Melissa Hull, administrative coordinator in the Department of English, has been named the 2023 recipient of the A. Jane Morton Award for Excellence in Staff Performance. Each year, the A. Jane Morton Award honoree is selected from a group of nominated active full-time exempt and non-exempt staff personnel who have been University employees for at least five years. The award-one of Ball State’s most prestigious honors-recognizes a continual demonstration of outstanding efforts of one person to all segments of the University community. Those who nominated Ms. Hull lauded her as a caring and dedicated professional, citing numerous examples to support this praise.
How does it feel to have earned this award?
It feels very exciting. I don’t know if I feel like I earned it, but I feel lucky to have been given it. I worked with some really great people. Sharon Hillman was the person in my job before me, and she did a really good job of preparing me for how to do my job. And then I’ve got my incredible staff; Tara Shinn, Rachel Lauve, and Scott Thomas. Working with a good group makes it really easy to do good work. So I attribute everything to other people.
Can you tell me more about the award and its significance?
So the Jane Morton Award is named after a staff member who used to work in the sponsored programs administration. She worked really hard to make this campus a better place for other staff members. So for me, the significance is wanting to pay it forward by helping other people learn their jobs.
How have your work environment and the people around you contributed to you achieving this award?
The English department is the largest academic unit on campus. We’re as big as many colleges on Ball State’s campus. I get to work with over a hundred wonderful people; I’ve got my staff members, our administrators, and then a whole host of incredible student workers like the ones interviewing me. And so, it’s just, being part of a big community that makes you want to help other people because of the way they help you.
What does a typical week in your position look like?
During a regular academic year, I answer about a hundred emails a day. I order furniture and run all the travel reimbursements for all of our faculty. I help our students travel and process awards and scholarships. I direct people to things as simple as moving boxes or giving them the keys to their offices. It looks very busy, but it’s greatly rewarding. I don’t do well with downtime and like to be kept going a lot.
What are some of your skills that you believe have helped you in this accomplishment?
Recognition of other people’s talent and the ability to thank them for where they got me. Also, any staff member at Ball State has to be incredibly organized. Being able to keep on track when you’ve got a hundred different emails. Being able to keep track of who needs what, when, and where. It’s the most boring but most important skill of my job.
What led you to your current position?
I used to be a faculty member at the University of Alabama and taught in their English department. I loved teaching, and I still do. I teach a little bit here at Ball State, but I decided I wanted to have a job that ended at 5:00 PM. With teaching, I never stopped checking emails until 3:00 AM. This combined with student meetings on weekends and nights led me here for a more concrete work day. My husband also got a job teaching in this department so it’s closer to family. Ultimately, Ball State houses such a beautiful campus and wonderful community to be a part of. I’d never want to go anywhere else.