How staff members serve the community

Monday, March 8, 2021

Engagement in the community has long been vital to the work accomplished at UNC Charlotte. Over the years, many of our employees have dedicated time and effort to make communities in and around the Charlotte area a better place.

Every year, UNC Charlotte recognizes an employee who has made outstanding contributions by participating in or implementing community and public service projects, such as volunteering with various non-profit organizations. These characteristics fall under the “community and public service” category out of the five categories of awards through the Staff Employee of the Year Program

Diana Hill, Ashley Williams Clark, Jordan Harris and Tamara Johnson are a few examples of employees who are dedicated to serve the community.

In 2020, Diana Hill, internal auditor in the Division of Institutional Integrity, was honored with the community and public service award for helping communities both close and far away. Having dedicated herself to the preservation of wildlife, she worked with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue (CWR), a nonprofit organization that provides sanctuary, rescue and rehabilitation for wildlife, farmed and exotic animals. She also led a local effort to create and ship homemade nests to support Australian conservation groups.

Ashley Williams Clark was named Employee of the Year in this category in 2019 for her dedication and work in the Charlotte community. By partnering with the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and other community organizations, she served as a lead researcher and author on housing instability and homelessness. She also co-led the UNC Charlotte Opportunity Research Showcase.

Jordan Harris, associate director of community relations, has championed countless community projects for Giving Green and National Volunteer Week since her arrival in 2012, earning her this award in 2018. Harris spearheaded UNC Charlotte’s Day of Service in which 145 employees participated in the inaugural event, assembling 3,600 sandwiches, 1,000 food backpacks and 1,500 toiletry kits to help others in the Charlotte area. 

Tamara Johnson, research associate for academic planning and analysis in Academic Affairs, was dubbed “goddess of community service.” She devoted her time and energy chairing 49er Democracy Experience and battling food insecurity through efforts such as the Jamil Niner Student Pantry, the Food Recycling Program, Stop Hunger Now and the Student Community Garden. Each of these initiatives contributed to the community, winning her the 2017 award. 

The pandemic may have created obstacles for reaching out to the community, but many staff members found creative ways to be present and helpful in this unprecedented time of need. If there’s a colleague you’d like to nominate or would like to know more about nominating, additional information can be found on the Human Resources website.