Employees of the month

Wesley E. Mason

February Unclassified Employee of the Month

Wesley E. Mason

Started at KU: 2005

Current title: Network specialist, Information and Telecommunication Technology Center

What that means: Mason provides advanced computer hardware, software and network support for the operational and research needs of the center. ITTC is the information technology research and development center for the state of Kansas, adding to the importance of its technology infrastructure.

Notable: Maintaining cutting-edge knowledge requires many hours of study and research. Mason does most of this on his own time, as his days are spent helping users, keeping the main servers running and performing ongoing hardware and software upgrades. He’s saved ITTC thousands of dollars by implementing free open-source software instead of commercial projects.

Colleagues say Mason has a gift for reacting calmly in stressful situations. In a couple of cases, the main network switch that connects all of the ITTC computers stopped working. He was able to round up spare parts and set up a temporary switch so that everyone could continue working. He then diagnosed the problem with the main switch, ordered replacement parts and repaired the switch with minimal downtime.

Mason was also involved in some after-hours heroics when a nearly catastrophic event occurred at ITTC. A leak in an air conditioning unit dripped onto a compressor, causing it to shut down and set off alarms. He rushed to Nichols Hall, found the cause of the smoke and took decisive action. He was able to clear the smoke out of the cold room before there was any damage to the millions of dollars worth of equipment. He remained on site to assist the fire department and ensure that there were no more issues.

Toni Rae McMillen

February University Support Staff Employee of the Month

Started at KU: 2006

Toni Rae McMillen

Current title: Administrative associate senior, Office of the General Counsel

What that means: McMillen’s job duties include in-person and telephone reception; formatting and typing legal documents and general correspondence; purchasing supplies, equipment, and professional services; and scheduling meetings and phone calls for four attorneys. She also handles payroll and other expense transactions, makes all travel arrangements, prepares spreadsheets and presentations and is responsible for paper and electronic file management.

Notable: McMillen’s colleagues say her great strengths are job knowledge, initiative and organizational skill. She routinely arranges large meetings on short notice with some of the busiest people at KU. The fact that the General Counsel’s office is responsible for both the Lawrence and KU Medical Center campuses can make scheduling especially complicated. Her supervisor says that she works independently and has usually already done what she is about to be asked to do.

During the past year, McMillen prepared a number of complex legislative proposals for amendment of a number of statutes, created a tabular implementation matrix for university officials with reporting responsibilities under the new Higher Education Opportunity Act and prepared several complex documents related to the creation of the Midwest Cancer Alliance. Every year in late June, just when books for the fiscal year are closing, she is also making arrangements for the attorneys to attend the annual conference of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Campus closeup
Amanda Schwegler, assistant director, Center for Service Learning
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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).