Staff Excellence Award

The Staff Excellence Award was initiated in 2014 to replace the Unclassified Professional Award and Support Staff Employee of the Year Award and to recognize outstanding staff members who have demonstrated commitment, teamwork, innovation, and outstanding service to the University of Kansas Libraries. The Staff Excellence Award will be given to two recipients annually.

The winners will each receive a $1,000 cash award as well as their name engraved in a plaque on the third floor of Watson Library. The award announcement is made in the fall and is formally acknowledged at KU Libraries’ annual Celebration of Excellence Ceremony.


To be eligible for nomination, staff must be employed by the University of Kansas Libraries for at least one year prior to the deadline for nominations. Members of the award committee and anyone who has won the Unclassified Professional Award or the Support Staff Employee of the Year Award within the past three years are ineligible. 

Nomination Procedures

A call for nominations will be made annually by KU Libraries administration. Any person or group of persons affiliated with the University of Kansas, who are not serving as a member of the Award Committee, may nominate an individual. Nominators are asked to complete a Staff Excellence Award Nomination Form by 5 p.m. on June 17, 2023.

Nominations will remain active for two years.  Staff not selected in their first year of nomination will be reconsidered for a second time along with the newly nominated candidates.  Previous nominators will be asked to update their nominations to reflect any additional accomplishments by the nominee. 


Nominations should be based upon work-related criteria in the given year. The Staff Excellence Award recognizes outstanding staff members who have demonstrated commitment, teamwork, innovation, and outstanding service to KU Libraries. 


The Award Committee chosen by the KU Libraries Leadership Team, will consist of four staff members, two members who will serve a one-year appointment and two members who will serve a two-year appointment. The Awards Manager will provide administrative support to all aspects of the awards process and related committee assistance as needed.  Neither a nominator nor any nominee is eligible to serve on the Award Committee. Should a member of the Award Committee receive a nomination for the award, an appropriate replacement will be named to the Award Committee by the Dean of Libraries.

Members of the Award Committee may determine the process for interviewing nominees, co-workers and current supervisor. In making its recommendation to the Dean, the Award Committee will apply the criteria stated in the description of the Award.  The Committee will review nominations and provide a final report detailing the strengths of all nominees to the Dean. A ranked list is optional. Nominees will be informed by the Dean prior to the announcement of the winners.  

All nomination materials will be considered confidential and will be retained in the Library Administrative Office files.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2023 - Tahirih Mullen, Library Associate and Jim Richey, Business Coordinator
  • 2022 - Joel Cooper, Library Assistant and Joe Orosco, Library Assistant
  • 2021 - Scott Cossel, Library Manager and Nishon Hawkins, Library Manager
  • 2020 - Sunita Gandhi, Library Associate and LeAnn Meyer, Communications Manager
  • 2019 - Michelle Curttright, Library Manager and Brian Moss, Library Manager
  • 2018 - Rhonda Houser, Education Program Coordinator and Andrea Pitt, Library Manager
  • 2017 - Sarah Couch, Manager/Administrator and Letha Johnson, Archivist Associate
  • 2016 - Carmen Orth-Alfie, Graduate Engagement Librarian and Mary Raple, Program Assistant for International Area Studies 
  • 2015 - Lois Bauer, Accountant and Courtney Foat, Executive Assistant
  • 2014 - Jeromy Horkman, Director of Public Services and Malgorzata Stamm, Program Assistant for Slavic and Eurasian Studies