Michael Flynn receives CoE Staff-Faculty Partnership Award
Prof. Michael Flynn was honored with the 2023 College of Engineering Staff-Faculty Partnership Award, which he earned for his outstanding approach to collaboration and partnership with staff.
“Mike Flynn is an advocate, a partner, and an encourager of staff,” said Kristen Thornton, PhD Graduate Program Coordinator, who gratefully recalled the time when Flynn stepped in to recruit students to assist with an orientation event. He has also worked with Thornton to find a creative solution when one of his doctoral students was about to lose his health insurance – one of many examples of Flynn’s proactive role in making life better for those around him.
Flynn has had numerous opportunities to work closely with a variety of staff in his roles as Associate Chair for Graduate Education, Faculty Search Chair, a member of important committees such as the Executive Committee and the ECE Climate Strategic Task Force, and as a faculty member supporting a large number of students in his research.
“Mike is truly a role model for all faculty in how he respects staff and is one of the most reliable and personable faculty members I have ever encountered,” said Amy Wicklund, Senior Administrative Assistant, who worked with Flynn on faculty casebooks. Flynn frequently checked in with Wicklund throughout the process to offer assistance as needed and overall support – always respecting important deadlines.
During his time as Faculty Search Chair, Flynn took a fresh approach to faculty recruiting by adding a meeting with certain staff members to each candidate’s schedule. This helped prospective faculty understand how, and by whom, they would be supported both by central staff and research staff. Linda Scovel, the department’s Faculty Affairs Coordinator and administrative support for faculty candidates, was particularly thankful for Flynn’s approach to this critical service role.
“The faculty search process is a herculean effort that requires tandem partnership between faculty and staff,” said Scovel. Flynn would meet regularly with her to discuss the overall search process, while also encouraging her to find some work-life balance – something that’s nearly impossible to accomplish during search season. “Having a faculty member exude that kind of compassion and respect makes you feel seen as an individual,” added Scovel.
Flynn maintains a large research group, which requires support from research administrative staff such as Michelle Chapman. Chapman appreciates his collaborative approach to grant proposals as well as his timely response to any questions. “His words and actions show a consistent positive and caring attitude toward staff,” said Chapman.
The department’s Unit Administrator, Lisa Armstrong, has worked with Flynn in a variety of capacities for more than 15 years. Throughout that time, Armstrong says the two have worked collaboratively to achieve the best results possible. She added that Flynn has been a staff advocate in nearly every way imaginable – from appreciating their input in meetings to implementing new processes that were either suggested by staff, or which serve to improve staff culture.
“Mike is one of the most respectful faculty members in ECE,” said Armstrong. “Staff know that he has their backs.”
Flynn will receive the award at a special ceremony on May 25, 2023.