ERC Surprises Nina Bates

March 15, 2022
Nina Bates is surprised with a Big Check!

Nina Bates, Director, Operations and Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Provost, was extremely surprised and came out of the office thinking something was wrong…It was nice to see the look on her face when it was announced she would be a recipient of the UA Award for Excellence by the ERC Surprise Patrol!

Nina’s ability to join a project at any point and bring people together to achieve a goal makes her an invaluable asset to any team that is lucky enough to have her. You are probably familiar with many of the projects Nina has quietly stewarded forward over the last few years. The Bear Down sign in front main library and the swings that were set up in front of Modern Languages in the fall (which the students are petitioning to bring back, by the way!). She has also played a key role in the planning, implementation, and groundbreaking ceremonies for the Grand Challenges Building, Old Chem Renovation project, Bear Down Gym renovation, and the Student Success District. These are just a few examples of outstanding achievements within Nina’s portfolio in the past years.

The pandemic created new large-scale challenges for the university community. Nina immediately rose to the challenge, demonstrating outstanding service to the university community. She quickly went to work coordinating large scale communication efforts; creating websites, FAQs, presentations, collecting and organizing data, coordinating webinars (more on that below) and whatever else was needed to support the university through this chaotic time. She was a lead not only for the Provost’s Office covid mitigations but for the office managers in the Administration Building as well. She ensured that employees in the building had the relevant information to best support their units and navigate through the ever-changing landscape. Nina was essential in creating and maintaining the Pandemic Academic Coordination Council. A group tasked with making recommendations for pandemic mitigations related to the academic and instructional mission of the university. Additionally, during the pandemic, the Office of the Provost started regular webinar sessions to share updates and information related to instruction, safety, covid mitigations and many other topics to engage with faculty and staff. Thanks to Nina, the Office of the Provost has also coordinated and supported a handful of campus webinars with health experts to discuss the science behind covid and the vaccines.


We could go on and on about all the reasons why Nina deserves this recognition. To me, Nina embodies the wildcat spi rit completely. She goes into every interaction with integrity and compassion, she is indeed insatiably curious, open minded to new ideas and ways to innovate. Nina leads with inclusion and is always brimming with determination. She is the type of colleague who pushes you to be better while at the same time building you up. Nina is always willing to support a colleague matter how busy she is. Whether that be with a supportive conversation or by offering training and mentoring, she is there and willing to help. Nina Bates is a true value to the University of Arizona, and is the first of our 2022 winners.  Congratulations Nina!