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A virtual recognition ceremony was held to honor faculty and staff at Niagara County Community College (NCCC) on Thursday, Feb. 3. During the event, a special acknowledgment featured the recipients of the 2020-21 SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. These annual awards are honors conferred to acknowledge and provide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence within the State University of New York (SUNY) system.
Donna Simiele was recognized for Excellence in Classified Service. Cheri Yager was recognized for Excellence in Professional Service.
Simiele has been an employee of NCCC since 1986, working in various roles to support the college, its faculty and students. A press release stated, “She has been an invaluable team member in online learning, serving as the campus leader in training faculty to meet the accessibility requirements for delivery of online content. She participates in numerous SUNY groups and training to keep up on her own professional development, and stays abreast of the technology, compliance requirements, and best practices in the advancement of online education.
“Donna has always provided quality training and support to faculty, but when COVID-19 struck and the college needed to go fully remote, she kicked into crisis mode, and worked tirelessly days, nights, and even on weekends to support faculty in moving to this new instructional medium. Her department of online learning supported 140 section of online and blended courses, and this past fall supported 82% of all course’s offerings in the online, hybrid and blended modes.”
Her supervisor, Lisa Dubuc, added, “As if she did not already show her commitment to NCCC through all her previous years, this year she was one of the most dedicated and flexible employees I’ve ever worked with.”
NCCC continued, “Through Donna’s excellent customer service skills, she has built an excellent rapport with faculty, staff and students. She is a true professional committed to the NCCC community, and proved herself to be deserving of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service.”
Yager has dedicated her life to nursing for over 40 years, and has supported NCCC since 1992. NCCC explained, “As the Wellness Center nurse, Cheri has contact with students, faculty, staff, administrators, children in the child development center, and visitors. The Wellness Center and her role there have evolved over the years to better serve the needs of the community and now includes counseling services.
“In the spring of 2020, Cheri took a lead role in ensuring safety on campus amidst the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. She has afforded her expertise and research into the COVID transmission, representation on the NCCC reopening committee, and development of procedures and protocols specific to COVID. She supplied her personal cell phone and access for consult when other campus departments were closed for any person who had questions pertaining to accessing campus when we had COVID screening protocols in place. She even used her personal vehicle and credit card to help secure PPE for the college.
“Cheri was instrumental in getting NARCAN and AED units on campus as standards of care have necessitated this transition. She put together emergency NARCAN boxes for the campus and student housing to allow NCCC to be the first college in the area to have such a resource. Additionally, Cheri contributes in the nursing curriculum advisory board at NCCC. Cheri’s dedication to the health and safety of the NCCC community is evident, and she truly embodies the standards of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.”