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Feature

Debra Haessly

Civil service staff member Debra Haessly is administrative director of the School of Kinesiology, Twin Cities campus.

Recognize a U staff member

CSBU Staff Awards honor civil service and bargaining unit staff

By Heather Powell

Brief, Jan. 17, 2007

Think about the civil service and bargaining unit employees who make a difference in your work day. Last year about this time, Professor Mary Jo Kane thought about civil service staff member Debra Haessly and then nominated her for an award.

Kane is professor and director of the School of Kinesiology, where Haessly is the administrative director. Haessly won the 2006 Civil Service and Bargaining Unit (CSBU) Staff Award, cosponsored by the U's Office of the Vice President for Human Resources and Office for University Women. The annual award recognizes leadership and commendable efforts to improve the University work environment for CSBU women and men.

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"As a person in a leadership position at the University, I think it is my obligation to find outlets to publicly acknowledge the good work of our civil service staff," says Kane. "I encourage my colleagues to do the same because, without the work of our support staff, the University will not prosper.

"I nominated Deb for the Civil Service Bargaining Unit Staff Award because she exemplifies the qualities a great University looks for in its staff," Kane says. "In big and small ways, Deb always gets the job done and makes us all successful."

Haessly began her University employment as a senior secretary. She advanced through the positions of principal secretary, executive secretary, and executive assistant, until she became administrative director of the School of Kinesiology.

As a civil service professional who now supervises several civil service and bargaining unit staff members, Haessly is characterized as extremely competent, committed, innovative, and passionate about her job. She believes in the value contributed by CSBU employees and refers to CSBU staff as "the engine that keeps the University train running."

Haessly's contributions to improve the work environment for CSBU staff began in her own school with processes to mediate conflict and improve communication among the staff. Innovations that simplified and streamlined administrative processes also contributed to a more productive and satisfying work environment for the CSBU staff members who implement various campus operations. Haessly's innovative practices regarding payroll, data collection, and instructor and graduate assistant appointments have been shared with other department administrators--yet another way that her work extends beyond her position to the institution as a whole.

"The University is recognizing us for the lasting value of the way we do our jobs--putting all we have into supporting the faculty, students, and our fellow workers," Haessly says. "I am deeply appreciative and proud of being a part of the civil service employee group."

For more information about the award and a link to the nomination form, see Civil Service and Bargaining Unit Staff Award.


Heather Powell chairs the Civil Service Committee communications and publications subcommittee. She is applications systems manager at the U Card Office, Twin Cities campus.