Two outstanding staff members were recognized this spring for their exemplary work in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Wendy Wilde, department administrator in sociology, and Gail Fleischaker, finance and personnel manager in resource economics, were this year’s awardees.
The Outstanding Staff Award is given to those who have made an impact on SBS by fostering a collaborative environment, creating a positive work environment, implementing innovative work processes or systems and exemplifying integrity and dedication.
This is Wilde’s 35th year at UMass Amherst, and her colleagues are vehement about her being an irreplaceable part of their team and the UMass community. One colleague says, “I will occasionally think the unthinkable – ‘What if Wendy left our program?’ The answer is always astoundingly simple: we would be unmoored, lost at sea.”
Wilde is known for building collaborative relationships across campus and is seen as the bearer of the sociology department’s “institutional memory.” She also has a talent for identifying and solving problems – in many cases before they have a chance to cause trouble.
Wilde says she feels humbled by receiving this award. “Of my 35 years on campus, 20 years have been with SBS where opportunities for professional growth are encouraged,” she says. “I would like to thank the college, my colleagues who nominated me, and the selection committee for this incredible honor.”
Fleischaker started at UMass in 2009, just as resource economics was moving from the Isenberg School of Management to SBS.
“I was originally hired as an office manager but my job has morphed a good bit since then,” she says. “My overall job is to take care of basic operational procedures in the department – to accomplish things for faculty so they can spend all their time and energy on teaching, research and service.”
Her colleagues raved about her in their nominations, with one proclaiming, “I could not imagine how she could possibly exemplify the honorific ‘Outstanding Staff’ to any higher degree.”
Fleischaker’s positive spirit and willingness to tackle complex projects wee cited as making her a natural choice for this award.