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Brian Nussbaum, Sarah Rowe honored as recipients of School of Education Staff Excellence Awards

Brian Nussbaum (left) Sarah Rowe (right)

UNC School of Education staff members Brian Nussbaum and Sarah Rowe were honored as the 2023-24 recipients of the School’s Staff Excellence Awards at an end-of-semester celebration on May 9.

Established in 2020, the Staff Excellence Awards showcase the excellence, commitment, and contributions of staff members in enhancing the School’s community and supporting its mission. Nominations are made by faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Brian Nussbaum

Nussbaum, director of information technology, joined the School of Education in 2022 as the lead technology systems support specialist after being part of the University community for more than ten years and accumulating more than 20 years of experience in the information technology field. Prior to joining the School, Nussbaum worked as the desktop support and help desk manager at the UNC School of Information and Library Science and as a tech support analyst for the UNC Computer Repair Center.

Nussbaum develops and executes the strategic and operational plan for the IT unit within the School; provides technical support to faculty, staff, and students; and serves as a technical advisor to School leadership, faculty, staff, and campus partners.

One nominator shared that Nussbaum “finds solutions to everyday problems that make every person in the School’s jobs easier.”

That same nominator continued: “He has the ability to balance immediate needs with long-term projects with the utmost professional flexibility. I am pleased with the service that is provided every time I have an issue that is frustrating, and I find Brian an excellent colleague to brainstorm creative solutions to problems with.”

Another nominator wrote: “Brian Nussbaum consistently goes ‘beyond the call of duty’ to not only complete tasks, but to make sure they are completed to the highest standard. His commitment to the School is shown through his consistent hard work, positive attitude, and his unwavering dependability. Brian is a true leader and is not only respected by his colleagues, but he is seen as a mentor to many.”

Another said: “Brian is a skilled technology professional that the School is lucky to have. He has been kind and welcoming to me as a new employee and helped me feel at home. Even though the demands on his office are considerable, he finds time to aid our team.”

Sarah Rowe

Rowe, interim assistant dean for student affairs and director of advising and student engagement, joined the School in 2023 and has been at the University since 2011. Before joining the School, Rowe worked as an academic advisor and assistant director in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences Advising Program, where she guided students across various majors and pre-professional tracks. Rowe also previously worked as the community director in Carolina Housing, supervising and advising student leaders on campus.

As part of the School community, Rowe advises students on course selection, academic progress, and career paths and develops and implements programs to promote student engagement and success. Additionally, Rowe works closely with faculty, advisors, career counselors, and student support services professionals to ensure that students have a thriving college experience.

A nominator called Rowe “the rock that students can rely on.”

The same nominator continued: “Her availability, even during busy times, is a testament to her dedication. Her flexibility ensures that students receive timely support. Her optimism is contagious, as Sarah approaches challenges and difficult conversations with grace and positivity. In addition, Sarah actively seeks opportunities to enhance her skills, and always shares these opportunities with me so that I can develop as an advisor as well.”

Another nominator wrote: “Sarah’s impact on students is immeasurable. As a guiding light for the Undergraduate Advisory Council and Kappa Delta Pi, she has had a strong impact on the direction and pace of student engagement. Her personalized approach ensures that each student feels seen, heard, and supported.”

Another shared: “Sarah’s proactive mindset sets her apart. She anticipates challenges and takes swift action to resolve them. Her ability to address potential issues before they impact students demonstrates her commitment to their success. As a true team player, Sarah collaborates seamlessly with colleagues. Her leadership and initiative inspire me to strive for excellence and to work more collaboratively toward shared goals.”

The committee that reviewed the nominations and proposed the awardees included School of Education staff members Karren Crawford, Jia Heiny, Leigh Anna Hutchison, Gail Kinley, and Laurie Norman. The committee members are also previous recipients of the Staff Excellence Award.

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