Kate Reynolds Receives 2020 Excellence in Leadership Staff Award

October 20, 2020

Watercolor of Kate ReynoldsCongratulations to Kate Reynolds, Senior Administrative Assistant for African and African American Studies, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, and Philosophy, who is receiving the 2020 Excellence in Leadership Staff award (formerly the Lee Thurber award). Recipients of all of the 2020 Staff Awards will be recognized in a virtual event on November 20.

Kate clearly demonstrates the criteria for the Excellence in Leadership Award

  • Makes contributions that support and serve the mission, vision, and values of the university and its strategic priorities;
  • demonstrates exemplary work behaviors, leadership, and commitment to excellence, and inspires others to excel;
  • demonstrates awareness and appreciation of individual differences;
  • promotes inclusiveness and collaboration; treats others with respect and dignity, and recognizes the unique importance of all persons.

From the nomination letter submitted by Maria Carl, on behalf of the Department of Philosophy:

“For us, Kate epitomizes the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis in all of her interactions with students, staff, and faculty.”

More from the nomination:

“Kate Reynolds came to Seattle U in 1985 and first worked in Admissions as a data entry operator. She moved to the College of Arts and Sciences in 1990 as an administrative assistant for the Philosophy Department. Remarkably, she just completed her 30th year of continuous exceptional work with Philosophy. During this time, she has also worked with Criminal Justice, Environmental Studies, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, African and African American Studies (formerly Global African Studies), Catholic Studies, the University Core, and most recently the College of Arts and Sciences Associate Deans. In spite of managing a significant workload, Kate is also generous in service: She just concluded three years of work on the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Budget Advisory Committee and began serving as co-chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Staff Committee.

“Kate handles a wide array of department-level tasks with uncommon grace. She takes the lead on scheduling our c. 90 UCOR classes each year, coordinating with the College of Nursing and the University Honors program, and managing our department’s crosslisted classes. She also is responsible for designing teaching schedules for our nontenure track faculty, both full and part time…

“…In addition to her regular work, Kate is also responsible for managing a number of major events on campus including the Philosophy Department’s Endowed Lecture in Human Values and African and African American Studies’ Africa Day. She has coordinated the SU Africa Day celebration for nearly 20 years…

“..More than one colleague notes that she is “always there” for us and for our students, that we depend on her advice in a myriad of ways, and we rely especially on her detailed understanding of how the University works. Philosophy Instructor Eric Severson writes, “Somehow, even though she is remarkably busy, Kate always has time for the many people who come to her desk. She is sensitive and caring, genuinely invested in the lives of the people with whom she works.”

“Jason Wirth, Professor of Philosophy, highlights Kate’s work with the A and S Leadership Committee on Intersectionality and Justice and with the Faculty Staff Senate: He notes, “She is the person that everyone automatically turns to for help, insight, institutional memory, and support. She lives the mission not only in her work, but in her activism.” We note that Kate has found ways to integrate her work at SU with her longstanding personal commitment to combating racism. One clear example is her association with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. After Dean Powers provided opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to attend the Institute’s signature Undoing Racism workshops, Kate followed up on this effort by helping to start and organize a social justice reading group for staff who completed the workshop; the reading group is now open to all staff.”

 “For us, Kate epitomizes the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis in all of her interactions with students, staff, and faculty.”

Additional testimonials

“Kate has worked with many colleagues in Arts and Sciences in different capacities and is appreciated by everyone, no small accomplishment. She is known for her understanding of the College and its systems and for her generosity: she is always willing to share her knowledge and train others, even colleagues who do not work directly with her. In the past couple of years she was the administrative support for the College of Arts and Sciences Strategic Planning Committee, which I co-chaired. It was a pleasure to work with her. Beyond her work at SU, though, I'd like to emphasize Kate's commitment to equity and justice and her activism in this regard. Kate works for justice in her community as a trusted ally and has encouraged many of us to join her in this work. She does not simply talk about the mission of the university; she realizes the mission. I support her nomination with enthusiasm.” – Maria Bullon-Fernandez, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

“Although Kate Reynolds’ time is not primarily dedicated to Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies, I am sure Kate does many things for IDLS that I never see and do not know about. What I do know is that she is always cheerfully and professionally there for me (us) when I request something – scheduling assistance, a course change, a room for a meeting, reimbursement, a connection on campus, marketing/printing, communicating with majors, etc. Most importantly, she is there for me when I ask her opinion or advice about how to approach a pressing matter… and I do ask her advice! I have worked directly with Kate in one way or another since 1999, starting with my position as an adjunct professor in the philosophy department. When I think of SU – when I picture the important people in it – Kate Reynolds is front and center in that picture. She has experience and wisdom that cannot be replicated or replaced, and that I value very highly both personally and for my program. “-- Sven Arvidson, Professor and Director, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies

“Kate Reynolds is simply an outstanding administrative coordinator. For years, Kate has gone way beyond the scope of her duties to assist other colleagues and departments and has taken numerous leadership roles. She is incredibly knowledgeable about administrative work at Seattle University and always generously shares her knowledge and know-how with other colleagues, whether it’s about budget, course scheduling, deadlines, forms, onboarding new staff members, community outreach, or a myriad of other subjects. Especially in the absence of a College-wide structured staff onboarding and training process, Kate has been an indispensable mentor to new staff members including the new administrative assistants Joanna Mendoza and Melissa Poquiz of History and Political Science. She also volunteered to fill in as a temporary administrative assistant for History and Political Science twice in the last three years, while searches were conducted to hire new administrative assistants. Whenever I or many other chairs are stumped about something, we ask Kate, and I have yet to have an experience when her answer is “I don’t know.” She has also done an astounding amount of service, not only by serving in numerous important committees but also doing outreach to the broader community. She keeps community e-mail lists that have been indispensable for publicizing on-campus events relating to Global African Studies and other academic programs. She is endlessly resourceful, and times of crisis are no exception, whether it is printing outage or the current pandemic. She is a member of the Seattle University community to be treasured and recognized for all the contributions she has made to make the jobs of her colleagues easier, more efficient, and productive”. –Hazel Hahn, Professor and Chair, Department of History

“Kate Reynolds is one of the best-known administrative assistants in the College of Arts and Sciences. As chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department (THRS) and a longtime faculty member, I have seen our THRS administrative assistants turn to her for guidance on many things, including major department projects, such as a Program Review. Her consistent willingness to assist new administrative assistants helps new staff members find their footing in what seems at first to be slippery terrain. She has the respect of both faculty and staff as well as the gratitude of chairs outside of her department because of how she is a resource to administrative assistants throughout the college. Kate is generous and highly effective, a person most deserving of this recognition. “– Donna Teevan, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Theology and Religious Studies

“Kate is always a smile and willingness to help. She shares her wealth of knowledge freely and kindly, and even with all the responsibility on her shoulders, she is always present to offer her assistance. This summer of 2020 she graciously offered to serve in the Modern Languages and Cultures Department as our Senior Administrative Assistant. It was even more work for her but she she did it for the well-being of the community and I truly believe that her impeccable work and generosity should be recognized and celebrated. She consistently gives good advice and is a wonderful support for students, her fellow staff colleagues, and the faculty alike. I am deeply grateful for her warmhearted nature and her help during this summer, and throughout all these years.” -- Sonia Barrios Tinoco, Assistant Professor and Chair, Modern Languages and Cultures

“Kate has been a leader in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) for 30 years. She occupies multiple assigned roles requiring her to manage the sometimes-conflicting needs of multiple units and to work amiably with multiple supervisors. In addition, Kate has taken on important voluntary leadership roles. She recently served on the Budget Advisory Committee, Co-Chairs the CAS Staff Committee, and supports the CAS Faculty-Staff Senate. Yet there is another, undesignated CAS leadership role that Kate has held for over 20 years; she is the unofficial Lead Administrative Assistant. It is Kate’s work in this role that Psychology especially wishes to recognize. Kate is the person all of CAS turns to for help. Kate has developed a deep, broad knowledge of how the institution works, officially and practically. And  remarkably, she can access this knowledge off the top of her head. Psychology has had several different Administrative Assistants in the last few years. Each one has sought help from Kate repeatedly, and with each one, and at each time, Kate was kind and helpful. Extraordinarily, Kate’s efficiency is accompanied by warmth, humor, and care. She is unfailingly kind and helpful to all – a new student, a guest, a Dean. She embodies the best of Seattle University and shares that in every way she can. What better leadership is there?” – Kathleen Cook, Professor and Chair, Psychology

“Kate is an invaluable part of the College of Arts and Science’s Faculty Staff Senate. In title, Kate is our administrative support and she does that job well. She’s a key force coordinating what we do, reminding us when something has slipped and helping us communicate with the college. Kate’s role goes beyond that though because she’s known and trusted by so many people. She’s been vital in our ability to reach out to more staff members and her presence in the group adds a wisdom and a level of trust we wouldn’t have without her. Her work is excellent and she is an asset to our college and university.” -- Christopher A. Paul, Professor, Communication Department, President, Faculty Staff Senate

“For over two decades, I have been grateful for the interactions with the beautiful people here, who have made Seattle University an outstanding institution. There are many such beautiful people. Among the top five or ten who have blessed my life the most has been Kate Reynolds, who has served Seattle University since 1985!  There are many precious qualities about Kate. She is highly effective in a wide range of tasks, from the mundane to the complicated, and I have never needed to remind her. One time I mentioned to her that I would like to learn from the Catholic Studies programs at our peer Jesuit institutions. Within a few weeks, she assembled all the most useful resources from their websites and evaluated them. Without her, I would not have been able to run the Catholic Studies minor. Let me explain why. The range of Catholic experience among Seattle University is wide. One student has been a religious sister for decades, and another student wonder whether the two words “Jesuit Catholic” on the description of Seattle University mean the same thing. The only way to serve them well is to tailor the program to every student. That also reflects the cura personalis of our Jesuit Catholic education tradition. That means we need to follow not only every student, but every possible course that may serve as part of the Catholic Studies minor. I am not blessed with much organizational skills, so I regularly need to check in with Kate about each student. Instead of taking that as a nuisance, she always laughs and consoles me instead. When we have a time, we chat about own lives—the joys and the struggles. Such sharing is precious.” – Lê X. Hy, Director, Catholic Studies Minor

Image: Watercolor by Jacqueline Helfgott, PhD.