Michelle Chapman awarded Staff Excellence Award for her 30+ years of outstanding work

Chapman is a Research Administration Senior Manager who embodies excellence, service, and compassionate leadership.
Michelle Chapman

Michelle Chapman, Research Administration Senior Manager, received a Staff Excellence Award from the College of Engineering in recognition of her 30+ years of outstanding service to faculty, staff and students.

“Michelle works tirelessly, produces the highest quality results, is a calm leader through adversity and change, and I feel is an inspiration to all of us,” said Prof. David Wentzloff, Lab Manager for the Michigan Integrated Circuits Laboratory.

One of Chapman’s responsibilities is to shepherd research grants through the system, from their initial application to ongoing management of successful grants. She has been praised for being precise and lightning fast, despite serving about 30 active faculty with a wide variety of grants, both large and small, industrial and governmental. These faculty are constantly breaking new ground with their entrepreneurial approach to research, and they rely heavily on her expertise and support.

As a research manager, Chapman is responsible for supervising six staff members, from hiring, to onboarding, and ongoing management. This includes staff for a multidisciplinary program, Engineering Education Research (EER), that technically resides outside of ECE.

“Michelle not only leads by example but also consistently encourages and supports me and my colleagues,” said Kim Novak, Senior Administrative Assistant. In addition to helping her grow professionally, Novak added that Chapman “exemplifies what it means to be welcoming and inclusive.”

Chapman extends her outstanding service and supportive attitude to the 125+ graduate students associated with her faculty. Recent PHD graduate Menglou Rao and current PHD candidate Aditya Varma Muppala stated that “Michelle plays a central role in ensuring efficient operations as well as a welcoming and inclusive lab space.” Both students came from another country to study at Michigan, and recalled, “It was a stressful time in our lives, but Michelle made the process as smooth as possible. It made us feel welcome in a place that was daunting and new. We could stop by her office at any time with questions and she was there to answer them and make sure we were doing well.”

And despite her extensive “normal” activities, she regularly steps up to help out when circumstances leave a void in coverage. For example, she extended her support to an entire research area for more than six months while a new research manager was being hired, and then trained the individual. She learned the ins and outs of the EER program, and provided extra support when two staff members abruptly left their positions. And when faced with complicated grants, some spanning multiple departments, she found creative ways to solutions, in the process saving tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Chapman recently joined the Committee for an Inclusive Department, which will certainly benefit from her innate abilities and compassion.

“Her kindness, unparalleled understanding of university policies and procedures, and tireless dedication to our department prove she is an invaluable asset to the Michigan Engineering community,” stated Lisa Armstrong, Department Administrator.

Chapman will receive the award at a special ceremony on May 25, 2023.