Todd Nicolet and Jamie Markham: Cause to Celebrate!

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Todd NicoletExcellence in Management Award.  Last week Todd Nicolet was honored with the University’s Excellence in Management Award.  This award is “presented annually to two University employees in recognition of meritorious and distinguished accomplishments in management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”  It is a big deal and Todd deserves the recognition for his leadership at the School.

Katrina Hunt nominated Todd because “through his excellent leadership and management skills, he promotes teamwork, encourages performance excellence, and supports a collaborative environment where everything is possible and everyone wins.”  “Another wonderful quality about Todd that makes him an effective manager is how he transfers difficult or controversial scenarios into positive learning experiences.”

Todd’s responsibilities at the School have increased over time because of his excellent skills as a manager.  He has tackled some of our s most challenging areas and produced major turnarounds every time.  Todd tries to understand deeply the facts and circumstances from a systemic perspective, and his reliance on data rather than superficial assumptions has enabled him to develop new insights and solutions.  His approach always includes a profound respect for the people reporting to him.  He engages them in thinking about solutions and then carefully mentors them as they begin to implement improvements.  Todd simultaneously is a rigorous, challenging, supportive, and affirming supervisor.  His management skills made him the obvious choice to lead the planning and implementation of MPA@UNC.  Todd’s contributions to the School have been impressive and his management skills have made us a much better organization.  I am pleased that he has received this wider recognition for his good work.

Jamie MarkhamC. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities.  Jamie Markham learned last week that he will be receiving the Harvey Award for “exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects one of the University’s top priorities.”  This is an annual competition that considers faculty ideas from across the campus and provides $75,000 to support the winning proposal.  Jamie will use the funding to develop “a mobile application (‘app’) for North Carolina’s primary criminal sentencing law, Structured Sentencing.  The heart of the app would be interactive versions of the charts that set out the permissible sentence lengths for criminal defendants under state law.  Recent legislative changes have made that law more complicated, leading to confusion and mistakes―often resulting in sentences that are longer than they should be.”


Jamie brought together a very impressive group of collaborators for this proposal, including our own Jeff Welty, who has some good experience with his ASSET (Arrest, Search, and Seizure Electronic Tool) application.  The “broad coalition of faculty, judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and correctional officials, and others will ensure that the end product is legally correct, user-friendly, and responsive to real-world needs.  Putting this technology in the hands of practitioners will help users avoid sentencing errors and promote the efficient administration of justice.”  In a letter supporting the proposal, Susan Katzenelson, Executive Director of the NC Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission, wrote that Jamie “is very knowledgeable and proficient in sentencing laws and criminal laws in general.  He is the person that criminal justice professionals in North Carolina turn to for answers to their questions.  I have no doubt that he would develop an application that would be the best of its kind.”

Congratulations to Jamie for putting in the hard work to pursue this innovative opportunity in his field.  I love that he took the initiative to generate the resources that will allow him to have an even greater impact on sentencing practice in North Carolina.  It also happened to be the same week that his new book was published, The North Carolina Justice Reinvestment ActJamie is on a roll.

I encourage you to congratulate Todd and Jamie for receiving these honors.  It is no surprise to me that the University regularly looks to the School for evidence of outstanding accomplishments by staff and faculty.  We have great people who are doing great things.  Thanks to everyone for your good work.

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