Timpa is Education’s ‘ambassador of first impressions’

nancy timpaHelpful, dependable, thoughtful and ever-pleasant are words that co-workers use to describe Nancy Timpa, an office services specialist in the School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Timpa’s help is said to come in ways many are unaware of — but should be thankful for — and for this and other reasons she was chosen as UAB’s Employee of the Month for December.

Her career at UAB spans 26 years, the past six in the School of Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction, which Timpa serves with a “smiling face and gentle spirit” even when dealing with challenging people or frustrating situations, says Chair Lynn Kirkland, Ed.D.

Associate Professor Michele Jean Sims, Ed.D., confirms she “consistently displays positive energy in support of any student, staff, faculty member or visitor requiring assistance.”

“She brings a smile to work and helps to create an atmosphere as a front-line employee that is both welcoming to new visitors to our department and responsive to individual needs for those seeking help,” said Professor James Ernest, Ph.D.

How does she do that day in and out?

“Every day you get to choose the kind of day you’ll have,” Timpa said. “I get up every day and choose to have a good one.”

Timpa shies from the limelight this award brings, but she is not averse to the hard work that led co-workers to nominate her for it.

She is an “outstanding professional with a high degree of technical and organizational skills” who “provides moral support and encouragement during stressful times at work and on a personal basis,” according to University Professor Jennifer Kilgo, Ed.D.

“Having worked for many years in community and university settings with many professionals from multiple disciplines, I have seldom had the opportunity to work with a more dedicated, motivated, positive and conscientious professional,” Kilgo said.

Assistant Professor Diane Pevsner, Ph.D., benefitted from Timpa’s helpfulness as a student, an adjunct and full-time member of the faculty. In her first faculty stint, Pevsner said she knew answers to very of the non-course content questions asked her by students and turned to Timpa. “Not only did she have the answers to all of my questions, but she also made me feel comfortable to approach her at any time.”

Associate Professor Tonya Perry agreed: “When you work with Nancy, although she assists about 60 people in the department (not to mention the many students who ask questions of her), you feel as if you are the only one she is helping — you feel important and cared for.”

Timpa admits to knowing a little bit about everything — being a jack-of-all-trades — but says the real skill is “knowing how to find what you don't know.”

To her, the challenge is worth the reward. “I enjoy knowing that I play a part in their success,” Timpa said.

And that she does, said Instructor Debbie Fly, who also singled out Timpa for setting a fine example.

“In the School of Education, we frequently encourage our students to serve as role models for others,” Fly said. “Her title should be Ambassador of First Impressions.”