Staff Members Honored

Feb 18, 2020

Cal U has recognized two staff members for their outstanding job performance and customer service.

  • - Barry Biliski and President Jones.

  • - Dr. Karen Amhrein and President Jones.

At the Feb. 18 faculty-staff convocation, Dr. Karen Amrhein received the Vulcan President’s Circle Award and Barry Bilitski accepted the Vulcan Exceptional Service Award.

Members of the campus community – faculty, staff and/or students – nominate candidates for the awards. A seven-member committee uses a rubric to identify the award recipients anonymously.

The President’s Circle Award recognizes outstanding job performance, with an emphasis on collaboration and cooperation, commitment to the University, and innovation that improves the quality of service or results in cost savings.

Amrhein, a director in the Office of Academic Success, was recognized for collaborating “with so many offices on campus that she seems to know everyone,” as one nominator wrote.

She founded the peer mentoring program, which is credited for increasing first- to second-year retention rates by pairing first-year students with student mentors. She also created the Summer Success Academy for at-risk students, and she currently is leading a new foster youth initiative.

As President Jones noted, “Nominators called her an ‘innovative thinker,’ a ‘willing volunteer’ and a ‘problem-solver who gets results.’”

The Exceptional Service Award recognizes responsiveness to others’ needs, willingness to remove barriers, and caring support for students, families, fellow employees and other community members.

Bilitski, an assistant director in the Office of Admissions, “makes outstanding customer service a part of every interaction,” President Jones said.

Nominators mentioned his “positive attitude” and said he is “always willing to help out and step up when needed.” In particular, they cited Bilitski’s interactions with current and future students, saying that he “goes above and beyond … to make sure they get the help they need.”

In addition to the plaques presented at the convocation, each award recipient will select from a menu of options to thank them for their service.

The Vulcan Staff Awards are presented each fall and spring semester. In fall 2019, Cindy Lynn Speer and Rhonda Gifford received the inaugural awards.

Nominations for the fall 2020 awards are being accepted through Aug. 7, 2020. To nominate an outstanding staff member, visit the resource page for Faculty/Staff or Current Students at and look for the link to “Staff Awards.”