SDM’s Christine Bates Receives Infinite Mile Award for Sustained Excellence

By Lois Slavin, ESD Communications
May 22, 2008

Christine Bates, Program Coordinator, Finance/Admissions for MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) Program, was honored with the MIT School of Engineering’s (SoE) Infinite Mile Award for Sustained Excellence on April 30, 2008.

Chris has been with the Institute for 13 years and has been an integral member of the SDM Program since 2005. She was hired by SDM to coordinate admissions. However, because of her detail-oriented, organized, creative approach to work, her responsibilities were expanded to include the company billing system.

One reference wrote that "Chris has put order into chaos in what has historically been a very complicated process for SDM. She has met this challenge with the same thoroughness and focus on detail that she brings to all her work." This is critical for SDM, a program that depends on company sponsorship and partnership.

Chris was also lauded for her friendly and patient personality and customer-service attitude that has eased the transition for many foreign students. She is very popular among the students and several have written to let SDM’s executive director know that she frequently comes to the rescue, whether it be managing the external billing arrangements or serving as the liaison, interpreter, and/or champion for SDM students to the myriad of Institute offices like the registrar’s, medical, and bursar’s offices.

Another letter writer said, "Chris Bates has become the heart of the SDM staff…she has re-vamped the admissions process into a fully on-line system, from initial contact at information evenings through faculty reviews, scoring, and admissions decisions and notifications. Chris is a self-starting, knowledgeable and service-oriented staff member who reaches across program and department boundaries to provide assistance in many work and student-life related initiatives. Chris is a natural leader in any effort to improve the way we go about the business of education, and often inspires other employees to join in."

Yet another letter writer said, "Chris has a great vision of what a humane work environment should be and advocates for it, mentoring younger staff members and making sure that new employees are welcomed and brought into the work environment in a friendly manner. She is the first to make certain that other employees are recognized and thanked for jobs well done."

The SoE specifically commended Chris for her superb efforts in SDM and commitment to MIT’s goals.