Schenk Receives CMNS Dean’s Outstanding Employee Award

Thu May 02, 2019

Arlene Schenk, assistant director of payroll and benefits for the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), has been honored with the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) Dean’s Outstanding Employee Award for the incredible level of service she provides to not only UMIACS, but to the entire campus.

The CMNS Dean’s Awards recognize outstanding members of the UMD community. Nominations are collected from students, faculty and staff.

In a nomination form for the award, Emily Hartz, executive director of administration and operations for UMIACS, wrote of Schenk: “Her work quality and the volume of work production is second to none.”

She adds that Schenk, who came to CMNS after working in the offices of the university’s vice president for research and the Graduate School, has, “a reputation across campus for being the ultimate authority on payroll issues. Even on top of her incredible workload for UMIACS, she spends a good chunk of her time guiding her colleagues in other units on the proper navigation of just about any issue that you can imagine relating to payroll processing, policy, documentation, etc.”

Hartz says that Schenk, who has worked for CMNS and UMIACS for 13 years, also takes it upon herself every year to write and distribute a manual on the critical elements of payroll and benefits. It includes deadline and holiday calendars; important policies, instructions and changes relating to payroll and the systems used to process it; tuition remission policies and rates; salary guidelines, policies and restrictions; and other useful information sourced from offices throughout the campus.

Hartz concludes her nomination by noting that during her 20 years at the university, she has done payroll herself and supervised multiple other payroll coordinators.

“Though payroll has always been executed and managed effectively in those units, no one that I have worked with up until now could come close to managing the job that Arlene does in UMIACS,” Hartz writes.

Hartz says she is thrilled that Schenk was chosen to receive this award.

“Arlene is a truly exceptional employee,” Hartz says. “I am excited and thankful to see her receiving the recognition that she so richly deserves.”

Yerty Valenzuela, associate director of administration for UMIACS, says she has known Schenk for 23 years and that her work ethic has never ceased to amaze her.

The two met in 1996 in the university’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She says that was Schenk’s first job at UMD and they quickly became friends.

When Valenzuela moved to UMIACS in 1998, she wanted Schenk to come with her, but Schenk accepted a different position at the university. With some persistence, Valenzuela was eventually able to convince Schenk to join UMIACS.

“Since then, we have made a great team,” Valenzuela says. “Arlene’s work ethic and all-around character are always above and beyond, and I am so happy that she is being recognized with this award.”

Schenk will be formally recognized at the college’s Academic Festival on Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Physical Sciences Complex.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld