Associate Sociology Professor Mary Stricker wants to nominate Cyril Ireland for a “Temple Employee of the Decade Award,” if only there were such a thing.
“Anything you want, just let me know,” is a trademark of Ireland’s, who is a classroom and event manager for the College of Liberal Arts and manager of tech support.
Known for his helpfulness, positivity and empathy, Ireland’s supportive ways aren’t that of just a useful employee, but of someone who genuinely takes an attentive interest in the Temple community, both faculty and students.
Ireland’s readiness to lend a helping hand and his eagerness to ensure the happiness of students and faculty makes him a memorable and appreciated person on campus, faculty say.
“It’s all very cliché, [but Ireland] always has a smile on his face,” Stricker said. “He always asks about you and how you’re doing. A lot of people recognize him as being really empathetic. It’s one thing to be empathetic, but he’s a really go-to guy.”
Stricker said she believes Ireland’s kind and helpful nature is something that shouldn’t just be appreciated, but recognized on a larger level. Because the College of Liberal Arts doesn’t offer faculty awards, Stricker wrote a letter of recommendation to the university nominating Ireland for a fictitious “Temple Employee of the Decade Award.”
“He never forgets and he always comes through,” Stricker wrote about Ireland in her letter of recommendation. She also mentioned Ireland’s constantly positive disposition, writing: “His reassuring smile reminds us that we will all get through our days a little easier by helping each other rather than simply helping ourselves.”
Stricker met Ireland in the middle of the 1990s before classrooms were technologically equipped. At the time, Ireland ran the small depot in Anderson Hall where students would shuffle out smart-carts to classrooms in need of tech support. Over time, Stricker found Ireland’s constant sense of positivity and support admirable.
“He really loves Temple,” Stricker said. “He’s there to make sure we faculty members get what we need and we’re not disappointed, and if we are, he’s always there ready to fix it.”
Ireland’s career at Temple began in 1994 when he enrolled as a freshman. In his sophomore year, Ireland got a job working for classroom support. After graduating with a psychology degree in 1999, Ireland picked up a job for computer services working as an evening manager for classroom support.
“I worked my way from a student worker all the way up to getting a full-time job,” Ireland said. “Then I worked evenings and moved my way up to a daytime position in computer services. I went from there to getting hired for another management position through the College of Liberal Arts. I made an initiative to always move up in my career since I’ve been here, and I think I’ve done well in doing that so far.”
Next year will mark Ireland’s 15th year at Temple. Ireland isn’t just appreciated for his accomplishments in and outside the classroom, Stricker said, but also for how attentive and helpful he is to faculty members and students.
“I find myself emailing him for all sorts of strange things,” Stricker said. “Any sort of classroom issue I have, he’s always there. Even though he manages Gladfelter and Anderson Hall classrooms, he seems to know everyone on campus.”
Starting around 8 a.m., a typical day for Ireland means going wherever there’s a problem, usually done by computer services staff, for all the rooms associated with the College of Liberal Arts.
“I’m the one who’s going to support any technology associated with an event,” Ireland said. “I also schedule a portion of the event spaces and anything related to the dean’s office involves me. I’m the person who would cover classrooms and events, so every day I deal with different scheduling, supporting, events, classroom, things that go along with that, maybe designing a new room. Me and my director might meet and go over furniture, paint and paintings, stuff like that.”
The College of Liberal Arts has 85 “smart classrooms” and 120 classrooms overall, but Ireland’s helping hand isn’t just limited to the CLA – he said he’s there to help everyone at Temple.
“I work for the College of Liberal Arts,” Ireland said. “But at the same time, I work for Temple, and if another faculty member comes to me that isn’t in the CLA I give them the same time, help and support. If we all work together, we all succeed. We all succeed together and we all fail together. If we all work together it’s amazing how successful we all could be. Sometimes that’s hard for people to see and you have to demonstrate and show that for people to get it.”
Ireland hasn’t technically won any awards at this point in his career, but Stricker said he is always a positive force in her day.
“I’m here to make lives easier for students and faculty but also to send a message that we are here for Temple,” Ireland said.
Shayna Kleinberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.