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Valerie Tan, the associate chair for administration in the Department of Allied Health Sciences in the UNC School of Medicine, has been selected as the staff recipient of the 2020 University Awards for the Advancement of Women, offered annually by the Carolina Women’s Center.

Valerie Tan
Valerie Tan

Tan, who began work at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2004 and received the 2019 University Managers Award, is a board member for the Association for Women Faculty and Professionals, an organization that offers programs and facilities networking among professional women across campus.

Tan said she is honored and humbled to receive the award and is grateful to be part of a University community that values women and women in leadership roles.

“Throughout my life I have benefited from the support and encouragement of others,” Tan said. “I hope that I continue to share inspirations, celebrate successes, and support other women in the same ways that so many that I have crossed paths with have done for me.”

One of Tan’s nominees noted her dedication to female staff in order to develop higher-level skillsets in order to help them achieve and advance to their next career goal.

“[S]he is quick to recognize in-house talent, and…is a leading supporter in recommending female staff to take leadership or board member roles with campus groups.”

Another nominee noted Tan’s responsiveness to policies that impact women in their families. For example, when faculty were hesitant to use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy because of a concern it might overburden colleagues, Tan established a policy and funding to defray additional costs for hiring adjunct faculty or for teaching needs.

The Carolina Women’s Center Women’s Advocacy Award launched in 2001 to recognize faculty and staff who have made a substantial contribution to the climate for gender equity on campus as a result of their leadership in advocating for women.

Her personal interests include supporting local organizations, including the Compass Center, with her artwork and volunteering with Cinderella’s Closet.

Prior to joining the University, Tan worked for Carnegie Mellon University as program coordinator for international programs in the Tepper School of Business. Her career in administration began 25 years ago at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at SUNY Buffalo.

Stephen Hooper, associate dean of medicine and chair of the Department of Allied Health Sciences, said Tan represented the bedrock of the department and is a champion of equity for both faculty and staff.

“This award is particularly important and deserving in a department that comprises more than 85 percent female faculty and staff,” Hooper said. “Ms. Tan is most deserving, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Other University winners include:
  • Amelia Fischer Drake, MD, FACS
  • Anna Manocha, sophomore at UNC-CH
  • Shannon Speer, PhD student, Department of Chemistry

Stephen Hooper, PhD, has served the DAHS since 2013.