2021 Dean’s Award for Staff Excellence Recipients



Congratulations to Cam Cronin, Heather Tam, Jonathan Lee, Kathryn Stagg, and Nick Smolinski on being awarded the 2021 Dean’s Award for Staff Excellence.

This annual award recognizes exceptional staff contributions in carrying out the academic mission of the Faculty of Arts through support in administrative, technical and other specialized areas. The Dean’s Award for Staff Excellence is open to all staff in Arts. Recipients receive $1,500 and an engraved plaque, in recognition of their many contributions to the Faculty of Arts.


image URL

Cam Cronin, Administrator, Department of Theatre and Film

Cam Cronin, Administrator, Department of Theatre and Film

As Administrator of the Department of Theatre and Film, Cam Cronin is described as the “beating heart” of the unit. One colleague describes him as “friendly, many-headed hydra,” tackling a variety of tasks and supporting a broad spectrum of programs, all with dedication and cheer. He ensures that all programs, events, films, and shows run smoothly.

Cam is always thinking up ways to create a positive culture in Theatre and Film, whether he’s having T-shirts made or cooking up his famous “Cam’s Hams” on the barbecue. It is this generosity, thoughtfulness, and commitment that makes him the spirit of the department.

Cam is also a source of support and expertise beyond his home unit. He is active in the Arts Administrators’ Community of Practice, offering advice “with affability and a wicked sense of humour.” He was instrumental in setting up the Arts Service Centre, and brings care and dedication to every task he performs.


image URL

Heather Tam, Senior Program Assistant, Public Humanities Hub

Heather Tam, Senior Program Assistant, Public Humanities Hub

Heather’s work within the Dean’s Office in the Faculty and the Public Humanities Hub has been a fine example of a staff person who is truly committed to the success of the Faculty of Arts. A student commented, “working with Heather was a rare opportunity and it will remain one of my fondest and most inspiring memories from my time at UBC.” Faculty note that Heather is “an outstanding administrator and a standard-setter for effective organization” and how especially appreciative they were of her work with graduate assistants. A former Associate Dean wrote: “Heather’s stellar performance is a good reminder of the vital role that our staff play not only in making the faculty function well and stay on track, but also in the intellectual life of the university.”


image URL

Jonathan Lee, Advisor, Arts Academic Advising

Jonathan Lee, Advisor, Arts Academic Advising

Over his four years in Arts Academic Advising, Jono has made enormous contributions to the unit, to students and to the faculty. Every student in the BA, BFA, BIE, BMS degree programs has been served by Jono’s meticulous work, without ever knowing the hours, intelligence, and care he puts into making these processes happen flawlessly. Nominators celebrated his remarkable compassion, generosity of spirit, and incredible breadth of knowledge of the faculty.

Jono approaches everything he does with a focus on service and community, and has worked to improve complex systems and processes for students, faculty and staff by first really understanding the user’s specific needs. One nominator wrote: “For good reason, he is known across the faculty as a ‘glue guy’ for his ability to create community, bridge divides, celebrate differences, and build others up.” Students describe how Jono’s demeanour eases anxieties, with one writing: “it always felt like I had someone quietly cheering me on, and working in the background, thinking of me.”


Kathryn Stagg, Director, Arts Human Resources

In the time of Workday, COVID, and a multitude of other challenges, Kathryn is an exemplary colleague who brings her calm, creative, energetic self to every situation. “There will never be enough good things we can say about Kathryn and the individualized support she has provided,” wrote one of her nominators. “When you are ankle-deep, Kathryn is already opening up her toolbox and getting to work to stem the flow.” Appreciated by her colleagues, Kathryn is ready and willing to support, fix, and generally go well beyond what is expected. “She is smart, professional, and resourceful; she navigates endless challenges with unwavering energy, patience and creativity.”


image URL

Nick Smolinski, Safety & Environment Advisor, Dean’s Office

Nick Smolinski, Safety & Environment Advisor, Dean’s Office

Nick has been an exceptional staff member who consistently goes above and beyond to help units within the Faculty of Arts achieve a healthy and safe environment. His work during the pandemic has been nothing short of heroic and continues to be a great support to units. In their joint letter of support, Arts Administrators wrote: “Nick’s ability to adapt to extraordinary circumstances and his real concern for the welfare of all members of Arts make him an ideal colleague and truly deserving recipient of the Dean of Arts Award for Staff Excellence.”