From the series President's Awards for Excellence 2017

Excellence in Human Relations (Classified)

Kelly Burcham

Kelly Burcham, administrative support coordinator for the Department of Chemistry, received the 2017 President’s Award for Excellence in Human Relations for her admirable work ethic and her ability to improve the efficiency of the department.

“Kelly often tackles problems that are beyond her ordinary responsibilities,” said David Grossie, chair of the Department of Chemistry. “She not only makes the Department of Chemistry function more effectively from her service contributions, but makes her contributions in visible ways to benefit the department, college and university.”

Grossie starting working with Burcham in2010, when she split her time with the departments of Physics and Chemistry as a shared administrative specialist. In the morning, she worked with the Department of Physics, where she worked on scheduling and academic support, and after lunch she worked with the Department of Chemistry, where she worked on purchasing and finance.

“She accomplished the requirements in both positions without any difficulty,” Grossie said.

Burcham maintains a professional office without the assistance of an administrative specialist. She has a wonderful track record for hiring promising student assistants and developing their professional skills.

“Kelly has been an invaluable assistance in my schedule management duties,” said David Dolson, associate chair of chemistry. “Her capacity in assisting my role as associate chair seems to be limited only by my capability to delegate.”

Burcham’s office environment is very friendly. Despite her demanding position, Burcham still greets all who enter the office and serves as an outwardly helpful staff member.

She is well loved by students in the College of Science and Mathematics. She assists students in innumerable ways, particularly graduate students who visit her office frequently. During finals week, students brought her flowers and a card thanking her for her tireless encouragement and assistance. This unprompted outpouring of appreciation speaks volumes about Burcham’s impact on students.

Not only does she receive admiration from her colleagues and students, Burcham also receives love from animals. As a veteran, she was trained as an animal care technician. Her love of animals continues to this day. She keeps dog treats in her desk for service dogs or pets that stop by the department office.

“The mission of the university is carried out in hundreds of personal acts of consideration and kindness daily in the offices on this campus, and Kelly Burcham does more than her fair share of this important work in our Chemistry Department office,” Dolson said.

“She interacts effectively with members of the community to promote enthusiasm, harmony, gender equity and diversity in the unit and campus as a whole,” said Audrey McGowin and Steven Higgins, professors in the Department of Chemistry. “She demonstrates an open, caring attitude, attentiveness to the needs and concerns of others and a commitment to equitable treatment and promotion of diversity.”

Originally founded as a branch campus of The Ohio State University and Miami University, Wright State became an independent institution in 1967. It celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017, culminating with a special Homecoming celebration Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

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