Letter from Tim Haab, AEDE Department Chair

Over the past few newsletters I have updated you on the state of the department, some of the successes of our students, and the changing faces of our faculty. This month I want to take the time recognize the engine that keeps AEDE running: our staff. As any of our faculty will attest, without our outstanding staff, the faculty would not be able to do what they do so effectively, nor would we have gained such an outstanding reputation for service to students.

In the past month our student services staff members have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to students. On April 7, Gina Hnytka, our Program Manager for the EEDS major and AEDE’s undergraduate and graduate programs, received the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Outstanding Service to Students Award for her leadership in founding and leading the SUSTAINS Learning Community (SUSTAINS stands for Students Understanding Sustainability and Taking Action to Improve Nature and Society). On April 27, Holly Hall, our Undergraduate Program Coordinator, was recognized by the Academic Advising Association of The Ohio State University as a nominee for the OSU Outstanding Advisor Award. Holly joined AEDE in 2014 and quickly established herself as one of the premier undergraduate advisors at Ohio State. Holly was even brave enough this year to serve as the staff advisor for the Agribusiness Club on their annual club trip to Texas.

In addition to our outstanding student services staff, we are lucky enough to have dedicated staff members pushing AEDE forward in our communications and outreach efforts (Nicole Pierron Rasul) and IT (Joel Yoder). Our business office has continued to run smoothly, and set an example for other units under the leadership of Joan Weber and the support of Janice DiCarolis, Ana Crespo and Mary Roberts.

As has been a theme over the past few newsletters, change will be the operative word for AEDE’s staff moving forward. In February, Joan Weber announced her retirement, effective May 1, 2016. Joan has been a dedicated OSU employee since 1987 and has been with AEDE for over 20 of those years. I can personally attest, based on six years working closely with Joan, that Joan has been the key to AEDE’s success over the past 20 years. Joan’s professionalism, her attention to detail, her willingness to stand up for AEDE’s faculty, staff and students (some might call that stubbornness, but I call it the key to success), and her impressive body of knowledge and understanding of AEDE and OSU rules, regulations and procedures have made AEDE a model department for business operations for other units in the College and across the University. I want to personally thank Joan for her service to the University and more importantly for helping to keep my head above water for the past six years. Joan will be missed in the office but her dedication over these past six years has established a business operation that we are confident will continue to operate smoothly as Joan enjoys her time on the golf course.

With Joan’s retirement and recent changes to CFAES human resources and fiscal operations, we are pleased to welcome three new staff members to AEDE. 

Cheryl Lyman is joining AEDE in the role of Fiscal Officer. Cheryl’s primary role will be oversight of AEDE’s fiscal operations and serving as final approver for AEDE’s fiscal transactions. Cheryl joins us having served previously in fiscal and budget positions with the city of Columbus and Otterbein University (among others). 

Brandi Gilbert-Hammett is joining AEDE in the role of Human Resources Generalist. Brandi currently serves multiple units in CFAES and will have primary responsibilities for AEDE human resource related activities. 

Marlene Poches joined AEDE on April 25 in the role of Administrative Office Manager. Marlene is joining us after most recently serving as the Executive Assistant to the Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. Fortunately for us, Marlene got tired of the Seattle lifestyle and landscape and instead decided to take advantage of the natural beauty of central Ohio. Marlene will be managing AEDE business and administrative operations.

Despite many changes, I am confident that we have in place an outstanding staff that is dedicated to providing the support to which our students and faculty have become accustomed. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated people and I hope you will all join me in thanking our staff for their continued dedication to ensuring AEDE is the model department at OSU.

Next time you see one of our staff members in the hallway or out and about make sure you give them a high-five or a fist bump and a simple, "Thanks for all that you do."