2018/19 Staff Excellence Award Recipients

Jenny Baker-Dunn, School of Education Jenny Baker-Dunn

Jenny works as the Administrative Analyst Specialist for the Office of the Dean, School of Education. While Jenny only received one nomination, it should be noted that her nominator collected testimonials from five (5) other people in the department, so it was almost like she received five nominations! One co-worker commented, “It is a privilege and honor to work with Jenny. Her communication and organizational skills are a key part of the day-to-day operations and efficiency within the School of Education and our ability to assist students, faculty and staff. Her outgoing “we can do it” attitude is incredibly inspirational!” While another co-worker said “Jenny is an exceptional co-worker! Since the day I first started, she has gone above and beyond to help me get familiar with procedures and processes. She always has a smiling face and helping hand. She represents the highest level of employee excellence!” Another co-worker commented, “Jenny is thoughtful and conscious of university policies and processes. She demonstrates the desire to do things correctly and it is a pleasure to work with her!” And yet another co-worker stated, “Jenny’s contributions to SSU might be easily missed if you don’t look closely because she provides support to students and other employees in a manner that is best described as quietly and selflessly. You don’t have to ask – she sees what needs to be done and does it. She is one of the most reliable people working at SSU – I feel lucky to work with her!” There has been some turnover in Jenny’s area which means she has helped many transition out and many others transition in. Her work spans a wide range of tasks and duties and she is able to solve problems, establish systems and support the department so that they are successful in an ever-changing landscape. Jenny is “downright magical” when it comes to building relationships and managing resources. Her core values of respect, thoughtfulness and appreciation shine through in all that she does and are felt by all who work with her.

Donna Garbesi, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies

Donna GarbesiDonna works as the Lead Advisor for the School of Arts & Humanities and the dedicated Advisor for Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, helping students from the time they begin their journey at Sonoma State until they graduate. One nominator spotlighted the workshops and one-on-one support she provides to students in the School and the immaculate records kept for student utilization and satisfaction. Donna has a wealth of knowledge and understanding about SSU and the School of Arts and Humanities and shares her knowledge readily, educating others and helping the team to always do a better job. Another nominator spoke to how the Hutchins program incorporates alternative GE, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing components, upper division GE, multiple major/minor course substitutions, and more, and how Donna makes it look easy! Donna has implemented innovative advising methodologies, institutionalized classroom cohort advising in all LIBS lower division courses, and also tracks the Senior Synthesis for students to ensure they are on track to graduate. Another nominator shared that she has “referred numerous students to Donna, students with multiple complex challenges, and without fail, she has been able to create pathways for academic success for them, based upon each of their individual needs.” The same person added that she recently read a student essay that referred to Donna by name as being someone the student credited with helping her to be successful in achieving her dream of becoming an Elementary School Teacher! This student was ESL/first generation and said Donna had consistently went above and beyond for her, making all the difference in her academic success. Donna’s colleagues said she is kind, collaborative, professional, extremely knowledgeable and exceptional at solving problems and touching on her integrity, her passion for what she does and her great sense of humor.