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Northwestern Information Technology Employee Excellence Award

The Northwestern Information Technology (IT) Employee Excellence Award annually recognizes an individual staff member within our organization who has made remarkable contributions during the past calendar year and consistently demonstrated a superior level of performance. 

Submit a Nomination

To nominate a colleague, please complete the online nomination form by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, 2023. Before submitting, please read the information below regarding award eligibility and guidance on preparing a convincing nomination.

Award Eligibility

All full-time employees who have completed one year of continuous employment within IT, excluding associate directors and above, are eligible for this award.

This award is reserved for employees whose dedication and impact are felt throughout our organization. Going above and beyond others and often stretching beyond regular duties, the winner of this award will likely demonstrate:

  • A series of significant contributions, a unique achievement of strategic importance to the University, or ongoing operational excellence
  • Excellent service delivery, both internal and external to Northwestern IT
  • Northwestern values and behaviors at a high level, along with a record of encouraging them in others (e.g., excellence, discovery, collaboration, diversity, and integrity)

Writing a Convincing Nomination

On the nomination form, you are asked to provide detailed information in support of your nominee. Please remember that committee members reviewing these nominations may not be as familiar with the work of your nominee as you are. Thus, specifics are critical, as they help the committee assess your nominee in comparison to others. In describing performance and accomplishments, please:

  • Avoid only using vague descriptors, sweeping generalities, or superlatives. If used, be sure to reinforce them with supporting specifics.
  • Provide specific support for your laudatory comments. Questions to consider include:
    • What exactly was accomplished, and why is it a remarkable contribution?
    • Was it accomplished on time? On budget?
    • What obstacles were overcome?
    • What are the different dimensions of the superior performance level, and why do you consider them above and beyond the nominee’s regular job responsibilities?
  • Remember, specifics that may be relevant to your nomination may include but are not necessarily limited to amount of effort, intensity of effort, project duration, level of innovation or creativity, collegiality, team-building, effective communication with the team and/or customers, and results.
  • Be concise, but provide sufficient support. Longer nominations do not necessarily make stronger nominations. A shorter, more specific nomination may be more successful.
    • In recent years, nominations between 800 and 1,500 words were most successful. This example reflects the need to provide the committee with specific examples—not generalities—that enable them to fully understand what the nominee has accomplished and why the individual is worthy of the award.
    • Connect with customers or end users to secure third-party endorsements on the nominee's impact and accomplishments.
    • Seek and include feedback and endorsements from multiple individuals within the nominee's department and especially from across Northwestern IT.
By following these suggestions, you will strengthen the case for your nominee and help the committee choose the best nominees.

Process and Structure

  • In October, the director of administration and finance (A&F) issues a call for nominations.
  • Following the nomination process, the A&F director selects a committee of representatives from across IT to review and score the nominations. The Northwestern IT Senior Leadership Team then reviews the top four nominations and selects a winner.
  • While this award is generally intended to have a single recipient each year, there may be exceptions when one or more recipients deserve this pinnacle of recognition (e.g., a team that has consistently displayed the criteria throughout the year).
  • The award is presented at the first Extended Staff Meeting in 2024 (January/February TBD).

Award Recognition

The winner of the award receives:

  • Recognition at the first Extended Staff Meeting of 2024
  • An engraved plaque
  • A $100 gift card
  • An extra vacation day
  • Lunch with Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Sean Reynolds, the winner's nominator and director, and the runner-ups
  • A feature story on Inside IT (read about last year's winner)
Runner-ups receive:
  • Recognition at the Extended Staff Meeting
  • Lunch with Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Sean Reynolds, the award winner, and the award winner's nominator and director