Professional Staff Award for Excellence
The Professional Staff Organization Award for Excellence recognizes a member of the professional staff whose work has promoted Western's strategic plan objectives to advance inclusive success, enhance academic excellence, and/or increase Western's impact in Washington. This may be through one or more of the following: exceptional communication and interpersonal skills; exceptional integrity, professionalism and job performance that inspires excellence in others; exceptional dedication to encouraging initiative, creativity, and exploration of new ideas through work and interaction with others.
Brandon Joseph - Prevention & Wellness
Brandon Joseph coordinates the Men’s Resiliency Program, which focuses on mental health promotion and holistic wellbeing for male-identifying students. In collaboration with campus and community partners, he has hosted various campus wellness events, initiatives, and programs, such as Wellness Wednesdays and Men & Mental Health.
As an Athabascan and Muscogee Creek, Brandon’s work is fundamentally inspired by his Native identity. In August 2019, Brandon established the Black & Brown Male Success Collective (BBMSC), a research-based program that provides male-identifying students from historically marginalized racial and/or ethnic communities with an affinity space for their holistic wellbeing. The group has represented WWU at regional and national conferences and in June 2020 collaborated to host, Not Just Social Media. Social Justice., the first anti-racist workshop at WWU using Zoom, attracting 300+ participants and illuminating the voices of WWUs Black Student Organizations during a crucial time in our history.
Brandon also serves on President Randhawa’s Structural Equity and Bias Response Team and the Social Justice and Equity Committee, where he co-led the Underrepresented Student Needs Assessment Project during the summer of 2020. Finally, Brandon will be completing his Ph.D. in Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Louisville in August 2021.
David Hansen - Student Health Center
Dr. Hansen began his career working in finance and marketing. After participating in numerous volunteer medical missions to Central America, Dr. Hansen left corporate America to pursue a life in medicine. Dr. Hansen earned his medical degree at Brown University’s School of Medicine. He then completed his training at the Tacoma Family Medicine Residency Program. He is a board-certified family physician and has been with Western’s Student Health Center (SHC) since 2017.
As the Student Health Center’s Associate Medical Director, Dr. Hansen has actively been involved in Western’s Incident Command response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assuming the role of Western’s public health officer, Dr. Hansen and the dedicated team at the Student Health Center have designed, implemented and overseen many COVID-related processes including: the COVID Clearance Status System for students on campus, the Fraser Hall COVID Testing Program, the SHC Annex (a respiratory clinic created specifically for COVID patients), Western’s contact tracing efforts in support of the local health department, Isolation and Quarantine coordination with housing and facilities management, and the rollout of COVID vaccines. His colleagues praise his thoughtful and inclusive communication style, his integrity, and his commitment to truly serving and listening to WWU students.
Jeniene Bengtsson - University Advancement
Jeniene Bengtsson has worked in University Advancement for more than 15 years and is a 2004 graduate of Western, following her family’s Viking tradition. Throughout her tenure, she has consistently brought integrity, innovation, and professionalism to her division from her previous roles as administrative assistant, then office manager, and her current role as the Associate Director, Alumni and Constituent Relations, Western Engaged. Western Engaged is revolutionizing not only alumni engagement at WWU, but is seen as a model in the Advancement/Alumni Relations profession nationally, raising the stature and visibility of Western. Jeniene enjoys and excels at collaborating and partnering with colleagues across campus in strategic efforts to keep Western alumni engaged throughout the University. Due to COVID-19, Jeniene creatively pivoted from in-person to remote events including managing dozens of Western Insight and CFPA, Huxley, and CHSS webinars to bring thousands of attendees and dollars to support the Racial and Equity Fund and the Student Emergency Fund.
When not working, Jeniene enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys outdoors and finding new places to explore.
Justina Brown - ATUS
Justina Brown, M.Ed, is an instructional designer in the ATUS Teaching, Learning, & Technology division, and directs the Center for Instructional Innovation, WWU’s teaching and learning center. She leads faculty professional development efforts, creates online resources to support best practices and promote teaching excellence, and supports faculty use of innovations in their teaching.
In this role, she found herself perfectly poised--along with the team assembled from ATUS, OCE, and the Library-- to be at the fulcrum of support for faculty during the monumental pivot to teaching remotely this past spring and summer.
Since 1999, the annual Innovative Teaching Showcase has been one of Justina's most enjoyable and challenging projects, featuring exceptional teaching practices of over 70 WWU instructors. A compliment to the Showcase is the Teaching Handbook, a resource she has developed for 20 years.
Justina has worked to promote open educational practices at Western. She was the project director for a $36,000 Washington State grant to help faculty replace high‐cost textbooks with free and openly-licensed materials--saving about 2,000 students over $270,000 in the first year alone.
Justina also teaches a first-year seminar (FIG), where students examine issues of diversity, class, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual identity, and mental health from different perspectives.
Shevell Thibou - Western Libraries
Shevell Thibou completed her B.A. and M.Ed at Western Washington University, and joined Western Libraries in January of 2012. During her time at Western she has served in various positions including the Learning Commons Coordinator, Assistant Director of the Learning Commons, and Head of the Teaching-Learning Academy. She currently occupies the role of Director of Teaching and Learning while serving as an instructor in the Adult & Higher Education graduate program.
Shevell’s contributions align particularly well with Western’s goals to foster a caring and supportive environment where all members are respected and treated fairly, and in Western’s pursuit of justice and equity in its policies, practices, and impacts. Shevell looks forward to continuing her collaborations within the Social Justice and Equity Committee, the Structural Equity & Bias Response Team, and other opportunities focused on dismantling the inequities present within our teaching and learning community.
Wayne Galloway - Facilities Management
Wayne Galloway’s passion for Western Washington University’s custodial teams has powered his determination to establish team building, leadership development, and top notch customer service skills since he joined the Facilities Management team in Fall of 2016. His personal attention and care for the university’s custodial staff has created a cohesive, respectful, and caring team. To accomplish this, Wayne meets frequently with the teams and ensures that all custodians are given the opportunity to advance their skills by training for certifications in the custodial trade from ISSA and IICRC. Due to his experience as a Master Water Restorer, FM was able to create the Water Damage Response Team that quickly responded to flooding events and minimize the long term impact, as seen in VU and ES Floods of 2019.
Thanks to Wayne’s leadership, the custodial teams are well known for quickly handling all building service concerns or needs of the WWU community. Team members are recognized in quarterly Certificate of Appreciation events.