Staff Awards at NIU

Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) and Operating Staff (OS) have a critical role in NIU’s success. NIU annually recognizes current staff members and staff teams who have demonstrated exemplary performance and service in promoting the goals of the university while demonstrating the core values of excellence, equity and inclusion, integrity, collaboration and service.

The following staff awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge staff members’ extraordinary effort and exemplary service.

The nomination deadline is Feb. 6, 2023. The nomination process includes providing references. Please submit nominations early, so references have enough time to provide information by the deadline.

If you have any questions, please contact president@niu.edu or 815-753-1271.

Awards

The BOT Staff Award annually recognizes up to two staff members who excel in their job performance and contributions to NIU and higher education, as well as their commitment to NIU’s mission, vision and values.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time with at least 10 years of service to NIU or a full-time temporary staff member with at least 10 years of service to NIU
  • Have a demonstrated record of excellence in their day-to-day responsibilities
  • Have demonstrated their commitment to advancing NIU’s mission, vision and values
  • Have gone above and beyond to support NIU, demonstrating Huskie pride in their day-to-day interactions both internally and externally

Nominators are encouraged to consider eligible staff members in all staff classifications who have demonstrated this commitment and seek input from those with whom those staff members interact, both within and external to the NIU unit in which they work.

Board of Trustee Staff Awardees will receive a stipend of $5,000 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Board of Trustees Award

The Presidential Award for Staff Excellence recognizes up to six staff members per year who have gone above and beyond the specific duties assigned to them and have demonstrated excellence in their work. These individuals positively influence the work environment, foster cooperation, achieve goals and/or overcome obstacles/challenges, while carrying out employment responsibilities.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time with at least six years of service to NIU or a full-time temporary staff member with at least six years of service to NIU.
  • Have demonstrated a record of excellent service at NIU that goes above and beyond basic requirements of position/role
  • Have demonstrated how they positively influence their work environment, the campus and/or the community through their efforts.
  • Have not received an SPS Presidential Award for Excellence or Operating Staff Outstanding Service Award in the past

Nominations are encouraged in all staff classifications where eligible staff members have demonstrated excellence in their efforts on the job.

Presidential Award for Staff Excellence recipients will receive a stipend of $2,500 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Presidential Award

The Staff Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes up to two staff members per year who exhibit an outstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and demonstrate exemplary contributions to developing a culturally diverse and welcoming university community.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time or a full-time temporary staff member
  • Demonstrate cultural competence by engaging colleagues and community members in a way that recognizes our differences as strengths and opportunities for learning, innovation and growth
  • Create respectful, authentic and engaged relationships across diverse groups
  • Contribute to a campus and workplace culture that furthers a sense of belonging
  • Work, in partnership and through service to the university, to support the reduction/elimination of historically biased processes and procedures and to advance equity in all aspects of the university

Staff Inclusive Excellence Award recipients will receive a stipend of $1,000 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Inclusive Excellence Award

The Staff Mentorship Award recognizes up to two staff members per year who serve as role models by inspiring colleagues and/or promoting professional development. These staff members, informally or formally, provide mentorship by being available to colleagues for support and sharing tips/resources for navigating higher education field/job functions. They're known as go-to resources on campus.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time or a full-time temporary staff member
  • Demonstrate recognition on campus by colleagues as a mentor and resource for other colleagues
  • Provide mentorship through informal pathways and/or formal meetings to colleagues at NIU
  • Continue to demonstrate willingness to elevate and support colleagues at NIU

Staff Mentorship Award recipients will receive a stipend of $1,000 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Mentorship Award

The Staff Award for Campus Impact will recognize up to two staff members per year who have demonstrated excellence in areas that help with beautification, maintenance and services to the campus community, such as excellence in maintaining the grounds, building maintenance, infrastructure support, etc. These staff members are essential to ensuring campus operations and providing the infrastructure needed to carry out NIU’s mission, vision and values.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time or a full-time temporary staff member
  • Demonstrate excellence in one or more aspects of campus operations by going above and beyond the call of duty to perform duties associated with position
  • Be known by the units served for creating positive work environments and displaying positivity through day-to-day challenges
  • Demonstrate pride for NIU and a recognition of the importance of NIU’s mission, vision and values

Staff Award for Campus Impact recipients will receive a stipend of $1,000 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Campus Impact Award

The Staff Award for Student Impact will recognize up to two staff members who have gone above and beyond their normal job responsibilities to positively impact the quality of life and/or student experience for students at NIU. This includes staff from all divisions and all job types who are providing excellence and impacting students in a positive way.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time or a full-time temporary staff member
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to supporting NIU students through mentorship, programming, helping them resolve issues and/or volunteering/service to students
  • Have demonstrated a positive impact on student success through support or advocacy
  • Have demonstrated evidence of support to NIU students.

Staff Award for Student Impact recipients will receive a stipend of $1,000 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Student Impact Award

The Rising Huskie Award will recognize up to two staff members per year who, while new to NIU, have demonstrated excellence, innovation and performance that have had a significant impact at NIU in a short period of time.

Criteria:

  • Be a regular staff member at least 51% time with less than five years of service at NIU or a full-time temporary staff member employed for less than five years at NIU
  • Have demonstrated excellence in their service to NIU by taking initiative, impacting the unit in a significant manner and/or moving NIU/the unit forward through innovation and ideas
  • Have been recognized as someone who will continue to make a lasting contribution to NIU and advance NIU’s mission, vision and values

Rising Huskie Award recipients will receive a stipend of $1,000 each and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Rising Huskie Award

Patricia S. Siebrasse served NIU for 50 years as an administrative professional and was a valuable member of the Administrative Professionals Advisory Council (APAC) since its inception in 1995. The annual Patricia S. Siebrasse Administrative Professionals Award for Excellence may recognize up to two administrative professionals at NIU who have shown continued commitment to their field, demonstrated operational efficiency within their organization and provided meaningful contributions to NIU.

Eligible nominees must be current staff who serve in an administrative support role (e.g. office support specialist, office manager, administrative assistant, etc.) and have been employed for a minimum of 10 years of continuous service at NIU.

Criteria:

  • Have demonstrated continued commitment to the administrative professional field
  • Have demonstrated operational efficiency within their organization
  • Have made meaningful contributions to the university

Patricia S. Siebrasse Administrative Professionals Award for Excellence recipients will receive a stipend of $1,000 and recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Patricia S. Siebrasse Award

The Staff Team Award for Creativity and Innovation will recognize one group/team per year for excellence in creativity and innovation demonstrated by proposing and/or implementing a new or improved process, methods, systems or services, while encouraging reasonable/calculated risk-taking among their colleagues and/or teams. These efforts should show that they will or have resulted in great efficiency, effectiveness and cost savings through time or money spent while further advancing shared leadership goals.

Criteria:

  • Be comprised of at least two or more regular staff members at NIU who are at least 51% time and/or full-time employed temporary staff members at NIU (if a team includes non-NIU team members, monetary awards will be provided to NIU staff members only)
  • Have demonstrated the development and/or implementation of ideas that drive the organization, its mission, vision and values forward
  • Have demonstrated the questioning of existing assumptions and beliefs; encouragement of others to think of alternative ways to do things or to stop doing things
  • Have shown careful consideration of the impact both through implementation and after
  • Have demonstrated analysis of constraints and how they were overcome using existing resources (for example, stopping doing something that was no longer contributing to NIU moving forward) and/or generating new resources to advance a project
  • Have shared both the actual and/or expected challenges, successes and lessons learned

The Staff Team Award for Advancing Creativity and Innovation will reward staff members for taking appropriate risks to help advance the university. This award will provide a stipend of $2,500 for the team, which will be equally divided and given to team members (no more than $1,000 per member) or used to advance their project. Self-nominations are accepted, and the selected team will receive recognition at the annual staff awards event.

Submit a Nomination for the Creativity and Innovation Award

Nomination Process

Anyone (administrators, faculty, staff and students) at NIU can nominate staff members for the staff awards. View the award information to access the online nomination form for each award. Since you’ll need to complete the form in one sitting, make sure you have the following information before you begin:

  • Your nominee’s position/title, department/unit, NIU email address and start date at NIU
  • Your position/title, department/unit, how long you’ve known the nominee at NIU and in what professional capacity
  • Name, department/unit and NIU email address for two professional references
  • Responses to nomination criteria, including specific examples

After you submit your nomination, you’ll receive a confirmation email. The references you provided will receive an email asking them to complete a brief questionnaire in support of the nomination.

Eligibility

A staff member can only be selected for one individual staff award per year, and a staff member can receive a particular staff award only once. Staff members selected to receive awards must be employed in a staff position at NIU at the time of receiving their awards. Self-nominations are only allowed for the Staff Award for Advancing Creativity and Innovation team award.

Division leaders, senior/assistant/associate VPs, vice presidents/provosts and any SPS staff with academic rank, student employees or anyone with academic rank are not eligible for staff awards, but they are encouraged to nominate staff for the awards.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect when filling out the nomination form?

The nomination details are entered through an online form (Qualtrics Survey) in one attempt as the online form cannot be partially completed and saved to complete the rest at a later date and time.

The nomination form requires entering four sections of information:

  1. Nominee’s (the staff member you are nominating for the award) information
  2. Nominator’s (your) information
  3. Two professional references’ contact information
  4. Responses to nomination criteria

Before entering the nomination information for this award, please do the following:

  • You will need the following information for the nominee:
    • Nominee’s position/title
    • Department/ unit name
    • NIU email address
    • Start date as a staff member at NIU
    • Two professional references at NIU (each professional reference’s name, department/unit, and NIU email address) who would be willing to complete a brief questionnaire in support of the staff member’s nomination
  • Organize your information in relation to the nomination, including your:
    • Position/title
    • Department/unit name
    • NIU email address
    • How long have you known the nominee in at NIU
    • In what professional capacity (your professional relationship to the nominee)
  • You should be prepared to speak to how the nominee meets the criteria listed under the award category, including specific example/s.
Once the nomination is received by the President’s Office, you will receive a confirmation email and the two professional references will receive email requests to complete a brief questionnaire in support of the nomination.
Who reviews the nominations and selects recipients for the awards?

A review committee composed of staff members and past staff award winners will review the nominations and select the recipients for all the staff awards.

A review committee member nominated for a staff award will recuse themselves from that award review process. Similarly, nominators and professional references for nominees will recuse themselves from reviewing any related awards.

What are some tips for preparing good nominations and providing professional references?
  • Ensure your nomination form is filled out completely and all the required is information is accurate.
  • Consult the nominee and obtain nominee’s contributions and related details for an award.
  • Avoid jargon and be sure to spell out acronyms.
  • Instead of writing “the nominee is good” or “nominee deserves the award,” explain why.
  • The most compelling nominations will be those that bring to light how the employee’s consistently goes above and beyond their day to day work, not only the details of the projects in which they were engaged. As a nominator, consider answering nomination questions from multiple perspectives (e.g. – peer, supervisor, student, division leader, other area supervisor or staff, etc.).
  • Explain clearly how the nominee meets each criterion for an award and include measurable results that show how the nominee was able to save NIU money, improve upon a process, saved time, increased staff morale, etc.
  • Be descriptive in your nomination. Try to write more than one-sentence answers for each criterion. Elaborate and prove to the committee why the nominee is the best person to be selected for the award.
  • Follow up with professional references you identified in the nomination to ensure they submit their reference on time.

Contact Dr. Freeman

Office of the President
Altgeld Hall 300
815-753-1271
president@niu.edu

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