In recognition of exemplary values-driven leadership, four William & Mary faculty and staff members have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Values in Action Award: Natoya Haskins Ph.D. ’11 (School of Education), Mariellynn Maurer (Conference Services), Kathleen Mazzitti (Advancement) and Corinne Picataggi (Information Technology).
The award, established this spring by two anonymous donors, recognizes William & Mary faculty and staff who exemplify the university’s values of belonging, curiosity, excellence, flourishing, integrity, respect and service.
“Natoya, Mariellynn, Kathleen and Corinne set a high bar for values-centered leadership. They have held fast to our values — our north star — to navigate some of the toughest challenges we have faced over the past year,” said President Katherine A. Rowe. “Their actions make a tangible and positive difference for our community. I am delighted we can recognize them in this way.”
The President’s Cabinet nominated more than 20 staff and faculty members for this award. Rowe appointed a 12-member Values in Action Committee, chaired by DaNika Robinson, chief financial officer for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and David Trichler, associate director for the Global Research Institute, to select four recipients from the nominees.
The committee considered five criteria:
- Did the nominee exemplify, in depth, one or more W&M values? If so, which ones?
- Did the nominee exceed duties of their job in order to support the university and its people, in a way that exemplifies W&M values?
- Did the nominee demonstrate leadership of an initiative that exemplifies W&M's values?
- Does the nominee bring visibility to an overlooked effort/initiative?
- Does the collective set of your four selections represent a diversity of values and the campus community?
“One of the joys of participating in this process was seeing the embodiment of the W&M values across campus. During an exceptionally challenging year, it was inspiring to learn just how our colleagues rose to the call. I’m grateful to these awardees, as well as to the rest of the nominees, for helping point us to a rich life of service to our campus and to each other,” said Trichler.
Natoya Haskins Ph.D. ’11 is the director of diversity and inclusion and an associate professor of counselor education at W&M’s School of Education. She is honored for living the W&M values of flourishing, belonging and respect by leading diversity and equity initiatives (DEI), helping to partner with organizations across the local community to improve inclusion efforts, as well as establishing a new campus statement of values related to recruitment, tenure and promotion.
Haskins founded and co-directs the Social Justice & Diversity Research Fellows Program, which brings together researchers throughout the university, and established the Social Justice and Equity Research Symposium in partnership with the Center for Racial and Society Justice at W&M Law School. She has been the leading voice and organizer for the Courageous Conversations series, which provides a safe space to for faculty, staff and students to discuss issues of race, culture, diversity and inclusion. Among other accomplishments, she created a weekly DEI newsletter for faculty and students and partners in school divisions about creating a more inclusive community and was instrumental in creating an anti-racist statement for the School of Education and a statement of DEI civility for the school’s syllabi.
“She is adept at communicating with her peers about difficult and sensitive issues and she encourages the rest of the School leadership team to expand their thinking and to reflect on how our policies and procedures maintain privilege or advance the cause of inclusion,” said Dean Robert Knoeppel. “There is no question in my mind that this leadership has improved the culture of the School of Education for the better and that Dr. Haskins’ leadership has been valued by her colleagues.”
Mariellynn Maurer is the director of conference and event services and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She is honored for living the W&M values of belonging and respect while building a supportive quarantine housing option at Richmond Hall. Though housing like this had never been done before, she worked cooperatively with colleagues throughout campus to create a plan for best serving students’ physical and mental health needs during this stressful time. Working with the Health Logistics Team, she provided a guidebook to students on how to order meals, medication or other items during quarantine, often hand-delivering necessities — and occasionally niceties — to ensure students felt welcome and comfortable. She was also a case manager for students who tested positive for COVID-19 or were identified as a close contact, personally overseeing 134 cases and often working 80-plus hours per week with minimal days off to serve students and their families.
Meanwhile, she also served as the president of the Professionals and Professional Faculty Assembly, leading this key employee group and serving as counsel to the president and executive leadership team.
“William & Mary’s ability to remain open during case surges this past year can be attributed to the dedication, excellence and flexibility of Mariellynn and her team. Mariellynn’s commitment to service has allowed our students and community to thrive during pandemic,” said Amy Sebring, chief operations officer.
Kathleen Mazzitti is the director of advancement events. She is honored for living the W&M values of service and integrity while managing and developing comprehensive testing systems to permit students to return — and remain — on campus. When she was asked to help coordinate the testing and then the vaccination process, she enthusiastically jumped in and rapidly developed expertise in a new field with little room for error. She successfully managed the complex logistics of coordinating volunteers, communicating with students, faculty and staff, delivering and administering test kits and setting up testing locations on campus, demonstrating strong leadership skills and work ethic. The process she developed became the model for others, including that of the Coast Guard, who consulted with her on their own protocols. She was constantly on call, responding to students, parents and colleagues at all hours, gracefully and calmly guiding them through challenging situations to successful resolution.
In her regular duties for university advancement, she and her team pivoted quickly from in-person events to virtual, developing contingency plans for key signature events including W&M Weekend, Homecoming and Charter Day.
“Under Kathleen’s leadership, because of her curious nature that ensures excellence and her outstanding commitment to service, she has allowed the W&M community to flourish this past year. She took President Rowe’s charge to heart last spring to safeguard the health and wellness of this community as our number one priority,” said Matthew T. Lambert, vice president for university advancement.
Corinne Picataggi is W&M’s chief technology officer. She is honored for living the W&M values of curiosity and excellence in creating innovative technology solutions, leading to, among others, the development of the Daily Health Check, the COVID-19 dashboard and case management systems. She led the group that created W&M’s COVID-19 dashboard, actively seeking and incorporating feedback from students, parents, faculty, staff and community members to continually improve this important public-health tool. Her Daily Health Check system, the first of its kind, was distributed to other universities in Virginia, and she provided technological support for Kallaco Health & Technology, W&M’s logistics partner for testing and proof of vaccination. She developed the systems necessary for pre-arrival, prevalence, at-will, census, wastewater and exit testing, as well as troubleshooting vaccination distribution and communication. She ably partnered with University Communications to speak with the media as a key representative of William & Mary during this challenging time.
Picataggi recognized the need for a robust case management system that ensured privacy while providing essential communication and carefully tracking each positive case and their close contacts. The system she created using existing resources is highly personalized and provides the high level of care that distinguishes William & Mary.
“Corinne’s selfless dedication and friendly style serves to improve the lives of students through software and technical innovations at William & Mary,” said S. Mark Sikes Ph.D. ’15, vice dean for student success. “Corinne’s record of accomplishments runs the gamut, from winning design, to outstanding leadership, to creative and innovative service.”
Each recipient was personally notified by Rowe, and a $2,500 cash prize will accompany each award. A similar award for student organizations will launch in fall 2021. At least two Values in Action awards will be given each semester to faculty and staff through fall 2022, with student organization awards continuing through spring 2023, reflecting an ongoing annual commitment by the donors.