as she took on additional duties that required her to ramp up her skills in data analysis in an effort to improve the services UGS offers to its students.”
As director of communication and special projects, Lara Harlan manages the communications and web development teams for UGS, working diligently to ensure consistent messaging and brand identity of all UGS communications. In addition to her work setting the appearance, tone, and function of the UGS website, Lara puts her final stamp of approval on all design projects, videos, and written material produced by UGS.
“With programs that reach every undergraduate and every college or school on campus, UGS could not function without effective communication and web tools,” said UGS Dean Brent Iverson. “Lara Harlan’s team is simply the best at UT, and that is a direct reflection of her own high standards and management abilities.”