At Trent University, due to our interactive and close-knit learning environment, most staff have the opportunity to engage with students. Rose Dunford, a long-serving employee in the Physical Resources Department, is no exception, and her consistent commitment to supporting students and the work environment at Trent is the reason she was selected as the winner of this year’s Provost’s Award for Support Staff.
In nominating her for the award, one of her colleagues specifically mentioned Ms. Dunford’s exceptional commitment to student recruitment.
“Rose puts her heart and soul into the Trent University community,” her nominator wrote. “She comes to work with a smile. She greets the students as they walk in the door, and is happy to provide directions or answers to other questions.”
Ms. Dunford, who has been an employee of Trent University for 16 years, has worked in the Physical Resources Department for the duration of her career at Trent, starting as a housekeeper in the residences at Champlain College. She moved to the residences in Lady Eaton College, to both the residences and classroom areas in Gzowski College, and then to Otonabee College. Currently, she is stationed in the Science Complex as a caretaker. Ms. Dunford has also been the OPSEU Local 365 president for the last seven years, representing over 300 employees across a variety of departments.
Ms. Dunford is the third winner of the Provost’s Awards for Support Staff award, which was created in 2013 to recognize a member of the support staff who plays an important role in student retention and is indispensable to the academic enterprise. The award includes a cash gift of $500. A special barbecue is also held in honour of the winner as well as in celebration of the contributions of all staff at Trent.
Dr. Gary Boire, provost and vice president Academic at Trent, congratulated Ms. Dunford on her accomplishments. “You have definitely had a positive influence on student life through your exceptional support of our staff and their welfare,” he said. “It is evident from the nomination received that you put the needs of the students first in order to foster an environment committed to the retention of students.”
Speaking of her reaction to the award, Ms. Dunford said she was “overwhelmed” to learn she would be this year’s winner.
“I believe as support staff we all come to Trent every day to do what we do best, to support the students. I have never given it a second thought,” she said, adding: “The students become part of your life. I very much enjoy my job and am proud that I can connect with the students and Trent staff as a whole. I believe as a whole collective we can make a difference for the student experience and as support staff I feel we have all made a difference recognizing our 50th Anniversary. To be recognized in this way is something I will always cherish and carry with me.”