Excellence in Support Services Award

The Excellence in Support Services Award at Durham Tech is an presented to non-faculty employees. It is designed to promote excellence and innovation and to encourage employee dedication in service to Durham Tech. It seeks to acknowledge those employees whose contributions are of sufficient magnitude to be recognized by their peers, supervisors, and subordinates. Through such recognition, we hope to convey to employees that the college recognizes, values, and rewards extraordinary efforts and unique accomplishments that go beyond outstanding job performance.

2019 Excellence in Support Services Award: Liz Filipowski

Liz Filipowski, holding plaque, poses with President IngramLiz Filipowski, Web Designer and Developer, received the 2019 Excellence in Support Services Award due to her gumption and regularly exceeding her daily job duties.

Liz was chiefly acknowledged for her extensive work and dedication to completely overhauling the school’s website for the first time in the College’s history. It took two years to accomplish this feat, two years of meticulous planning, collaborating with a team in different parts of the U.S. at various times of the day and night, and occasionally encountering setbacks and delays.

Liz not only handled each hurtle with grace and professionalism but spearheaded the whole project, despite spending most of the prior 15 years creating and expanding the former website. This endeavor required learning a new software and tapping into her extensive Durham Tech knowledge.

Though the new website is up and running, she continues to work with the outside consultant to keep the site in line with federal accessibility requirements and make changes when needed. She also has served as a vital part of the Durham Tech digital accessibility task force, which is planning the college’s first digital accessibility five-year plan.

A way to describe Liz is as the woman behind the curtain at Durham Tech who moves at a pace that one would think there was a whole team behind that curtain. She is a person who is seen as an example of how to keep Durham Tech evolving towards the future.

2018 Excellence in Support Services Award: Toni Brown

Toni-Brown, holding plaque, poses with President Ingram

Toni Brown, Administrative Assistant for the Arts, Sciences, and University Transfer department, is the recipient of the 2018 Excellence in Support Services Award. Toni has gone above and beyond her job description on numerous occasions.

This year’s winner uses her time and effort to enthusiastically promote many programs on campus, which increases participation in the programs and thereby makes the programs more successful.

Toni has a special facility to gain support from others, getting faculty and staff to rally around whatever she calls them to support. People listen to Toni, respect her and appreciate all she does, and, therefore, are more willing to serve the programs she promotes on campus.

She works hard to keep the Arts, Sciences, and University Transfer staff, faculty, and students informed in many ways, some of which are not required of her. One example is when she sent emails to faculty and staff about the construction at the Edward L. Phillips Building when the building was getting a new heating and air conditioning system. Her sending the emails helped the recipients plan accordingly.

Toni takes an optimistic and upbeat approach to any leadership role she holds. She is also a strong problem-solver and knows who to contact when the Arts, Sciences, and University Transfer department needs assistance from another department.

Toni supports students by attending and assisting with service projects, arts events, and activities both on and off campus.

She bends over backwards to help faculty secure supplies without wasting products while still meeting classroom needs. If her colleagues need any materials, Toni will send out emails to see who might have the supply and then will often pick it up. She also made contributions to the new Associate in Fine Arts program by acquiring supplies and materials needed by the art instructors and secured a new vendor for materials at a 25-percent savings from previous vendors used for art materials.

2017 Excellence in Support Services Award: Valerie Whitley

Valerie-Whitley, holding plaque, poses with President Ingram

Valerie Whitley, Colleague Systems Analyst, is the recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Support Services Award. Valerie has extended far beyond her job description and beyond our campus as she offers assistance to colleagues at other colleges within the system.

In the past few years the campus has experienced multiple turnovers in some key departments. During this time, this year’s award winner has been there to pitch in. The effort she expended is far above her duties. She attended system office training sessions with personnel in these areas to ensure that they could carry out their duties, and she spent a significant number of hours correcting data in the system that were preventing other systems and processes from working correctly.

Valerie's recent work with our ConnectSession process, as it relates to technology, is a good example of her initiative, innovation, and leadership. She observed that we had many issues coming to our ITS help desk from students attending ConnectSessions. She took it upon herself to attend these sessions and discover firsthand the nature of the issues, and assist students when possible. Many of the visits were after hours and some on weekends. As a result of these visits and based on her recommendations, ITS temporarily assigned additional personnel to attend the sessions to support incoming students. She then assisted in the development of a plan to help staff and session leaders troubleshoot students’ technology issues.

Colleagues across the system have learned to appreciate her as much as we do, as she is frequently called upon for advice on maintaining upgrading and implementing systems. Her willingness to help out here and across the system is deeply appreciated.

2016 Excellence in Support Services Award: Teresa Holder


Teresa Holder, Health Technologies Program Specialist/Accreditation Support Specialist, is the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Support Services Award.

It's been said that when Teresa Holder says she will do something, she will do it and exceed any expectations you have for her on any project. Other accolades include:

  • truly believes in Durham Tech and the work she does, and she goes above and beyond to make the impossible happen
  • sees the good in everyone and everything she touches
  • is someone who wants to know more to better herself and the college
  • is a self-initiator who is internally motivated by her love and dedication to Durham Tech
  • is willing to help whenever and wherever help is needed. When she commits to a project, she is all in with enthusiasm, optimism, hard work, and dedication to excellence.

Beyond the work, Teresa volunteers on campus and in the community. When morale among the Health Technologies faculty and staff was low, she organized and led a team of over 40 colleagues and raised over $2,100 through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of Sandra Grady. Her colleagues say that “her leadership and ownership of this very special project gave the department the boost [they] needed so badly” at that time.

2015 Excellence in Support Services Award: Karen McPhaul

Karen McPhaul, holding plaque, poses with President Ingram

Karen McPhaul, Senior Director, Instructional Technologies, is the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Support Services Award.

Faculty know if they need something related to teaching and technology they can always count on Karen. Because of her attention to service, she positively affects the teaching practices of faculty who interact with her, thus improving the learning experience for students as well.

She serves on the Sakai Teaching and Learning Group, an open group of higher education practitioners who want to innovate and share best practices in teaching and learning with Sakai.

Her dedication to supporting excellent teaching and learning extends beyond the Durham Tech campus; the NCCCS system benefits from her expertise and willingness to lead.

Karen represents Durham Tech on the NCCCS Office Virtual Learning Committee (VLC) Streaming Media Research Team. She participates with the North Carolina Community College Association of Distance Learning (NC3ADL) and has served as president of this organization in the past.

Her committee and leadership appointments to the Distance Learning Advisory Committee, Learning Management Taskforce, and SACSCOC 5th Year and Reaffirmation Taskforces demonstrate the college’s trust in this staff person to take initiative and be innovative to the college’s benefit.

Karen is dedicated to helping faculty identify and use low cost and low barrier technology tools to improve their instruction. She provide annual workshops to introduce faculty and staff to software, web-based supports, and apps that have improved teaching and service.

2014 Excellence in Support Services Award: Tina Bryant-Allen

Tina Bryant-Allen, Coordinator, Institutional Assessment, Planning and Policy in Research, Evaluation, Assessment, and Planning, is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Support Services Award.

The candidate should demonstrate outstanding performance in service to Durham Technical Community College or in one or more categories, including dedication, innovation, collaboration, safety/heroism, human relations, excellence, and other achievements. Tina was nominated in five of these seven categories. Her nomination was based on her work with the following:

  • Planned and facilitated a four-month, college-wide listening tour (gathered supportive data for the revision of the college’s strategic plan).
  • Managed the seven Continuous Improvement Work Teams that were charged with addressing the issues identified during the listening tour.
  • Assumed the responsibilities associated with coordinating the college’s policy and procedure process (including the development of the template and work flow).
  • Assumed the responsibilities for coordinating the college’s Service Area and Program Review processes.
  • Coordinated the revision of the college’s general education learning outcomes (GELOs).
  • Began the process for aligning the planning and budgeting processes as the chair for the college’s Planning Council.
  • Provided curriculum mapping presentations (Fall 2013 and Spring 2014) in the Teaching and Learning Center.
  • Co-authored an article for the Learning Matters (Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2014) publication.
  • Served as a peer reviewer (Institutional Effectiveness) for SACSCOC (on-site review team, Fall 2013).
  • Co-presented at the SACSCOC Annual Meeting (Atlanta, Fall 2014).
  • Demonstrated continued dedication to the concept that the more people involved in the creation and implementation of projects, the better the outcomes of those projects will be.

Past Recipients

2013: Mary Kennery 2008: Candice Capers
2012: Melissa Chapell 2007: Tina Webb
2011: Patrick Hines 2006: Megan Nicholson
2010: Julie Humphrey 2005: Sylvia Hunt
2009: Robin Lamb 2004: Cynthia Davis