Outstanding Supervisor Awards 2023

Outstanding Supervisor Award collage of 2023 winners

Outstanding Supervisor Winners Step Up to New Challenges

The Outstanding Supervisor Award recognizes Michigan State University supervisors who have consistently demonstrated work-life balance and support of the professional/personal needs of the employees in their unit. The Outstanding Supervisor Award is a cherished professional accolade because it comes from colleagues and team members. It is recognition that the intentional daily efforts to make MSU a great place to work are valued and appreciated.

The winners of the 2023 Outstanding Supervisor Awards stepped up to new challenges and demonstrated compassionate leadership in navigating the end of the COVID pandemic, changes in university leadership, and the violence the MSU community experienced on February 13th. Kindness, flexibility, and care for colleagues paired with advocacy for professional development and advancement are treasured by nominators.

“Each year we learn new things from the OSA nominations,” says WorkLife Office director Jaimie Hutchison. “This year, all the nominees had been in their current supervisory role for five years or less. Nominators appreciated calm and consistent leadership, personal connections, and the humanization of the workplace. People show up to work with people, and making space for real people with real lives is critical to feeling appreciated and respected as a professional,” explains Hutchison. “Inclusion was also cited as important to building trust and fostering creativity,” concludes Hutchison.

This year’s winners are: 

Becky Jensen

Director of Communications, College of Social Science

“One of Becky’s outstanding qualities is her understanding of work-life fit and balance. She recognizes that employees have personal lives outside of work and places a high value on their well-being. … She remembers that we are people first and foremost. This approach not only enhances our work but also demonstrates her commitment to supporting her employees’ overall happiness and fulfillment.” Shelly DeJong, M.A. Communications Manager Dean’s Office, College of Social Science

Dr. Steve Ondersma

C.S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health, C.S. Mott Department of Public Health

“Steve is conscious of team members being both individuals and part of a team. He encourages regular discussions and implementation of ideas to ensure an inclusive, diverse, and equitable work environment. He genuinely prizes the unique contributions of each team member and ensures that there are opportunities for each member to leverage their strengths while also learning from others.” Lisa Todd, MS, JD Research Assistant III Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health

Jennifer Raffo

Research, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement Team Supervisor, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, College of Human Medicine

“Ms. Raffo has shown a sincere interest in the wellbeing and professional development of our team members. She is not just someone who talks the talk – she walks the walk. … Whenever I encountered challenges, whether work related or personal, she is always accessible and responsive.” Xiao Yu, PhD. Data Resource Analyst, Advancing Maternal Health Lab, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, College of Human Medicine

Niki Rudolph

Assistant Dean, Student Success and Advising, Lyman Briggs College

“Niki [she] is a fearless advocate for students and advisors and is not afraid to ask difficult questions in college-wide meetings that make the group pause and think about inclusivity, equity and empowerment in the decision-making process. Lastly, Niki is downright fun to work with. She offers a shoulder to cry on, a hand for high fives, witty one-liners to give comic relief and the perfect amount of compassion and empathy when you’re just really having a bad day. I look forward to coming to work each day and Niki is a big part of that.” Alyse Collins, Academic Advisor, Lyman Briggs College

Erin Schlicher

Projects Manager, Sponsored Programs Administration

“Erin [she] has consistently shown her appreciation for a healthy work life balance, empathy, and humanity in dealing with stressful personal and professional situations. She demonstrates enthusiasm for learning about and supporting the humans and their families, not just employees, that comprise her team, at the office and beyond.” Michael Wolf, Data Resource Analyst, Sponsored Programs Administration

Thank you to all of the teams across the MSU community who submitted nominations for their supervisor. This year’s winners set great examples of “what makes a good supervisor.” They serve as a model for others to illustrate what it means to be sensitive to work-life and family circumstances. These outstanding supervisor role models make a positive impact on managerial practices across campus! Congratulations to this year’s winners! We look forward to opening the next round of nominations in February. Visit the Outstanding Supervisor Award webpage to learn more.