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 UChicago a better place to live and work.

2017–2018 Winner: Julie Edwards

Since starting with the University in 2015, Julie, the director of Health Promotion and Wellness, has used her creativity, passion, and in-depth knowledge of public health to promote a holistic approach to wellness on campus. This has included introducing the 7 Facets of Wellness and programs that reinforce that students should focus on emotional, environmental, social, financial, spiritual, and intellectual aspects of their health, in addition to their physical health. Julie also implemented Mental Health First Aid trainings to give participants skills to help someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Throughout her time at the University, Julie has strengthened ties between Health Promotion and Wellness and various offices across the University, enabling her to broaden the reach of the department and identify the needs of the entire campus. She utilized these connections to implement a Campus Wide Health Needs Assessment to engage students to identify public health issues that should be addressed.

2017–2018 Innovation Award Nominees

  • Jennifer Connor-Smith, Student Health Service
  • Nicole Watkins, Athletics & Recreation

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.

2017–2018 Winner: Nicole Watkins

Nicole joined the Athletics & Recreation department in July 2017 as the Director of Athletics Communications. In adding this position to the department, the goal was to enliven Athletics & Recreation's social media channels, website, and other communications with compelling imagery and storytelling. Nicole has ably achieved this goal, and has surpassed expectations for how much someone in this role would improve the department. Nicole has become a trusted videographer, reporter, photographer, writer, and media and communications person for the department. Through her work, Nicole not only promotes UChicago's athletic programs, she has created a community among students, student-athletes, faculty, staff, and alumni.

One nominator wrote, “Nicole has created a social media presence for the department and provided a stage on which our student-athletes can shine….They are so proud when Nicole’s interviews, videos, and photos show up on the Athletics & Recreation website. The energy in their voices when they speak about her and about having the opportunity for her to cover their teams is palpable.”

2017–2018 Outstanding Newcomer Award Nominees

  • Hanna Barton, International House
  • Ashley Bowen, Housing & Residence Life
  • Sandra Fernandez, Student Disability Services
  • Rick Shepherd, Student Counseling Service

Outstanding Service to the University Community Award

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.

2017–2018 Winner: Jeremy Inabinet

As the Associate Dean of Students in the University for Disciplinary Affairs, Jeremy collaborates with colleagues across the University in the investigation and adjudication of cases of student misconduct related to sexual misconduct and discrimination. In this role, Jeremy is committed to providing students with support and helping them feel comfortable in what can be a difficult and emotional situation.

Jeremy continuously challenges himself and others around him to do better, and is always looking for ways to improve the processes that he oversees to make them more transparent. Beyond that, Jeremy listens to students’ thoughts on changes they would like to see made to the university-wide disciplinary process. Jeremy considers all of the concerns brought to his attention and skillfully addresses them in a way that will provide an outcome that is the most fair for the community.

2017–2018 Outstanding Service to the University Community Award Nominees

  • Kimberly Gardiner, Student Disability Services
  • Anne Hartman, Campus and Student Life
  • Deborah Pratt, Student Counseling Service

Outstanding Service to Students Award

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.

2017–2018 Winner: Meghan Lockerby

Meghan is the assistant athletic trainer, and was praised for her ability to treat athletes holistically. She not only helps students understand their injuries and treatment plans; she makes the effort to know students on a personal level, and ensures they have the tools to cope with the pressures that being a student-athlete can bring.

The outstanding impact Meghan has had on our department is best described by our students themselves.

One student nominator wrote, “Not only does she do an incredible job dealing with our physical injuries, but she also cares about us as people and supports us in so many ways. Meghan has comforted me on hard days, celebrated with me when I found success, and was a compassionate listener any time I needed her.” Another said, “Our team could not compete and thrive at such a high level without her in our corner.” Finally, another wrote, “Whenever I have an injury, I know I can depend on her to not only help me physically recover, but also be there to vent to, joke with, and just talk about life. Meghan is one of the most caring, down-to-earth, and selfless people I know.”

2017–2018 Outstanding Service to Students Award Nominees

  • Joseph Asbury, Student Health Service
  • Kimberly Gardiner, Student Disability Services

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.

2017–2018 Winner: Jigna Shah

Jigna has worked at UChicago since 2005, and became the Director of Spiritual Life in 2012. In her role, Jigna has created a space where students can explore and openly discuss different beliefs, faiths, religions, and traditions.

One of Jigna’s most notable contributions is the expansion of Spirit Week. Spirit Week started in 2011 with 10 programs over the course of 9 days. Under Jigna’s guidance, Spirit Week has grown to more than 35 events in a 10-day period, with more than 1,000 students participating over the course of the program. She also expanded the program to better reflect the diversity of the student body; events touch on topics such as Judaism, multi-faith practice, meditations, and music, and the program also now includes Holi, the always-popular—and colorful—Hindu religious festival.

One nominator wrote, “Coming from a place of yes, Jigna continuously brainstorms how we can better our events and program procedures, figuring out ways to create powerful partnerships across campus, and telling others to keep a positive outlook when things get tough.”

2017–2018 STAR Award Nominees

  • Letitia Bennett, Student Health Service
  • Amima Diagne, Office of International Affairs
  • Makeya Ervin, Housing & Residence Life
  • John McPherrin, Student Counseling Service
  • Deborah Pratt, Student Counseling Service
  • Rosalie Resch, Athletics & Recreation

UChicagoSocial: Campus and Student Life