Staff Excellence Awards

Excerpts are from Dean Barron’s remarks at the annual Jackson School Awards Ceremony April 24, 2008.

Wanda LaPlante, Bureau of Economic Geology

Sixteen different individuals sent in nominations, and they used words like always positive, always ready, masterful time manager, delightful, wise, tactful, gracious, loyal, dedicated, invaluable. “I do a better job because of her.” “She never lets anything fall through the cracks.”

One nominator wrote: “She maintains the director’s presence even when he travels the world …. I often think if she were not here leaving the lamp burning in the watch that Scott would not be able to find his way home.”

Tinley Hald, Department of Geological Sciences

The nominators heaped similar praise on Tinley whether they were faculty or fellow staff. One nominator stressed Tinley’s tremendous work ethic, professionalism and sensitivity. Another noted how quickly she has become a go-to person in the department. Another stressed the timely fashion in which critical jobs were being completed.

Judy Sansom, Institute for Geophysics

The nominators consistently praised her enthusiasm and found it remarkable that one individual could combine a no-nonsense, get-the-job-done, step-in-when-needed attitude with such a warm personality that is always looking out for everyone.

So many people from so many parts of the Institute nominated her to be on the search committee for the new director of UTIG — that it is a vote of confidence for a task in which the rubber truly meets the road — the selection of a new leader.

Lauren Darcy, Dean’s Office

Lauren’s colleagues say wonderful words about her – she accomplishes a tremendous amount of work without fanfare. Lauren has a way of maintaining the most professional demeanor when dealing with any person who enters the dean’s office. She is positive and helpful even when the request is outside her normal duties.

She provides a warm welcome even though she is constantly interrupted, and despite the many distractions she always strives for perfection.

 

Jackson School Service Awards

Jamie Austin, Institute for Geophysics

Jamie is a very productive and energetic research scientist, being honored for his service to the profession.

The Ocean Drilling Program is the largest and longest-running international scientific program in the world.

Now listen to Jamie’s roles:

  • Chief scientist of two legs
  • Head of the JOIDES Office
  • Planning Committee chair
  • Transition committee member when ODP became IODP
  • Advisory committee for developing riser-based drilling
  • Advisory committee on alternative drilling platforms in addition to the main ship
  • Interim director of IODP, numerous committees that reviewed drilling proposals
  • Office of Naval Research steering committee for U.S. coastal water drilling
  • And too many planning committees to mention.

The IODP completed a historic scientific drilling transect in the high Arctic (the Lomonosov Ridge) with three icebreakers in 2004; Dr. Austin was involved in planning for that expedition. Furthermore, Dr. Austin is currently negotiating with industry on behalf of the central management of IODP to conduct further scientific investigations of the Arctic with IODP drilling assets. Tonight we honor two decades of unfailing service to the profession through Jamie Austin’s commitment to the Ocean Drilling Program and the geologic exploration of the oceans.

Martin Jackson, for service to the Jackson School

Martin is again an exceptional scientist, but he is also exceptional in his commitment to a successful marriage of the three units in the Jackson School.

Some examples of his service:

  • Implementation Committee to formulate the Charter of the Jackson School
  • Member and chair of the first JSG External Appointments Committee
  • Vice-chair of the JSG Strategic Planning Council
  • Member of the JSG Dean’s Search Committee
  • Chair of the Thematic Search Committee for Energy.

Martin has participated in the key enterprises that help us all be more successful. He has invested an incredible amount of time in improving the collective. I hope that with this award, it is clear how much we value his commitment to the Jackson School.

 

Jackson School Research Awards

Paul Mann, Institute for Geophysics

Paul is being recognized for a body of work — as one of the world’s leading scholars on the geology of the Caribbean. He has published a remarkable 32 papers since 2005 and edited or co-edited four collections of papers — three GSA special paper volumes and one AAPG Bulletin special issue.

He has involved a significant number of students and former students in this research as mentor or co-author (supervising seven since 2005). This research continues with a million dollar industry consortium focusing on the geology and hydrocarbon potential of the Caribbean.

Bob Loucks, Bureau of Economic Geology

Bob has had an impressive career, including a distinguished period of contributions at Mobil, Cities Service and ARCO. We could focus on his research projects involving a wide range of sedimentary systems. We could focus on the role he plays in the STARR program that truly enables successful oil and gas exploration in Texas. We make special note of the degree to which his peers recognize the value of his contributions. This is an award for impact which can be summarized in one simple sentence: Bob has been honored nearly 20 times with best paper or best talk awards by professional societies.

Steve Grand, Department of Geological Sciences and the Institute for Geophysics

Here is a sentence from his nomination, included because it is so well stated: “Some achieve distinctive stature in a field by virtue of the steady accumulation of incremental advances that produce, in the aggregate, a new view of the science; others vault to the top on the basis of an extraordinary insight that instantly shifts the way we think about the earth.

“Steve’s new approach to seismic imaging of the mantle using regional shear-wave tomography, broke away from tradition, and revealed the fate of subducted slabs as they sink beneath the continents” — this noteworthy achievement is chronicled in four landmark, and highly cited, papers.

 

Jackson School Teaching Award

Bill Carlson, Department of Geological Sciences

The Jackson School has quite a few honors that are designed to recognize teaching, but this teaching award is worded a little differently. It focuses on any element of teaching and mentoring that enables the next generation of scholars.

This award does not simply reinforce an accumulation of teaching honors, but is designed more to recognize a specific achievement or contribution. We honor Bill as the instrumental individual for the creation of the Honors Program for our undergraduates.

This program, in its short tenure, has had enormous impact on some very bright students. It is of the caliber that it helps us attract exceptional students. It is of the caliber that it enables our students to compete for positions at top schools and for outstanding jobs. It is truly a commitment that goes outside of the classroom.

This award is viewed as a team effort — the first thing Bill will tell you is that it would be impossible without Chris Bell’s efforts and that Mark Cloos has instantly been at the ready to help make the students experience truly outstanding. But everyone pointed to Bill’s leadership as being instrumental in ensuring that we have an outstanding program.

For more information about the Jackson School contact J.B. Bird at jbird@jsg.utexas.edu, 512-232-9623.