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Honoring DELTA’s Provost’s Unit Awards for Excellence Recipients

The belltower stands among spring flowers.

DELTA is pleased to share the nominees and recipients of the 2021 Provost’s Unit Awards for Excellence on behalf of The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. DELTA’s Christopher Beeson, G. Todd Buker, Dan Deter and Rich Gurnsey were nominated for their commitment and contributions to the NC State community.

The nominees were recognized for their excellence in customer service, outstanding state government service, and efficiency and innovation toward their work at DELTA and NC State.

The Awards for Excellence are the highest recognitions non-faculty members may receive, and DELTA is excited to celebrate its nominees and recipients.

Customer Service: Christopher Beeson, Instructional Technologist, Academic Technology Innovation, NC State DELTA

As part of DELTA’s Instructional Technology Training Team, Beeson is responsible for teaching a variety of workshops and providing consultations for faculty and staff. He regularly stays afterward to work with faculty and ensure their needs are met. Beeson encouraged DELTA to offer more Open Labs, which allow instructors to receive drop-in support at their most stressful times, typically the beginning and end of the semester. He recognizes how important one-on-one attention is for faculty when they are working to solve their teaching challenges.

Beeson’s work with the DELTA’s Course Quality (CQ) Program exemplifies his ability to work collaboratively with faculty to improve their courses. He has also played a primary role in cross-team collaboration between DELTA’s Instructional Technologists and Instructional Designers. His expertise within both fields has provided invaluable insight to the development of the new Course Quality Program. He has been a part of the program since its inception, and the program would not be where it is today without his contributions.

Outstanding State Government Service: G. Todd Buker, Associate Producer, Academic Technology Innovation, NC State DELTA

Buker is an extraordinary instructional media creator whose pure passion for excellence motivates his work. His dedication to the faculty, extraordinary work ethic and calm under pressure translate into powerful instructional media that helps students succeed. Buker is the media visionary behind the Wicked Problems, Wolfpack Solutions course. His work regularly goes beyond expectation. After working with Buker this past year on the Wicked Problems course, Distinguished Professor Rob Dunn wrote, “Todd not only makes the university look better, but also, simply, makes the university better.” Associate Department Head Jane Lubischer added, “I want to keep working with Todd at every opportunity, which is the highest praise I can offer.” Buker innovates with new technology and is passionate about diversity both in his creations and in how he works.

Buker has been with NC State for more than eight years and in that time he has made a tremendous impact on the faculty and students. His primary responsibilities include designing and creating highly effective media pieces (primarily video) faculty use in their online and distance education courses. His work is innovative, always polished, targeted precisely at the need, and he consistently exceeds expectations.

Efficiency and Innovation: Dan Deter, Associate Director, Systems Support, NC State DELTA

Deter is the model example of the typical system administrator; he toils behind the scenes keeping the systems running smoothly and the end-user never knows he is there. As a matter of fact, if you do not know he’s there, he’s doing his best work! In DELTA, he shows his passion to ensure the delivery of reliable enterprise learning technologies to users. As Associate Director of Systems Support, Deter is critical in DELTA’s service delivery. He approaches efficiency from the standpoint of making it easier for individuals to do their jobs correctly and repeatedly, resulting in delivering a better service to users (faculty, staff and students).

Over the last several years, Deter has taken on numerous recurring responsibilities and projects that have enhanced the efficiency of DELTA’s technology services. A few of these were primarily his work while most involved his encouraging and collaborating with various members of his six-person team. As co-lead of DELTA’s Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan efforts, with a focus on the IT aspects, he has looked at areas of risk and addressed them through multiple efforts. One of the biggest risks is the care and feeding of unique “things.” This could be a special server setup, or a specific skill set or knowledge that only one employee has. For server setup, he has pushed the team to use configuration management tools for consistent server and application deployments. While it takes some time to initially set up these tools, afterward one can install new servers more reliably and quickly. To address unique people and knowledge, Deter established regular cross-training efforts within the system support team. This not only helps in an emergency situation when one team member may not be available, but also makes normal operations more efficient because now two or more team members can help each other with these previously unique items. In support of both aspects, Deter has pushed the team to document their procedures and processes. This helps with discovering more of those unique things and assists with cross-training now that written material is available for others to reference. Finally, it makes offboarding and onboarding new employees easier.

Nominee: Rich Gurnsey, Lead Multimedia Designer, Academic Technology Innovation, NC State DELTA

Gurnsey is an outstanding graphic designer whose creative spirit, work ethic and compassionate leadership have emerged as a model for excellence within the DELTA organization. A graduate from NC State’s College of Design, he joined DELTA’s New Media Development team in 2017. Since that time, Gurnsey has played a significant role in several key projects that have ultimately impacted tens of thousands of students worldwide. He is visionary in his design thinking and has helped raise the bar in the development and distribution of educational augmented reality applications, at NC State and beyond, that increase comprehension and understanding of complex subjects. Gurnsey is also a kind and fun-loving colleague who serves as a wonderful mentor for other graphic designers, part-time and student staff.

Congratulations to all the nominees and recipients of the 2021 Provost’s Awards for Excellence!