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Published May 18, 2020
A service-oriented, thoughtful and compassionate leader who keeps students at the heart of what she does is the recipient of the University of Wyoming’s Staff Employee of the First Quarter Award.
Libby Thorson is the sexual misconduct investigator in the Dean of Students Office, where she has worked since December 2017. She responds to each report the university receives related to students who may have been impacted by experiences of sexual misconduct. She contacts those students to provide supportive measures, often working with faculty and other departments to collaborate on addressing academic, counseling and safety needs.
She also investigates sexual misconduct incidents in which students request investigations from UW under Title IX. Additionally, she serves on the UWYO Cares threat assessment team.
Thorson’s nominators note not only the high caliber of her work, but also her concern for the people she works with and serves.
“She communicates effectively and centers compassion,” a colleague says. “She brings her whole self to the work that she does, and ensures that everything she does is done well and keeps people involved and included.”
Another colleague says that she “is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure the individuals she is working with are taken care of.”
In January, she took on the interim role of implementing the Green Dot bystander intervention program, a best-practice program shown to reduce rates of stalking, relationship violence and sexual assault on campuses across the country.
“She is helping to improve our campus in so many ways by leading this initiative,” a colleague says. “In addition, she is great at organizing groups of people and calling for action. I am not in the same department or area, but I can see how she impacts other departments and the campus as a whole.”
Thorson managed the “Train the Trainer” session in early January. She and her team started overview trainings for faculty and staff in April and quickly adjusted to providing those trainings via Zoom due to the pandemic. As of May 14, 264 staff, faculty and administrators have completed the training. The team is working on the student trainings, which will launch in the fall.
“She is doing a great job making sure we stay on our timeline getting campus integrated,” a nominator says. “She just has a service-oriented heart and does a great job being an innovator, a servant and an outstanding employee at UW.”
Thorson recently collaborated with Kathy Burke, from the UW Foundation, and Emily Edgar and Mindy Peep, from UW Institutional Marketing, to raise funds and engage the community virtually for Denim Day 2020. The team helped raise $1,665 for a survivor emergency fund. Numerous members of the UW community wore denim in support of sexual violence prevention and posted their photos online.
Additionally, Thorson serves as the UW chapter adviser for Alpha Phi, a sorority that joined UW’s Fraternity and Sorority Life last fall. She is an alumna of the chapter at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
“I volunteer to serve in this capacity because of the valuable leadership opportunities provided to its members,” Thorson says. “I know that being engaged helps not only retain students, but it prepares them for life after graduation.”
Thorson says she is honored to be recognized by her colleagues.
“This honor really is a reflection of my colleagues and friends at UW who strive for excellence in all they do,” Thorson says. “More importantly, maybe, is that this recognition is a call for me to continue to find innovative and best-practice ways to serve UW students. Further, it reminds me of the value of collaboration and the creation of relationships across departments and units. I think the Cowboy spirit really is that we are stronger together, and we can create positive change together.”
A reception to honor Thorson will be announced at a later date.
An Employee of the Quarter nominee can be any UW staff employee, and each must receive three nomination forms from three separate individuals. Nominations must be submitted to the Staff Senate office. The forms are on the web and can be found here.
For more information, call the Staff Senate office at 766-5300.