April 27, 2010
DeKalb, Ill. — Four members of the Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) at Northern Illinois University have been chosen to receive the university’s Presidential Awards for Excellence.
The recipients are Bobbie Cesarek, associate athletics director for compliance; Jes Cisneros, assistant director of the Honors Program; Patrick Gorman, video/AV coordinator in Media Services; and Michael Stang, executive director of Housing and Dining.
The quartet will be honored at a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 4, in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center. The awards ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. Each will receive a plaque and $1,500 in appreciation for their outstanding contributions to NIU.
Donna Smith and Rachel Xidis will receive SPS Council Service Awards.
Refreshments will be served, and the reception is open to all.
Hallmarks of Bobbie Cesarek’s 33-year career at NIU are amazingly alliterative.
Compliance. Coach. Competitor. Council. Certification. Committee. And one many might not immediately think of: Cheerleader.
“Often I know that she has done much of the work and yet she always takes the time to give a hug and say, ‘Hey, thanks,’ or give a pat on the back, saying, ‘We did it – thanks for all your hard work,’ ” says Todd Latham, vice president of the SPS Council. “Outstanding people stand out for their acknowledgement in the achievement and success of others.”
Known as an inspirational role model, Cesarek has coached gymnastics, taught courses, served several terms on the SPS Council before becoming president and, most recently, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation.
Her leadership in Athletics addresses needs of NCAA membership by:
Facilitator of the cross-campus NCAA Compliance Oversight Committee, Cesarek produced the compliance office’s policy and procedure manual and played an integral role in the recent NCAA certification process. She also volunteers several times each year to visit high schools in the region to educate counselors, parents and others about the recruitment process.
“Bobbie,” says Jan Rintala, faculty representative to Athletics, “is one who goes beyond.”
Jes Cisneros is driven to see all students achieve.
In his job with the Honors Program, where he started in 2000, and which he insists must share the spotlight of his award, he advises all of the more than 200 students in the upper division.
He also recruits students to the program, ushers them through the process of applying for prestigious scholarships and oversees a staff of peer advisers.
When the program was without a director in 2008, Cisneros willingly agreed to advise students on capstone projects. He since has taken that responsibility on fulltime, regularly scheduling hour-long sessions.
Meanwhile, Cisneros enthusiastically serves several university committees. Among them is the steering committee of the Baccalaureate Review Task Force, which last spring charged him with leading focus groups to gather ideas from faculty, staff and administrators.
“Jes has helped the steering committee better understand the context within which we are working,” co-chair Greg Long says. “He understands current events and their historical relevance.”
Cisneros expertly balances work and university service with study. He completed a master’s degree in instructional technology in 1999 while he was working as a counselor in the CHANCE Program, and expects to earn an Ed.D. in that field this spring.
In 2008, students in the NIU Mortar Board Senior Honor Society rewarded his commitment and reliability with the Faculty Appreciation Award.
“Mr. Cisneros has helped students in all academic fields succeed,” says Shay Galto, Mortar Board’s vice president of service, “beyond what they could have ever imagined.”
What Patrick Gorman makes is seen by thousands.
At the Convocation Center, he is the primary live director of video board operations for basketball games, wrestling and gymnastics meets, commencement ceremonies and more. He’s also the primary director for Huskie football.
Sporting a demand for perfection and reputation for excellence, Gorman was selected by Soldier Field executives to produce and direct video board operations during the 2007 NIU football game there. In spring 2008, he earned the same responsibility for the NIU baseball game at U.S. Cellular Field.
His work on campus meets or exceeds what fans see at those venues despite having one-fifth of the space and staff.
“In the world of collegiate athletics, it is difficult to be certain about live events, and Pat works hard to make sure that things run smoothly,” says Jeff Compher, associate vice president and director of Athletics. “His work ethic is outstanding, especially as it relates to his attention to detail and ability to take unforeseen changes in stride.”
Gorman recruits, trains and supervises freelance and student crew members – more than 35 of whom have found professional work since in video production or broadcasting – and coordinates equipment and personnel resources with the Video Production and Technical Services staffs of Media Services.
He also helps Media Services buy the right equipment and hire and train the right people.
“His attention to detail and commitment to excellence has made his various media projects second to none,” says John Gordon, director of the Convocation Center.
Mike Stang is the consummate professional that his colleagues aspire to become.
They call him forward-looking, solution-oriented, proactive, insightful, fair, optimistic and caring. They recognize that his heart and mind always hold the best interests of students.
Stang is known for his attention to the guiding principles of creating inclusive communities, student-centered learning, building collaborative relationships and customer service – “not only when it’s convenient,” says Kelly Wesener, assistant vice president for student services, “but in all that he does each day.”
His leadership helped to develop the Northern View Community and is part of the current renovations at Grant Towers. He cheerfully took on additional duties during changes in departmental administration while maintaining his responsibilities as director of facilities and operations and pursuing his doctorate.
Within the Division of Student Affairs, he serves on the Crisis Response Team and helped with assessment planning, enrollment management, retention initiatives and development of the current mission, vision and core values.
Stang, who attends conferences and webinars to enhance his understanding of emerging issues, also has served on committees concerned with Unity in Diversity, Undergraduate Academic Environment, Convocation, Foundations of Excellence, Welcome Days, NIU Cares Day and Feb. 14 memorial planning.
In the days after Feb. 14, 2008, he was a liaison to one of the families who lost a child.
“He has been a calming and motivating influence in the department,” says Blanche McHugh, associate director for residential administration, “impacting not only his own team members but other functional teams as well.”
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Mark McGowan, NIU Media Relations and Internal Communications