Carol Nielsen: Keeping Cooke Hall running smoothly

NielsenC-2011With two decades of experience at the School of Kinesiology, Carol Nielsen has mastered her job as the Executive Office and Administration Specialist. She takes on many responsibilities to fulfill her mission to better the school, and throughout her time here she has defined her career and established meaningful relationships with everyone she has worked with.

Carol’s day-to-day responsibilities vary but her overall commitments are supporting faculty with course management, helping students with enrolling in classes, maintaining the school’s various programs, and coordinating facilities. She also took initiative in bringing the school community together by heading up the School Social Committee. For over ten years Carol has served on the Committee and planned social functions like holiday gatherings, retirement parties, and potlucks – creating wonderful memories for everyone.

Carol shared, “One of the best aspects of my position is I am able to problem-solve and think creatively when tackling challenging issues.” Tricia Davies, the school’s administrative director, corroborates this approach by describing Nielsen’s work style and approach to challenging issues in saying, “Carol takes the initiative to investigate and solve problems—and more importantly, she takes the right steps to avert many problems before they ever arise.” Davies went on to give an example of Nielsen’s knowledge and proficiency: “While we were meeting recently to discuss a complex scheduling issue, I asked Carol if she liked doing jigsaw puzzles—which she does, and enjoys! It is obvious to all our faculty and staff that Carol is a master of—and relishes—completing the 10,000-piece puzzle that is the School of Kinesiology’s semester schedule. Carol is the key to making sure all the pieces fit beautifully together for curriculum, scheduling, and many other areas in the department with no pieces left in the box.”

Carol frequently steps outside her daily responsibilities to achieve more for the school. One of her favorite projects was her sole effort in planning and implementing a remodel of the Cooke Hall lobby. “There was so much unused space and that frustrated me,” she says. “I saw the space as an opportunity to bring students and faculty together; I wanted to bring our entire community together. With a small budget and some help,” she adds modestly, “I managed to place tables, chairs, and some lighting in what had basically become a dark entryway to the rest of the building. Now students fill up the space and use the lobby as a destination space for studying, holding impromptu meetings and just visiting.”

Carol is described by many in the school as a diligent worker and a natural problem-solver. She has effortlessly impacted her colleagues, faculty, and students while working in the department. Dr. Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center and professor in the school, shared her thoughts on how important Carol is to the department: “For her entire career, Carol Nielsen has been guided by one important and steadfast principle: To do whatever she can to support faculty, staff and students in the most professional way. Her incredible institutional memory—as well as her contacts throughout the University—are matched only by her commitment and dedication to ‘get the job done’ on behalf of all of us. We are lucky to have Carol as a member of our department.”

Carol Nielsen accomplishes meaningful work everyday, and it is abundantly clear that the School of Kinesiology could not run as efficiently without her. Even more, Carol has gone out of her way to help establish a greater sense of community within the School of Kinesiology. The school is so lucky to have her as part of the team.


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