Chancellor's Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University Winners
|2001/2002||Janet "Dolly" Biskup|
2015 Chancellor's Award for Staff Excellence Winner
Brian Root began his career at Pitt-Greensburg as a student, graduating in 2004 with a BA in English writing. He went on to earn a master’s in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and returned to Pitt-Greensburg to serve as resident director from 2006 to 2009. After a year away from the campus, he returned in the summer of 2010 as the assistant director of Housing and Residence Life.
In addition to his responsibilities in Residence Life & Housing, Root serves as the director of the Outdoor Adventure & Community Service (OACS) living community, as well as the advisor to the Circle K Club and the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, where he leads the campus’ primary Alternative Spring Break Trip (through Habitat for Humanity). Root is Pitt-Greensburg’s Employee Campaign Coordinator for the United Way Campaign. He also is a member of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association’s (PGAA) Board.
A past board member of Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity, Root currently serves as president of the Kiwanis Club of Greensburg and is a “big” with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Laurel Region. He and Troy Ross, Pitt-Greensburg’s director of Residence Life & Housing, serve as the campus co-chairs for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes, which brings hundreds of people to Pitt-Greensburg’s campus to support JDRF.
A native of Transfer, PA, who lives in Greensburg, he is the son of Diane Heckman of Transfer, PA, and Stan Root, of Sharon, PA.
Sheila Confer, MA, coordinator of the MAP-Works Retention Initiative and assistant director of the Academic Village, is one of four recipients of the 2014 Chancellor’s Awards for Staff Excellence in Service to the University.
Confer’s many roles at Pitt-Greensburg share a common theme: improving students’ experiences and success. She coordinates the MAP-Works Retention Initiative, a program designed to help students do well and stay in school. As assistant director of the Academic Village, which offers a unique living experience to high-achieving students, she has established a mentor program and inspired Village students to volunteer in the community. She also teaches classes in the theatre arts department, has served as the theatre lighting designer, and is an advisor to several student organizations. She received Pitt-Greensburg’s President’s Distinguished Service Award for Staff in 2013.
“Sheila continually demonstrates the energy, creativity, and dedication of five people. She fires the imagination of all who have the privilege of knowing and working with her and builds like-minded individuals to achieve important goals,” said Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of Pitt-Greensburg.
Confer began working at Pitt-Greensburg in 1999 as an Academic advisor and became Academic Village coordinator in 2006. She is an active member of a number of community organizations, both on campus and off. Outside the campus, her service has ranged from the YWCA of Westmoreland County to the Conemaugh Valley Conservatory. She is now also beginning her studies for her doctorate.
The Academic Villages have been a signature of Pitt-Greensburg for over a decade. They were completely re-imagined several years ago, and Confer played an important part in that endeavor which preserved what was best while implementing a vigorous and exciting new intellectual and living design.
As assistant director of the Academic Village, Ms. Confer has helped foster an engaging living and learning environment, raising the quality and quantity of Village programming while containing the cost of lecturers and performers through careful contract negotiations. She has helped empower the students who live in the Village to take serious responsibility for their living environment. She has established a Village Mentor Program that both contributes to student retention and helps foster leadership among the upperclassmen. In a similar vein, she serves as coordinator and advisor for the Presidential Ambassadors who play a key leadership role on campus.
Confer has played an important part in helping foster a tolerant and welcoming atmosphere on campus for gay, lesbian, and transgender students--both on her own and through the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity. She serves as advisor for the Gay/Straight Alliance and co-initiated the Allies Network Training program that has trained over 90 faculty, staff, and students on ways to ensure a safe environment in this regard.
Confer, a native of Latrobe, PA, who lives in Greensburg with her partner Bruce Cox, received a $2,500 cash prize. She is the daughter of Wayne and Edwinna (Eddy) Confer of Latrobe.