Becky Bufkin Debbie Sharp
The University Staff Council at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith presented Lucille Speakman Excellence Awards to Becky Bufkin of Greenwood and Debbie Sharp of Roland, Okla., during its annual staff meeting Sept. 27.
Bufkin is an administrative specialist in the College of Health Sciences at UAFS, where she serves as the receptionist for Dr. Carolyn Mosley, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and assists with duties in the varied academic programs in the college.
But it was her drive to go above and beyond her job duties that earned her the award, according to Mosley, who read her nomination letter at the staff meeting prior to the acceptance of her award.
“As an administrative specialist, she does the typical duties associated with this role. However, administrative specialist responsibilities and duties in the CHS are not typical,” Mosley said. “As an example, Becky must maintain criminal background checks, immunizations, drug screens, and medical release records for students. She maintains and files student counseling records and disciplinary reports and drafts annual accreditation reports … She readily works into the wee hours of the night to assist with getting the job done. She epitomizes the phrase, ‘team player.’”
In addition, Bufkin was nominated for the award by all of the executive directors within the CHS, which Mosley said was yet another testament to her deserving the award.
Bufkin has worked at UAFS since 2008 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville.
Sharp currently serves as the associate controller in the Business Office at the university, where she supervises finance staff and performs a variety of duties, including analyzing and preparing financial reports, maintaining chart of accounts for the university and the UAFS Foundation, and performing accounting records reviews and internal audits.
In his nomination letter, Controller Robert Wilson charted her professional career which began as a student worker and lauded the institutional knowledge Sharp possesses in her role.
“She has extensive financial knowledge of our operations. Because she has done all facets of the finance operations, she does not feel any task is beneath her and is willing to do whatever is necessary to get the job done,” Wilson said. “In addition, her knowledge of campus history provides a resource to assist with issues as they arise. If you want to know what happened in 1988, 1995, or 2001, Debbie has the history of what occurred on campus and why decisions were made as they were. A price cannot be put on the knowledge she brings to the campus.”
Wilson also complimented her leadership ability, describing her as “a leader who provides the example to her staff on how to be a professional.”
“She treats her staff with respect, deals fairly with them and values their opinions and ideas. She is approachable and is open to new ideas and is willing to implement those that have merit and value,” Wilson said. “Because she has the welfare of her staff at heart, she has the dedication and support of them. Her employees don’t work for her but with her. This has created a loyalty from her staff who will go the extra mile to accomplish the myriad of duties, tasks and challenges faced daily by the Finance Office.”
Breedlove began working at UAFS in 1973 as a student worker. After moving to continue her education, she returned to the university in 1981, initially as an accountant. Since then, she has served several roles in the Business Office prior to her current position.
For winning the awards, Bufkin and Sharp will each receive a $2,500 monetary award. The award is named for the late Lucille Speakman, a longtime teacher, administrator and member of the Board of Trustees when UAFS was a two-year community college.
The University Staff Council is comprised of all UAFS full- and part-time employees who are not deans, members of the faculty or members of the chancellor’s senior staff. Previous Lucille Speakman Excellence Award winners select the new recipients.