Oct. 26, 2009
Luther College President Richard Torgerson announced the recipients of the Luther Staff Excellence Award for 2009, honoring JoEllen Anderson and Steve Arneson at a ceremony held in conjunction with the college’s annual Staff Appreciation Day in August.
The Staff Excellence Award recognizes exemplary performance by staff members who consistently excel in their positions and demonstrate integrity and a strong commitment to the mission and values of Luther.
Anderson is director of Luther Student Health Service, and Arneson is the trades work coordinator in Luther’s Facilities Services.
As part of the award, each recipient will be granted an individualized educational opportunity, funded by the college. The college works with award winners to pursue an opportunity in an area of special interest.
Past winners have participated in January-term study-abroad programs, spring break service-learning trips, summer courses off campus, Luther music ensemble tours, unique professional development opportunities, or semester-long courses on campus.
Staff Excellence Award candidates are nominated by their staff and faculty colleagues, and recipients are selected by the college administrative and support staff committees.
Award recipients are chosen for outstanding performance of their professional duties to further the mission of the college. Award winners have consistently performed at a level above and beyond normal job requirements.
Anderson joined the Luther staff in 1999 as the director of student health service. An advanced registered nurse practitioner, she consistently focuses on the direct care and health education for students.
She serves on Luther’s Wellness Council, Health Care Council and the Pandemic Planning Committee. She collaborates with Luther’s Student Academic Support Center, Luther Counseling Services and other departments to insure that students who are struggling get the physical and mental health care they need. She is also involved with parent orientation each summer.
According to her colleagues, Anderson is especially gifted at listening and helping students who have life difficulties. A few years ago an international student who was having difficulties connected with Anderson and asked if she could visit her weekly. Over the course of about three years, briefly at times, Anderson met with this student every week as a “check-in” that complemented other campus services. Three years after the student graduated from Luther she returned to the U.S. and Decorah to talk with her mentor, JoEllen Anderson. Employees in Student Life are sure that this student would not have graduated if not for Anderson’s care and guidance.
Arneson joined the Luther staff in 1990 as physical plant office manager. Throughout the years he has held titles of office coordinator, office manager and now trades work coordinator. Regardless of title, Arneson has always been seen as a key player in facilities services. He finishes projects in a timely and well-coordinated fashion.
Arneson’s supervisors describe him as effective and efficient. He is always willing to accept additional responsibilities such as the renovation of Jenson-Noble Music Hall.
Employees describe Arneson as very knowledgeable and reliable. He cares about the students and Luther and goes out of his way to resolve problems. One employee thinks of Arneson in terms of the HyVee commercial slogan “a helpful smile in every aisle” or re-phased as “Steve offers a helpful smile in every building on campus.”