Outstanding Service Award

Photo of Janice Vander Meer

Janice Vander Meer

For Janice Vander Meer, secretary in the Department of English, active membership in the Westminster Presbyterian Church is a high calling.

Vander Meer brings the same devotion to her work at NIU.

“She has been a steward, a deacon, a liturgist, the organist and member of the choir,” said Robert Self, director of graduate studies. “In the English department, she is the steward of our accounts, the custodian of our sanctuary and a voice for our values. She is a willing servant to our mission, and the accompanist to all our music.”

Her 19-year NIU career is a testimony to organization and balance and communication and efficiency. The department is one of the largest and most complex at the university, with more than 70 faculty and around 700 undergraduate and graduate majors.

She also is responsible for managing a $3.5 million budget.

“Jan miraculously manages to stay on top of this large and diverse variety of resources,” said Heather Hardy, chair of the department. “Her job depends critically on the ability to multitask without losing one’s composure, ‘to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.’ ”

Vander Meer is praised for her cheerful willingness to take on extra work, including the duties of other secretaries, administration of course evaluations and support for the teacher certification program. She also helps to train and mentor new secretaries.

She is an honorary member of Sigma Tau Delta, the student English Honor Society, and received the Patricia L. Francis Awards for Distinguished Service in 2001, recognizing the individual who contributes the most to the department’s mission.