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Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award Program

Learn about the Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award Program and how to nominate someone.

The Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award Program recognizes Professional and Support Staff career employees who make exceptional contributions to the UC San Diego and San Diego communities in support of the vision to be a "student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university." All members of the campus community are encouraged to nominate staff colleagues who deserve this special acknowledgment.

Program guidelines

  • Nominees must be current regular/career, Professional and Support Staff (PSS), and may be represented or non-represented staff. Senior Management Group (SMG), Managers and Senior Professionals (MSP), and academics are not eligible to be nominated for this program. However, they are encouraged to nominate and/or endorse PSS employees.
  • Nominees must have completed a probationary period.
  • For campus employees, Above Expectation or Exceptional performance appraisal ratings, as well as Above Expectation or Exceptional performance of all assigned job duties, is necessary to be considered for an award. For Health employees (including Health Sciences and Health System), a Strong or Leading performance appraisal rating, as well as Strong or Leading performance of all assigned job duties is necessary to be considered for an award.
  • Nominees must demonstrate exemplary performance of activities that are above and beyond the scope of assigned responsibilities.
  • Nominations must include a supporting narrative that focuses on accomplishments achieved during the prior three years (July 2021-present). Nominations without the narrative will not be considered.
  • Past award recipients are not eligible for the program. Past nominees who did not receive an award may be nominated again.
  • Self nominations from employee are prohibited.

EOY Standards and Criteria (PDF):

Nominations do not need to exemplify all six standards. Nominations can focus on one or more than one of the five standards.

Innovation and proactive leadership

  • Utilizing highly effective, inclusive practices to inspire and lead others to contribute constructively to the university’s mission.
  • Proactively identifying and resolving challenges that interfere with department/divisional/unit activities to further the University’s mission.
  • Examples: support faculty, students and researchers enabling them to meet their goals; introducing students to new experiences or helping them feel connected to the University; and taking the lead to make changes that help remove barriers to equity.
  • Past Awardee Example: Gina Butcher, Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year for 2014-15, administers the Biomedical Science Graduate Program (BMS) which is ranked nationwide by the National Research Council. She is a strong leader and mentor to her students, and she extends her knowledge and assistance not just in BMS but also outside of the university.

Build relationships/partnerships

  • Developing and utilizing strong, constructive, diverse and productive relationships that enable the goals to be met in support of the University’s mission.
  • Improving department/division/unit morale through actions not related to job expectations.
  • Examples: establishing and fostering relationships with members of UC community and San Diego community that support the University’s mission and vision; taking the lead in improving morale, engagement and the student/employee experience; and creating strategic partnerships that increase inclusion.
  • Past Awardee Example: Lindsay Walton, Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year for 2014-15, received high praise from her colleagues in the Structural System Facility. As the Faculty Assistant for the department, Lindsay made sure to treat all faculty, staff and students as family, making sure to be aware of their cultural preferences. She was able to build long lasting relationships with everyone that she works with, making her effective & exemplary in her department.

Support university practices, procedures and policies

  • Bringing about significant positive change in support of the University’s mission.
  • Eliminating obstacles to achieving the University’s mission.
  • Examples: revising processes to reduce administrative burden; implementing new policies to support students or research; and creating inclusive practices that improve staff engagement.
  • Past Awardee Example: Jennifer Oh, Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year for 2011-12, was recognized for her implementation of bargaining contracts for Postdoctoral Scholars in the U.S., sharing her career development expertise to different administrative departments in UCSD and launching Research Connections for postdoctoral alumni. Her new ideas to utilize university practices and procedures to its best capacity gave her worthy recognition.

Extraordinary service to the community

  • Supporting the campus and/or the San Diego community in ways that exceed expectations and result in unexpected positive outcomes that support the University’s mission.
  • Examples: serving on UC committees or associations to bring about positive changes to the organization; connecting students with diverse community groups to give students experiences and hopefully create a volunteer spirit; building relationships with community organizations to promote the University’s mission.
  • Past Awardee Example: Angel Huerta, 2014-15’s Principal Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year was recognized because of this service in the ECEC community beyond his position as a Senior Food Service Worker. Angel created lasting relationships with the children and families at the center, by volunteering and assisting at ECEC events outside of his position as a Senior Food Service Worker. Angel’s service for the ECEC community goes above and beyond, which was highly recognized that year.

Substantial cost-effectiveness

  • Identify improvements to policies, practices, and/or program designs that result in substantial cost saving or financial gain to the University while supporting the University’s mission.
  • Examples: improving administrative processes to increase efficiency; developing new practices/systems/tools to reduce expenses;and creating opportunities to ensure financial sustainability and equity.
  • Past Awardee Example: Kathleen Margenau, Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year in 2011-12, was able to modernize Business Offices with her creation of a wiki site that was a central site for all administrative tools and reference materials transformed how the Business Office operated. She also implemented electronic filing protocols and procedures that was immensely cost-effective for the Business Office, helping cover costs for the university as a whole. Kathleen’s financial problem-solving skills were utilized not just in UCSD but also outside in the greater San Diego community.

Inclusive Excellence

  • Significant contributions that continue to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus that enriches the educational experience, strengthens community, promotes critical thinking, and gives the university an intellectual and competitive advantage.
  • Examples: initiating activities which improve our undergraduate and graduate yield of diverse students; substantial commitments to our local community that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Past Awardee Example: Ariane Parks, Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year in 2020-21, played active role on her department’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Task Force. As a member of the Curriculum Working Group within the Task Force, Ariane played a leadership role in helping the department better understand the ways in which their current curriculum presents challenges and opportunities for the inclusion of our graduate students of color. Ariane provided consistently insightful and supportive feedback, allowing the Task Force to work toward a set of proposals that will build on the existing strengths of their program to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Ceremony and award information

The Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year awards ceremony is held annually in late August, via webinar. The 2024 date has not yet been determined.

Subject to budgetary approval, the Principal Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year is awarded a cash prize of $2,000. The other Exemplary Staff Employees of the Year are each awarded a cash prize of $1,000.

How to submit a nomination

The nomination period for the 2023-2024 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year is open through Friday, May 17, 2024, at 5 p.m. (PST). Please reference program guidelines, how to submit a nomination, and additional information in preparing your nomination.
Please use the online nomination portal where nominators will submit the nominee's information and narrative and the EOY Portal will route for supervisor and department head approval. Please plan your nomination submission timeline to include approvals from nominee's supervisor and department head. Incomplete nominations will not be accepted or reviewed. Please contact us if you have any questions or problems.
  1. Review the guidelines and criteria (PDF).
  2. Nomination period: spring 2024, exact dates to be annouced
  3. Submit nomination form on the EOY Portal by the deadline to be annouced:
    • Nomination narratives should be no longer than 600 words. Before submitting via the EOY Portal, we recommend composing the narrative using a Word document. Then paste your final draft into the text box on the nomination form.

A review panel of representatives, chosen by their respective Vice Chancellors and the Chief Executive Officer of hospitals, evaluates all eligible nominations and recommends 15 award recipients to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

The award recipients are recognized as follows:

  • Ceremony: late August 2024 via webinar, exact date to be annouced; the webinar will be open to all, and no preregistration will be required
    • All nominees and their nominators are invited to attend the ceremony
  • Cash awards (subject to budgetary approval)

How to encourage nominations

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Publish information in an internal newsletter or email.
  • Discuss the awards and nomination process at staff meetings.
  • Schedule Employee Programs and Recognition team members to give a short presentation by emailing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Who is eligible?

A. Only Professional and Support Staff.

Q. Can I nominate academics?

A. No, only Professional and Support Staff are eligible.

Q. Can UC San Diego Health employees be nominated?

A. Yes, as long as they are Professional and Support Staff.

Q. Do nominees need to exemplify all six of the EOY standards?

A. No, nominations can focus on only one or more that the nominee fits of the six standards.

Q. When is the deadline to submit a nomination?

A. The nomination deadline for the 2023-2024 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year runs through May 17, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. Please plan your nomination submission timeline to include approvals from nominee's supervisor and department head. Incomplete nominations will not be accepted or reviewed.

Q. Can an employee self-nominate?

A. Self nominations from employees are prohibited.

Prior Ceremony

Watch the video of the 2022-2023 Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Ceremony:

For more information, contact the Employee Programs and Recognition team.

Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember:
Notice: The information on this page summarizes provisions of university policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Refer to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) and local implementing procedures or applicable collective bargaining agreement for full text of referenced information.