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Week of April 22, 2013

President’s Staff Innovation Award winners announced

A College of Engineering official who launched innovations resulting in a broader, more diverse group of graduate students, and the team that piloted a lower-cost, environmentally friendly cleaner for University Housing have received the first annual President’s Staff Innovation Awards.

Both new concepts will be honored June 5 when President Mary Sue Coleman presents the inaugural individual and team awards at the Voices of the Staff annual meeting. The individual award goes to Mike Nazareth, director for graduate recruiting at CoE, and the team award goes to the three-member South Quadrangle Residence Hall Facilities and Custodian Team.

The awards were created earlier this year to honor staff members who find creative solutions to improve efficiency, productivity, cost savings, health or culture at the university. Teams and individuals could be nominated, and 65 entries were submitted.

“This award celebrates the diverse culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, and recognizes those whose creativity leads to better solutions to our challenges. It is a joy and privilege to see such wonderful work representing the University of Michigan,” Coleman said.

Nazareth won the individual award for introducing new strategies to recruit students to its doctoral programs. According to his nomination, applications to the doctoral programs have increased to 4,850 applicants, a 35 percent increase in two years, with a substantial increase in underrepresented minority student enrollment.

“Mike carefully and systematically designed an innovative new approach to graduate recruiting by way of Ph.D. application waivers, strategic marketing, individualized mass email merges, phone calls, persistent follow-up and the use of the student survey data to inform recruitment strategies,” wrote Alex Gallimore, professor of aerospace engineering and associate dean for research and graduate recruiting, in the nominating statement.

The winning team of Sally Gonzales, interim associate director of Housing Facilities; Randy Latham, building facilities manager; and David Camp, a custodian, piloted an innovative cleaning method with a product called Liquid Ozone.

Nominated by Loren Rullman, associate vice president of student affairs, the team made U-M the first university to use Liquid Ozone, a chemical-free cleaner.

“Liquid Ozone is environmentally sustainable because, once used, it reverts back to simple water and oxygen molecules that need merely to be poured down the drain like regular waste water (rather than requiring special chemical disposal),” Rullman wrote.

Rullman also noted that the change to Liquid Ozone already is saving approximately $50,000, and more savings are expected once additional units adopt the method.

“This project is worthy of team recognition because it sits at the nexus of cost savings, environmental and health consciousness; productivity; and the leadership role that the University of Michigan plays in higher education,” Rullman wrote.

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