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About University Staff Awards Nomination deadline Wednesday, March 1

American University Staff Awards promotes and rewards outstanding performance by staff at the university.

The 2023 staff award nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Nominations can be submitted by anyone in the AU community, including supervisors, subordinates, peers, faculty, and students.

The University Staff Awards project team is a cross-functional group appointed by the President, Provost, and vice presidents, who review the nominations and select the winners.

An award may not be presented in all categories if the nominations do not provide sufficient justification for meritorious performance.

New for 2023

The award categories have been updated to reflect staff contributions that more closely align with the university’s values. There are eight award categories:

Awarded to individuals:

Awarded to groups or teams:

Awarded to either an individual or group/team:

An award may only be given if the nominations provide sufficient justification of meritorious performance.

Award winners receive:

  • an award certificate
  • recognition during Staff Appreciation Week
  • a day off from work*
  • a monetary award**
    • $1000 for the Maria Bueno Lifetime Achievement Award
    • $750 for all other award recipients, not to exceed $5000 for a group award.
    • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

*Part-time staff, contractors, and faculty are not eligible for a day off from work. **Contractors are not eligible for a monetary award.

The Collaboration Award is awarded to those who cooperatively contribute to team effectiveness. Awardees are individuals or groups that have successfully overcome obstacles to accomplish collective goals.  

Criteria

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Flexibility: Adjusts their work approach to accommodate the needs and preferences of others; considers how their actions affect others; listens and acts upon suggestions made by others.
  • Communication: Looks for ways to help their coworkers; responds in a timely manner to requests for assistance; shares information and ideas to help others achieve their goals.
  • Empathy: Respects the perspectives of others; actively listens to colleagues’ and constituents’ thoughts from multiple perspectives; recognizes others holistically; accepts and acts upon feedback.
  • Recognition: Shows appreciation towards other people in the organization; thanks people for their contributions; welcomes new members to the organization.
  • Proactivity: Volunteers to assist with group activities and needs; looks for ways to contribute to the team.
  • Engagement: Actively participates in team meetings and activities; involves others in decisions and projects; leverages the skills and interests of coworkers to achieve goals and solve problems.
  • Teamwork: Encourages people to think of themselves as a team; supports team decisions and projects; talks about projects and goals in terms of group accomplishments and efforts; focuses on shared interests and goals.

Monetary Award

  • $750 for individual recipients, not to exceed $5,000 for a group award.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Community Support Award is awarded to those who provide timely and exemplary service to those they support, both internal offices and individuals, students, and external partners. Awardees are individuals or groups that are inclusive of and responsive to the needs of their constituents.

Criteria

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Relationship-Building: Builds strong relationships with constituents; proactively reaches out to learn about goals; stays aware of customer needs, concerns, and satisfaction; effectively manages stakeholder expectations.
  • Service-Minded: Responds in a reasonable time frame to questions and requests; takes responsibility for meeting needs; resolves concerns in an empathetic manner; makes others feel valued and appreciated.
  • Assessment: Actively gathers and monitors information on customer satisfaction; informs people regarding service levels and trends related to satisfaction.
  • Advocacy: Defends the interests and goals of constituents; acts as an advocate for them during internal conversations within the organization; encourages people to think about the customer when making decisions; reminds people that service and support are everyone’s responsibility.

Monetary Award

  • $750 for individual recipients, not to exceed $5,000 for a group award.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Essential Support Award recognizes vital frontline staff serving the AU community every day with their consistent, unwavering support. Often these individuals are praised for their performance yet receive little official recognition or visibility for their dedication, conscientiousness, and trustworthiness and whose contributions exceed their formal title and stated duties.

Criteria

The individual is in an administrative support, front-line, or other service position, not serving in a senior staff or managerial capacity.

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Community Building: Builds supportive relationships with others in and out of their unit; actively participates in building welcoming environments for all; effectively manages various needs for their area; respects the lived experiences of others and seeks to learn more.
  • Reliability: Overall work performance is consistently strong; completes work assignments in a timely manner with limited oversight; attentive to unit needs and proactively addresses concerns; intrinsically motivated to provide service to the AU community.
  • Problem-Solving: Recommends opportunities for service improvement; approaches work problems with a can-do attitude; analyzes problems and solves them efficiently; balances stakeholder expectations when addressing issues.
  • Contribution: Collaborates with others productively; communicates effectively; encourages team cooperation; identifies areas for improvement and actively assists with solutions; volunteers to help with major unit projects and takes the lead where necessary and appropriate.
  • Influence: Behaviors and approach to work are received well by colleagues; contributes to the academic and professional cultures of the institution; encourages others to take pride in their roles.

Monetary Award

  • $750 for the individual recipient.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Inclusive Excellence Award is awarded for outstanding contributions to inclusion, equity, diversity, belonging, and accessibility. Awardees are individuals or groups that have demonstrated strong cultural competence and embody the goals of the AU Inclusive Excellence plan.

Criteria

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Cultural Awareness: Demonstrates cultural awareness by engaging colleagues and community members in a way that recognizes and engages our differences as strengths and opportunities for learning, innovation, and growth.
  • Campus Climate: Contributes to a campus and a workplace culture that furthers a sense of safety, belonging, and satisfaction for everyone in our community.
  • Relationship-Building: Creates respectful, authentic, and engaged relationships between colleagues and community members, especially across differences.
  • Bias Reduction: Implements strategies to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in hiring, promotion, programming, mentorship, or service delivery.
  • Policy and Procedures: Advocates for new inclusive policies and procedures or revises existing policies and procedures to increase clarity, provide transparency, promote fairness, advocate for equity, and enhance accountability.
  • Hiring and Retention: Demonstrates efforts to support the recruitment and retention of an excellent and diverse staff, faculty, administration, and/or student body.
  • Community Engagement: Participates in the creation of innovative programs to engage historically marginalized groups of staff, faculty, students, alumni, and/or community members that advance diversity, inclusivity, and equity.
  • Learning and Development: Supports the design and implementation of inclusive and equitable curricular and co-curricular programs or activities that demonstrate AU's values of critical inquiry, intellectual engagement, and respectful discourse across diverse perspectives.

Monetary Award

  • $750 for individual recipients, not to exceed $5,000 for a group award.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Innovation & Change Award is awarded to those that use creativity and accessibility to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, products, programs, or services for the AU community. Awardees are individuals or groups who make inclusive innovation a priority in their work and encourage others to do the same.

Criteria

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Openness: Considers situations and problems from new and variety of perspectives; addresses challenges innovatively.
  • Ideation: Develops imaginative ideas to drive the organization forward; considers multiple solutions when addressing problems; views ideas and suggestions from a user-oriented perspective.
  • Challenging Convention: Questions existing assumptions and beliefs; encourages alternative approaches; advocates for equitable and accessible methods.
  • Planning and Execution: Clearly defines requirements and resources needed to implement new ideas; approaches innovation with a practical, task-oriented mindset; converts ideas from general concepts into action plans; swiftly moves from ideas to implementation.
  • Project Management: Proactively considers constraints that limit innovation and works within them to create new ideas; maximizes existing resources and encourages sustainable solutions; prioritizes critical requirements and equity concepts throughout development.

Monetary Award

  • $750 for individual recipients, not to exceed $5,000 for a group award.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Maria Bueno Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2015 in honor of its namesake for her 45 years of exemplary service and dedication to the advancement of the university. This award serves as both a legacy of Ms. Bueno’s achievements and an inspiration to others who work diligently behind the scenes to help the university thrive.

This award is presented to long-serving staff members who dedicate the majority of their professional careers to providing exemplary support or service to the AU community and make it a better institution. Awardees are individuals who are not in senior staff positions, but who provide, or have provided, direct support or service in an administrative, front line, or service position.

Criteria

The individual is currently in an administrative support, front line, or service position (non-senior staff) and has been in similar staff positions for 25 or more years at AU.

A letter of nomination is required from a member of the university community and at least two additional supporting letters, one from a current or former supervisor. The nomination and supporting letters must attest to the quality of the awardee’s performance over many years and provide examples of how the awardee has exceeded the expectations of their specific job duties.

Monetary Award

  • $1,000 for the individual recipient.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Outstanding Supervision Award is awarded to leaders who show an exceptional ability to promote belonging and thriving on their team. Awardees are individuals that have demonstrated their ability to lead others through change resulting in successful teams and an improved working environment.

Criteria

The individual must supervise one or more full-time or permanent part-time staff.

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Foundation Setting: Creates a workplace based on respect, trust, and inclusion for everyone they supervise; promotes a candid and open atmosphere on the team; builds strong relationships with team through setting clear expectations, holding check-ins, and providing thoughtful, timely feedback; encourages high performance and provides staff with training and support to reach their goals.
  • Culturally Aware Leadership: Recognizes, seeks, and considers multiple views and opinions; thoughtfully includes others; emphasizes the importance of others’ contributions; fosters a team culture that allows all staff to bring their authentic selves to work.
  • Developmental Support: Shows interest in supervisee’s goals and successfully mentors them toward achievement; proactively identifies and resolves potential performance issues for fair outcomes; leverages team member skills and identifies unique ways to develop their talents; provides concrete assistance that reflects a strong understanding of their staff’s developmental needs.
  • Change Management: Ensures compliance with all policies and procedures even when faced with challenges; implements change strategies that result in a thriving team and improved working environment; shows flexibility in supervising their team through change and adjusts approach when needed.

Monetary Award

  • $750 for the individual recipient.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

The Staff & Faculty Collaboration Award is awarded to outstanding partnerships that leverage the talents and expertise of both staff and faculty to address challenges and create favorable outcomes. Awardees are groups that have successfully strengthened their relationships to advance or complete work that positively affects the AU community.

Criteria

The group includes a minimum of one full-time staff and one faculty member.

Demonstrated a combination of the following:

  • Community Building: Fosters and prioritizes working relationships between staff and faculty; advocates for the needs of the community; meeting and work environments are welcoming of all backgrounds, identities, experiences, and academic accomplishments.
  • Respect: Earns and receives trust from others; considers multiple perspectives in good faith; communicates in collegial and professional manners; recognizes the achievements and contributions of others.
  • Contribution: Collaborates authentically and allows others to do the same; encourages autonomy among group members; shares leadership and decision-making abilities among the group
  • Impact: Identifies a problem or opportunity and seeks solutions collaboratively; promotes the finished results to the larger community; encourages other staff and faculty to partner and address challenges together.

Monetary Award

  • $750 per person monetary award, not to exceed $5,000 for a group award.
  • Monetary awards are considered taxable compensation to the recipient in accordance with the IRS code.

Nominate

Nominate staff for the University Staff Awards by March 1

Nominate Now

Contact

University Staff Awards

Katherine Simpson
Office of Human Resources
(202) 885-3836

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Past Recipients

View past recipients of the Student, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Awards. We applaud their continued great work and success on and off campus!

View Past Recipients