UM-Flint Staff Spotlight: Ellen Buchholz

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Ellen Buchholz: Physical Therapy Business Administrator and 2016 UM-Flint Staff Recognition Award nominee
Ellen Buchholz: Physical Therapy Business Administrator and 2016 UM-Flint Staff Recognition Award nominee

Each year, the UM-Flint Staff Council‘s Staff Recognition Award is given to deserving candidates who have been nominated by supervisors or colleagues from around the university. The award criteria focus on leadership, teamwork, service, and dedication.

In 2016, nearly twenty deserving candidates were considered before two winners were selected. However, being nominated is an honor in and of itself.  We would like to highlight those nominated and share their stories as submitted by their nominators.


Meet Ellen Buchholz

Ellen Buchholz has served the UM-Flint Physical Therapy (PT) Department since 2012 as their Business Administrator. These most recent years of service are part of her 20 year tenure at the University of Michigan.

Nominator James Creps of Physical Therapy lauded Buchholz for her development of a new PT budget model upon her arrival in the department. He noted, “This act of leadership was imperative, because the department had grown from a single program to a department offering three different programs over a period of just a few years.” Ms. Buchholz navigated the challenges of having both program and centralized budget issues and provided data that allowed the department to make informed program decisions and create enrollment goals.

Continued Creps, “Ellen developed the theoretical construct, as well as the operational plan for this budget model entirely on her own . . . Not only did she not wait to be directed, but she led the charge by mentoring the management team in recognizing the importance of the change. As a result of her actions, Ms. Buchholz cemented her role and administrative authority within the department.”

Ms. Buchholz received supporting nominations from her school’s dean, her department’s director, and one of her faculty members. Each spoke of her dedication, competence, and professionalism in her work with faculty, staff, students, and administrators.

Part of the UM-Flint Team

In addition to her contributions to the budgetary side of the department, Ms. Buchholz’s work with her fellow staff members was also brought to light by multiple nominators. Noted Dean Donna Fry, “Ellen came into the department when the department was experiencing significant turmoil in both faculty and staff ranks. I worked with Ellen to re-align staff reporting lines so that all staff reported to her. She then worked highly effectively with staff to very clearly define staff roles. Her leadership in re-aligning staff responsibilities and roles really had a positive effect on staff morale and stress levels decreased significantly for staff in the department. She continually works with staff who report to her to support them in their professional development and to help them to understand and navigate their roles.”

Dean Fry’s sentiment was echoed by James Creps who added, “Professional development is a hallmark of Ms. Buchholz, even if it means that the staff she trains may one day move away from the department. Ellen always approaches these tasks within the department with a positive attitude and in a spirit of collegiality. It is these traits of teamwork which have yielded her the devotion of her coworkers within the department.”

Cathy Larson, Associate Professor and Associate Director for Research and the PhD in PT, expressed gratitude for Ms. Buchholz’s dedication and willingness to step in wherever needed. She specifically noted work that supports PT students: organizing student travel for conference attendance, facilitating the creation and posting of graduate student research assistantships, and learning the ins and outs of requirements for practicum in the PhD program.

Allon Goldberg, Director of the Physical Therapy Department, joined Larson in noting Ms. Buchholz’s work with faculty—especially LEO members. He credited her with the development of a LEO salary model that was approved by both Academic HR and the LEO union.

Creps closed his nomination by saying, “Ellen Buchholz has worked tirelessly and joyfully to make sure the mission and vision of the department, school, and university are achieved. She epitomizes what service and dedication are all about, and it’s hard to imagine someone more worthy of receiving the staff award than her. In fact, when discussion in the department turned to who would be most deserving of receiving the Staff Council Staff Recognition Award, the choice to bring her forward for nomination was unanimous.”

Congratulations, Ellen Buchholz, on your nomination!

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