Humans of Biology

Moon. Carolyn Moon

 

Carolyn Moon

At the end of the summer, Carolyn Moon, Manager, Finance and Administration, Department of Biology is retiring after more than 32 years at UTM.

Carolyn started at UTM in the summer of 1987,  as secretary in the Departments of Biology and Psychology, and after a short stint in the Department of Geology, she returned to the Department of Biology in 1995 as Assistant to the Chair. In 2003, she became the Manager, Finance and Administration, of the newly created Department of Biology at UTM.

Carolyn leads initiatives for the department and takes leading roles working on UTM initiatives.

She oversaw the TA allocation pilot project working with the Office of the Dean. The evaluation of our TAs has taken Carolyn an enormous amount of time, thinking, planning and then data collecting. She knows the courses inside and out and she is well aware of what each course entails with regard to the TA contract. She analyses and evaluates the data and now she has implemented a new TA budget to support teaching in Biology.

Due to Carolyn's financial acuity she was asked by the Vice-Dean Research Office to help with the purchasing of equipment on a recent large CFI award in Biology. She is always up to date on the latest policies concerning finances at U of T and therefore is well aware of the processes that need to be followed.

Carolyn was the point person for Biology on the large FMP committee to oversee the SIF improvements which were improvements to HVAC, fume hoods, etc. These improvements meant disruption to every laboratory in the department and therefore led to an interruption in the research of every faculty member. There was great concern when this project began at UTM and through Carolyn’s active membership on this committee she ensured that communication to all departments was open and transparent and that the needs of the faculty were overseen and their research needs were protected.

Carolyn was instrumental, in collaboration with the Chairs, Angela Lange and Joel Levine, in setting up the first endowment fund in biology to support excellence in our graduate students. able to give out the first award of $1000 to a deserving graduate student. This award was deemed very important to show appreciation to our graduate students and to ensure that they felt supported by their graduate home on our campus. This type of leadership speaks to an understanding of the need for a feeling of family within the department and mutual respect for all members of the department.

The Manager-Mentor

The most important leadership quality in Carolyn is her ability to build a well working department in which the staff are involved and feel empowered to develop ideas of their own. Carolyn also encourages the individuals that she works with to speak up about their ideas related to the jobs they perform or about the department in general. She involves them in decisions and allows them to contribute to the goals of the unit. Carolyn is careful to make sure that any workload issues are dealt with appropriately so that there is no inequities. Carolyn has encouraged staff to expand their responsibilities, work in teams, and attend workshops to expand their skill sets. She is incredibly supportive of her staff and nominates them for campus-wide awards, when applicable. Carolyn fosters a collegial and cooperative attitude within her group.

“Carolyn Moon is the person I credit for helping me launch my career at the University of Toronto. She gave me the opportunity to develop my skills as a professional in the role of a financial assistant at the Department of Biology. She happily and sincerely encouraged my professional growth and development without hesitation.

She was an exceptional manager, one who would let me learn by using my own judgement as a young developing professional; she encouraged me to seek challenging opportunities within the University and was genuinely happy for my success when the opportunity presented to advance my career outside of the department. She always had just the right words and demeanor to make you feel comfortable and at ease, yet was always a guiding hand when her senior leadership and experience was needed for advice.

Carolyn is well respected and admired in the UTM campus. She is resourceful, supportive and she will not hesitate to help or ask for help when needed”. (Cristina Huerta,  Senior Faculty Financial Officer, Faculty of Arts and Science)

Carolyn Moon always acts towards others in a civil manner and one which supports a healthy, inclusive workplace. Carolyn is often sought after for advice by faculty and staff and I have often heard her dealing with a frustrated faculty member who needs to be dealt with in a calm manner to allow the faulty member to realign their thoughts and feelings. Carolyn will then help them deal with the issue or direct the faculty member to the person who can help. In a similar manner, Carolyn deals with students in a very fair and equitable manner no matter who they are and no matter what their problems or issues are. I have heard her diffuse some student situations that could get out of control. She is very good at listening and giving input to help in whatever the issues are.

Carolyn approaches her work in a judicious and superior manner that promotes the University’s norms, values, beliefs, policies and procedures. She is extremely knowledgeable and complies with required University policies and procedures. She is always updating her knowledge as policies are changed and she is the first one to ask for clarification on these new policies – these clarifications often lead to the administration needing to send out clarifications to UTM as a whole, showing that Carolyn is on top of all aspects of these new policies. Carolyn exercises awareness and initiative in understanding governance and the institution’s mission/values, community and culture.

Her ability to problem solve and to plan and organize has been a real asset to Biology. One real asset is that she shows great initiative and insight into the department. She is an active participant in most decisions in the department and she is well regarded by all students, staff and faculty within our group. She is sought after for advice and help by all.

The look

Well aware that the physical appearance of the departmental space did not adequately reflect biology and did not look professional, Carolyn started a hallway beautification project.

Carolyn is very creative and well aware of the value of looking professional. She worked with a variety of different groups, including graduate students from biology and BMC, to design a new look and with Facilities Management & Planning to paint the corridors, affix special name plates to each office to allow faculty to highlight latest research articles, affix display boards for research posters, produces a wall of original digital art highlighting the accomplishments of emeritus faculty, framed covers from leading journals that were produced by faculty within the department and the Graduate Student Legacy Wall, where students sign their name on wood disks of a tree that was of significance to our campus.

Hallway

Hallway

 

wood Hallway

 

In his book "Good to Great", Jim Collins highlights that leaders who bring their organization from good to great tend to remain in the background supporting others. They tend not to take credit or boast. They tend to let others take the lead and provide opportunities. They implement their vision by helping others be their best. Carolyn Moon is that person. In my opinion we have her to thank for the high quality of our work and achievement in the Biology department. She should be recognized and held up as an example of what is great about our university. (Prof. Joel Levine, Chair, Department of Biology)

by Mariana Ostache

Contributors:

Prof. Joel Levine, Chair, Department of Biology, UTM

Prof. Angela Lange, Vice-Dean, Faculty, UTM

Prof. Marc Johnson, Associate Professor of Biology, Director of the Centre for Urban Environments