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Northwestern Information Technology Project Team Excellence Award

Northwestern IT offers a quarterly and annual Project Team Excellence Award (PTEA) to recognize project teams that are comprised of cross-unit participation and highly successful in implementing a significant project.

Submit a Nomination

The following guidelines are to ensure that teams and individuals are given an award based on the highest standards of criteria.

Quarterly Project Team Excellence Award

The award recognizes Northwestern IT project teams that have been highly successful in implementing a significant project based on several criteria, including:

  • Collaboration: Working with units inside IT, outside of IT, and outside Northwestern
  • Impact: Displaying significant impact to the Northwestern community
  • Fulfillment: Achieving a high-level of satisfaction amongst the project team members and customers
  • Product/Service: Creating an innovative product or service that is secure, reliable, and highly effective  

Nominations must be made within six months from project completion. Nominations can be made by either the Northwestern IT project manager or a University partnering manager of the project. Any nomination submitted more than six months past the project completion will automatically be declined.


The below criteria is intended to help identify who in the project functioned as a key team member.
  • Key team members are defined as having made a significant contribution that was above and beyond their typical duties.
  • As part of the process of nominating a project, key team member names are provided to the committee, and this list must be vetted by the overseeing Associate Vice President (AVP) or Senior Director before the submission.
  • If a manager is nominated as part of the key team member list, that person’s role as a member of the team should receive additional evaluation by the AVP or Senior Director, making sure they have gone above and beyond their organic daily tasks.

Process and Frequency: Ongoing throughout the academic year

  1. The Award Committee chair(s) is notified that a nomination has come in and reaches out to the nominator for AVP- or Senior Director-vetted key project team members and their contributions.
  2. The Award Committee Chair(s) sends a survey to team members and customers and schedules a question and answer presentation with project managers.
  3. The project interview is typically presented by the Project Team Lead, Project Manager, and the Project Owners (many of whom are at the Director level). Others may be invited at the discretion of the PTEA committee chair(s).
  4. The committee gathers to discuss and score the team using the prescribed matrix. Winning teams must earn a score of at least 7.75 to receive the award. If the committee’s decision is to award the nominated team, the decision is brought to the Senior Leadership Team for their review and approval prior to the award being presented at the next Extended Staff Meeting.
  5. In general, only one award will be given at each of the Extended Staff Meetings within the calendar year. If the PTEA committee feels there should be an exception made and an additional nomination is worthy of an award, the committee may present the nominations and request counsel from the Northwestern IT Senior Leadership Team.

Quarterly Award Presentation

Quarterly Project Team Excellence Awards are announced during Extended Staff Meetings. Members of the winning team receive:

  • Certificates that document the award, the individuals' names, date, and project name
  • Team lunch with the Director related to the project
  • $50 gift certificate

Annual Project Team Excellence Award

Annually, the Northwestern IT Senior Leadership Team selects one of the Quarterly Project Team Excellence Award winners for the annual award.

Selection Process

  1. Approximately six weeks prior to the first Extended Staff Meeting of the calendar year, the PTEA committee chair(s) and liaison to the Senior Leadership Team gather the quarterly award nominations from the previous year for presentation to the Senior Leadership Team.
  2. The PTEA committee liaison presents the Quarterly PTEA recipients to the Senior Leadership Team for determination of which project is awarded the annual PTEA.
  3. The liaison notifies the PTEA chairs, but this information is guarded, and no notices go out to the nominated teams.
  4. During the presentation of the award at the Extended Staff Meeting, each nominated project team is recognized with the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer ultimately revealing the winning team.

Annual Award Presentation

The Annual Project Team Excellence Award is announced at the first Extended Staff Meeting of the calendar year; runners up will also be recognized. Members of the winning team receive:

  • Northwestern IT Project Team Excellence Award Certificate
  • Team lunch with the Vice President and Chief Information Officer and the director and/or associate director related to the project
  • One day off to be taken by staff within two months of the award

Past Winners

  • 2022 - Action for COVID-19 Response
  • 2021 - Advising System Replacement
  • 2021 - Zoom Implementation
  • 2020 - KIS Data Center Transition Project
  • 2019 -  Quest Scheduler Transition
  • 2018 - Research Portal Upgrade

Award Committee

A rotating committee of Northwestern IT staff, excluding VPs, AVPs, Directors, and Associate Directors, will review all nominated projects to select award winners, if any qualify. The committee should represent a cross section of IT units. Members should appreciate and support Northwestern Behaviors (as defined in Performance Excellence guidelines) and they should have a good understanding of the University beyond Northwestern IT.

Members will have a two-year term, and the committee will elect a chair (or co-chairs) every two years. For continuity purposes, if the outgoing chair is leaving the committee, the outgoing chair will sit in on deliberations for the first nomination of the new year in an advisory capacity.

PTEA Committee Members

Name Term Expiration Date
Ke Gong June 1, 2024
Michael Dice (Co-chair) November 1, 2024
Damon Taylor January 1, 2025
Karl Kooistra December 1, 2025
Marq Mercado December 1, 2025
Milen Ivanov February 1, 2026