Beth Stalnaker, Graduate Program Coordinator for electrical engineering, has been selected to receive the 2013 College of Engineering’s Judith A. Pitney Staff Service Career Award. This award recognizes the significant contributions of a single CoE staff member with at least 10 years of service.
Throughout her 30+ years at the University of Michigan, Beth has a record of sustained excellence. Her positive influence has been felt by the students she has advised and supported, the faculty and staff of EECS, and extends to the College of Engineering and the U-M community.
As program coordinator for the EE program, Beth manages more applicants and matriculated students than perhaps any other single graduate program in the College of Engineering. The faculty she has worked with have first-hand knowledge of all that she does, and they are extremely grateful for her knowledge, professionalism, and expertise in handling the myriad duties of this position. These duties include processing 1,000+ applications of prospective students annually, handling student visits, and then ensuring that all 350+ master’s and PhD students are progressing on schedule through the program.
Many students encounter siginficant life challenges on their path to graduation. When these occur, Beth is known for her willingness to carefully listen, and offer creative solutuions to individual problems. On a number of occasions, this care has had a dramatic and positive influence on the lives of these students. One alumnus stated that Beth turned a time of great anxiety into one of great promise.
Beth has always shown leadership as a key administrator of the program. In recent years, she facilitated the overhaul of the EE graduate program by gathering data from our peer institutions and then by participating in the process. She has also been at the forefront of adapting to, and at times leading, changes being made institution-wide to processes affecting graduate students.
When the faculty made a concerted effort to find ways to better serve graduate students within the department, she offered many excellent suggestions and greatly facilitated the process of bringing students and faculty together. The faculty who have worked with Beth each have their own stories about how her insight and dedication has improved not only the program, but also the lives of the students in the program.
Beth is also seen as a leader among her colleagues. She instituted, and for many years coordinated, the CoE Graduate Program Coordinators Peer Group meetings. These meetings provide all CoE graduate program coordinators an opportunity to share knowledge and has led to many positive changes. Within the department she is often the person who initiates and coordinates informal staff events, which helps create a positive team environment.
In a position that could easily lead to burn-out over time, instead Beth continues to bring a seemingly ceaseless flow of positive energy to all that she does. Students, faculty, and staff all rely on Beth, and they know she is always willing to help.
Beth will be honored with the College of Engineering Judith A. Pitney Staff Service Career Award at a public ceremony Wednesday, May 22, 2013.