When you hear that sentiment endorsed by Evelyn Brod and Carl Huether -- two UC faculty members who have done as much of that as any one on campus – you tend to believe it.
It is also the reason why they are outstanding choices as the inaugural winners of the new Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University of Cincinnati. The award is presented by UC’s Faculty Senate.
Given the demands maintaining an academic career of excellence can make on faculty, it is understandable and perfectly logical that taking an interest in the broader functioning of a large and complex university such as UC would be daunting to many professors. But repeatedly, Brod and Huether were willing to look beyond to how they could serve the greater good.
"The gratification of trying to make things better is really well worth it, as is the chance to work with other colleagues," says Huether, a professor of biology who has been at the university for 39 years. "When I first came here, there was a faculty dining room where you could kind of sit at random with other faculty and you had a chance to interact with colleagues who had different perspectives and life experiences. That’s wonderful – that’s why you’re at a university."
Brod, a professor of Spanish at Raymond Walters College with 35 years at UC, has found the experience similarly gratifying.
"I think I’ve gotten a feeling of doing something worthwhile, and then there are all the friendships I’ve been able to make around the university," she says. "To me, the heart is the most important thing, and so many friendships have come of this at the same time you have the feeling of making your world better."
Listings of service work done for the university and their departments literally cover several pages in the CVs of both Brod and Huether. Both have more than 20 years experience serving in the Faculty Senate, and have between the two of them been involved in virtually every major initiative in recent memory at the university.
Of Brod, Associate Senior Librarian Les Vuylsteke says: "Her curriculum vitae lists an impressive number of committees, but more important that that is the impact of her service. Evy brought matters to the attention of key administrators, faculty and student government leaders and was tenacious in critiquing and encouraging their performance."
In nominating Huether, Associate Professor of English John Bryan notes that many people with his length of tenure at one institution end up suffering from cynicism or withdrawing from service. But, "Bert Huether has not merely devoted enormous amounts of time to service – time that would have better profited him personally if devoted instead to his research program – but he has focused that service in ways that have produced many benefits for the university, for his faculty colleagues, for the profession and for his students. I have found his energy and commitment to the university to be a source of inspiration."
Huether says he always functioned well in administrative situations, dating back to his time served in the Navy beginning in 1959 when he was administration/personnel officer for his base in Kodiak, Alaska.
"I’ve known for a good while that I’m kind of a pathologic administrative type," he jokes. "My wife tells me repeatedly that I’ve raised my hand way too often."
But the skills learned through service paid Huether back in his push to establish a multidisciplinary genetic counseling program at the university in the late 1970s. After a five-year struggle, the Ohio Board of Regents approved the program in 1982.
"It took most everything I could muster to figure out how it would ultimately maneuver itself to be approved," says Huether. "Now, 20 years later, it’s one of the top programs at the university."
Brod calls another reward for her service the knowledge that she has made a contribution to the university which is also her alma mater.
"A love of the university has been a part of this," she says. "It’s my alma mater, and I truly love it. I’m very happy that Faculty Senate has instituted this award. (Faculty service) keeps the university moving forward. A lot of faculty do things behind the scenes, and this may bring some more recognition to that with more faculty being recognized down the line."