Manager of the Year: Edward F. (“Ned”) Brooks
On April 16, UMA presented our annual Manager of the Year award to Ned Brooks. Long-time UMA members will know that Ned has been active in UMA from the beginning. In fact, Ned was part of a small group from the first two University Management Development Program (UMDP) classes to start UMA! Ned served as treasurer of the association from 1989-1992.
But, Ned’s involvement in campus life spans much more than our own association. He first joined the Carolina family in 1972 as a research associate in what is now the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. From 1973 to 1986, he was associate director at the Sheps Center, and in 2000 he was named a senior fellow. Ned has also been adjunct faculty in the School of Public Health; assistant vice chancellor for health affairs; associate vice provost for health affairs; and associate provost—a position he will retire from this June. When Dick Richardson, former provost, had a mild heart attack in 1999, Ned stepped in as acting provost. We were in the middle of a severe budget crunch and had an acting chancellor at our helm. Ned helped get us through that difficult period with his usual good humor, good sense, and devotion to the campus community. Linda Naylor, administrative assistant in the provost’s office, saw Ned work during this period firsthand. She believes “if all were as it should be in this world, Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary would define ‘people skills’ with two words—Ned Brooks.”
From a list of his job titles, it’s easy to see Ned’s extensive contribution to our work environment. But that list isn’t enough to describe fully how Ned has impacted faculty, staff, and students. Since 1996, Ned has been on the board of APPLES, our undergraduate service learning program. He was a member of the 1995-1996 Employee Forum. He has been on the policy board of HEELS for Health since 1991. He was involved in early planning for the university day care center and helped start the Center for Public Service. He has taken on jobs we would all generally agree are tough and thankless. In 1987 and 1988, he chaired an ad hoc committee to review faculty tenure and promotion guidelines in the Division of Health Affairs, and from 1993 to 1997, he was on the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee. Our provost Robert Shelton says, “Ned Brooks's commitment to the people at Carolina is deep, genuine, and unsurpassed. His support for managers as the individuals who lead the institution in its day-to-day business comes from the heart. I admire his ability to treat everyone fairly and with a supportive kindness that is infectious.” Ned’s heartfelt commitment is expressed with daily action.
Our surrounding community has not escaped Ned’s care either. Ned serves on the boards of the United Way of North Carolina and the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. He is a member of the State Employees’ Combined Campaign Advisory Committee, the Orange County Healthy Carolinians Task Force, and the Public-Private partnership. And these are just some of his current activities!
Ned the employee is well-known on campus. Ned the man may be less well known. In the provost’s suite hang a number of Ned’s drawings, for example. Bill Smith, professor of mathematics, worked with Ned Brooks in the Office of the Provost between 1996 and 2000. He states that “Ned Brooks is both an
extremely competent administrator and a nice person. When you look at some of his work hanging in the Provost's office, you see a reflection of the detail and compassion that is associated with all of his efforts.”
Ned is, as Winnie the Pooh might say, a Good Bear. His staff respect and like him. His colleagues speak of him with appreciation and fondness. Linda Naylor knows how much he has contributed: “It is difficult to imagine this office without Ned!” UMA member and assistant provost Tim Sanford speaks for many of us when he says, “He's one heckuva guy and will be missed more than any of us can imagine!” Linda adds that “Ned has set a standard for future nominees of the University Managers Association Manager of the Year award that will be difficult to meet and perhaps impossible to surpass.”
UMA is pleased to have bestowed our annual Manager of the Year award on Edward F. (“Ned”) Brooks.