Innovation Award

This award is given to a staff member who has generated novel and valuable ideas, and has used these ideas to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, programs, or services. The award recognizes creative ideas that have made U of C a better place to live and work. 

2012-2013 Winner: Lori Ellerman

Lori Ellerman, the Director of Clinical Operations, Student Health and Counseling Services, has been with the University for 17 months and has worked tirelessly to improve the student experience of the Student Health and Counseling Services organization. As stated in her nomination letter:

“Lori has been innovating at Student Health Services since the first day she arrived. From establishing "huddles" comprising every staff member at SHS at the beginning of every day, to piloting a customer satisfaction survey to learn how well Student Health Services is serving students' needs, to putting a nurse on the phones to do direct patient triage, Lori has been a consistent innovator and is largely responsible for the improved customer satisfaction achieved so far in SHS.”

Outstanding Newcomer Award

This award is given to an outstanding staff member who has worked at least six months but no more than three years in their current department. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in overall job performance; show willingness to assist beyond normal expectations; and show initiative and creativity in his or her work.  

2012-2013 Winner: Crystal Carson

Crystal Carlson, Residence Commons Manager for Residential Services, has worked for Residential Services for the past 14 months. During that time, she has demonstrated excellence and made significant contributions to Residential Services and the University as exemplified by the following statements from her nomination letters:

“Crystal is an excellent advocate for clerk staff. She thinks boldly about improvements that can be made in the residential commons. Regardless of resources, Crystal never lets limitations dissuade her ideas.”

“Crystal works hard to enhance the current culture and ensure a successful future by responsibly and effectively allocating resources to improve the communities she works with. She has a an ever-positive personality, attacks projects with enthusiasm, and is eager to volunteer and be involved in areas outside of her own. Internal and external constituents agree she is a pleasure to work with, and if her first year is any indication of her future, she is bound to do great things and make a positive impact on the university community.”

Outstanding Service to the University Community

This award is given to a staff member who has demonstrated concern and commitment to fulfill needs and ensure satisfaction when providing services to members of the University community including faculty, staff, and students. 

2012-2013 Winner: Lynda Daher

Lynda Daher has worked at the University for 2.5 years as the Assistant Director for Student Emergency Response Systems. Her nomination letter reflects her outstanding service to the University community as illustrated in the following statement:

“As the Assistant Director for Student Emergency Response Systems, Lynda plays a vital role in making our University a safer place for students and staff. However, the real reason that I think that she deserves the award are all the extra things she does on a daily basis to make this university a better place. She is always quick to inform the students and staff in our office about new programs and interesting initiatives, and really cares about all of us. I imagine that it would be easy for someone dealing with emergency response to start to see the worst people, but if Lynda feels that way she doesn't let the rest of us see it. Instead she embraces opportunities to spend time with students under happier circumstances like bringing her dogs to Health Promotion and Wellness's Wellapalooza. She is a wonderful example of what service to the University community should look like.” 

Outstanding Service to Students

This award is presented to the staff member who has provided outstanding service to individual students or student groups on a consistent basis, whether through personal advising, development of programs, or improvements to university systems and policies that affect students. 

2012-2013 Winner: Crystal Coats

Crystal Coats, Community Services Advisor, University Community Service Center (UCSC),
 has worked at the University of Chicago for just under two years. She received several nominations from staff and students for her great work. Excerpts from her nominations letters include:

“Crystal sets an example for all of us students of how we can continue to think creatively about stepping outside of ourselves, our classes, and Hyde Park to learn from and contribute to the broader community in an efficient and meaningful way.”

“She believes in nurturing "the life of the mind" and then attaches that learning to supporting communities! I would not have had the opportunity to bond with my community the way I have without Crystal, and I certainly would not have had such an enjoyable experience doing it.” 

Stephen P. Klass STAR Award (for Service, Teamwork, Attitude, Reliability)

In honor of Stephen P. Klass, who served as Vice President and Dean of Students form 2002-2006, this award is given to the staff member who has, with a positive and forward-thinking attitude, consistently excelled; made outstanding contributions in the area of service, promoted teamwork and collaboration; and worked quietly behind the scenes to improve the unit or their department.  

2012-2013 Winner: Jim Wessel

Jim Wessel, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Student Housing, has worked at the University for almost eight years with an intense dedication. He was recognized for his service, teamwork, attitude, and reliability in his nomination. Some excerpts from his nomination letters include:

“Residence Heads consider Jim their rock. He is always amazingly cheerful and enthusiastic, and his attitude is infectious to those around him. The room lights up when he enters, whether he is coming into a staff meeting, a hall council meeting, or a smaller meeting to solve a particular problem.” 

“He is an excellent bridge between OUSH policy and implementation, understanding both the abstract principles and the complex considerations on the ground, and he has shown real talent of translating from one to the other. Many nights we hear that he has stayed up all night with a student who is ill or has some social issue or has been mugged. Most of the time, even in doling out disciplinary action, he is thought to be fair and considerate by the students. The staff and students in South Campus West know that he will bring empathy, knowledge, judgment and creativity to helping solve problems and build community.”

UChicagoSocial: Campus and Student Life