BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University has recognized four staff members for excellence. Alice Fisher ’14, Dr. Alex F. Howard, Amy Odom ’03 and Crystal Weisner ’14 were each honored with a 2020 Staff Excellence Award during the university’s Spring 2021 Faculty and Staff Meeting, held virtually Friday, Feb. 5.
“Our App State staff members play a critical role in the fulfillment of our academic mission through their vision, resourcefulness and support,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “Our four honorees, in particular, demonstrate daily the positive outlook and ‘can-do’ spirit for which our staff are known, as they work tirelessly to make real and powerful differences for our campus community. We thank them for their dedication and commitment to all Mountaineers.”
During the virtual meeting, App State’s Mark Bachmeier, director of human resources, presented the 2020 Staff Excellence Awards, which recognize staff members’ exemplary service, commitment, collegiality and leadership to the university community.
The presentation of these awards, which usually takes place each fall, was postponed to the Spring Faculty and Staff Meeting due to COVID-19. Seven App State faculty members who were conferred 2020 Excellence in Teaching Awards through the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in spring 2020 were also recognized during the meeting.
Bachmeier said members of the campus community submitted 119 nominations recognizing 77 staff for “being exceptional at their jobs and for being exceptional human beings.”
Of Fisher, Bachmeier said, “Alice is known for being humble, collegial and a consummate professional. She is the first to arrive, the last to leave and holds herself to a much higher standard of accuracy, timeliness and precision than she expects of others, and she is dogged about finding ways to streamline processes to make things easier for others.”
“Crystal’s work ethic is impeccable, her service to the university and the state is outstanding and her personality — always effervescent,” Bachmeier said. He added that her nominators spoke of her excellent customer service and her “whatever I can do to help” attitude.
Howard’s nominators described him as “an authentic leader and a role model for this university, someone who serves as a mentor to many students and colleagues,” according to Bachmeier. He added that Howard is recognized as an innovator and “an amazing catalyst for change,” focused on making a better campus for all students.
Bachmeier said Odom’s nominators described her as someone who “lives and breathes our mission, vision and values in each and every aspect of her job,” and that she “consistently provides exceptional customer service, displays innovative thinking and enhances the quality and morale of the workplace.”
About the awardees
Alice Fisher, originally from Salisbury, has served as business officer in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Office of the Dean since fall 2018. In this role, she assists CAS Dean Neva J. Specht and helps process faculty leaves, reappointments and promotion/tenure, among other duties. Prior to this role, she served as an administrative support specialist in the college’s Department of Philosophy and Religion.
Specht said, “Alice is so deserving of this award. She embodies what we hope we all do in the college office — provide timely support to students, staff and faculty and lower barriers to getting the work of the university done. It takes someone special to do this work at the level needed in the dean’s office. I’m so grateful she’s my colleague.”
Overall, Fisher has worked for the state of North Carolina for 28 years — holding positions at App State and East Carolina University, as well as at public school systems in Mooresville and Buncombe and Burke counties. She has served on CAS’ Strategic Planning Committee and is a current member of the college’s Council of Chairs.
“I love the people at App State,” Fisher said. “They are kind and generous, and the students are the best. Working here is like having one big extended family.”
A graduate of Meredith College in Raleigh, Fisher said she enjoys spending time with her family, making stained glass, gardening and coordinating weddings.
Dr. Alex F. Howard, who holds a Doctor of Public Health degree, serves as director of Wellness and Prevention Services and interim assistant vice chancellor in the Division of Student Affairs. In these roles, he combines his commitment to education and educational settings with his passion for public health. Howard facilitates the development of a student body that is informed and empowered about health, wellness and health care and contributes to the development and training of a competent public health workforce.
Howard serves in a number of mentorship and advocacy roles and has received awards for his work from student groups and campus units such as the Student Government Association, University Housing and Office of Multicultural Student Development, now called Intercultural Student Affairs. His service on campus has supported student leadership, diversity and inclusion, first-generation student success and service-learning initiatives.
A native of North Carolina, Howard earned his Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training/sports medicine from High Point University, and both a master’s and doctorate from the University of Kentucky.
Amy Odom ’03 is associate director of Business Career Services in App State’s Walker College of Business (WCOB), where she coaches students majoring in computer information systems, economics, finance and banking, and risk management and insurance. Odom also collaborates with recruiting employers from corresponding business disciplines who seek to engage App State students in internship, career and networking opportunities.
Prior to joining Business Career Services in 2014, Odom served as an administrative assistant in University Housing. In Walker College, she also serves as an adviser to female business students in Women of Walker, a professional development program.
Odom regularly hosts visiting international students and/or scholars participating in the university’s International Friendship Program, offered by the Office of International Education and Development. She is also active in the local community — as a member of the Watauga Women in Leadership Board and the planning board for Western Youth Network’s annual fundraising gala. She is a past member of the Boone Service League and the Girls on the Run of the High Country Fundraising Committee.
An App State alumna, Odom earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from the university in 2003. She is on track to graduate with her second App State degree this fall — a Master of Arts in higher education.
She received the Spirit of Walker Award for staff as part of Walker College’s 2019 Sywassink Awards for Excellence and was named Club Advisor of the Year in 2016.
Crystal Weisner, a 2014 alumna of App State, has served as an administrative support specialist in the university’s Center for Academic Excellence since 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology, with a minor in sociology, from App State and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree through the university’s marriage and family therapy program.
A Boone resident since 2007, Weisner said App State has become her “home away from home” over the past 13 years. “My co-workers in my department have become my family and I’m so lucky to have them in my life,” she said. “I have learned a lot from my friends who work in Academic Affairs and Information Technology Services and have grown professionally with their guidance.”
She continued, “It’s awesome to be employed at a place that recognizes the accomplishments that both faculty and staff have made, no matter how big or small. It’s great to be a Mountaineer!”
Weisner is a member of App State’s Building Emergency Team Program, in which representatives from each department within App State buildings assist in ensuring building safety on campus.
Her hobbies include jewelry making, crafting, painting, watching Disney films and spending time with her dogs.
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About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.