As the departmental assistant of Glendon’s Psychology Department, Lise Brisebois often faces sensitive or difficult situations, in person or on the telephone. As she is likely to be the first person in her area that a visitor or a caller encounters, how she handles these situations can make all the difference in their experience and in their impressions of the university.
That is why it’s so appropriate for Lise to be the first York contact for these callers, given that her tact, diplomacy, gentle attention and well thought-out, professional responses ensure that callers from the outside receive the best impression and the greatest help for their concerns.
The nomination document for The Voice of York Award, submitted on behalf of Lise Brisebois by chief nominator Anne Russon, professor of psychology at Glendon, outlined her excellence in her area of work, which is multifaceted, multilingual and highly demanding. Russon stated that Glendon’s multicultural and multiethnic community presents a special challenge for front-line staff. “We work in two languages on a daily basis and welcome students from the far-flung areas of the world wherever English or French is spoken”, stated Russon, who added that “…Glendon’s small campus and student body allows us to cultivate a familial atmosphere, which encourages extensive interaction among faculty, students and staff.”
L-r: Chief nominator Anne Russon with award winner Lise Brisebois
While officially she handles two academic entities - the Psychology Department and the Women’s Studies Program - Brisebois also coordinates with other staff within her unit on shared resources and facilities, and fills in when they are unavailable. As her academic unit includes the Departments of International Studies and Multidisciplinary Studies – the latter housing programs in Canadian Studies, Drama Studies, Environmental and Health Studies, as well as Women’s Studies – Brisebois’ mandate has an unusually wide-ranging function and impact.
“Our unit also has many strong ties beyond Glendon, notably with the Keele campus and external to York”, added Russon. “In Glendon’s Psychology Department alone, external affiliations include clinical, legal, media, and research involvements. The point of all this is that Lise, as our front-line person, is called upon to field a very broad range of academic, administrative, and professional responsibilities, in two languages.”
The nomination document singled out Brisebois’ exceptional interpersonal skills, her ability to deal with difficult situations effectively, her enthusiastic, positive spirit, as well as her commitment to the university far beyond the call of duty.
“I was very surprised, but very happy, that I was the final choice for this award”, said Brisebois, “given how large York University is and how many deserving staff members work here.” The Voice of York Award is given to a first-line-of-contact person at York, recognizing the importance of the front-line service and of that first voice heard by callers or visitors.
The award also recognizes lifelong achievement in the field of university service. In fact, most of Brisebois’ working career has been at various Canadian universities, including McGill in Montreal and Simon Fraser in Vancouver, from where she came to work at Glendon in 1999. “Working at a university has always been very important and rewarding for me”, said Brisebois, “where our products are the students and where through our efforts we are investing in their future and the future of our society.”
The 2009 York University President’s Staff Recognition Awards, including Lise Brisebois’ Voice of York Award, will be distributed at a celebration and dinner on April 20th on the Keele campus. This festive evening welcomes each year the award winners, their nominators and members of their family enabling them to celebrate York staff’s outstanding achievements and continued commitment to the university.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny