The College of St. Scholastica Excellence Awards

Award presentation by Sister Mary Rochefort

Recognizing the Excellence All Around us

St. Scholastica Excellence Awards LogoThe people who make CSS excellent are all around us, working hard every day to make St. Scholastica a better place. Each year, we present The College of St. Scholastica Excellence Awards to honor faculty and staff who embody the excellence we all strive toward. The Excellence Awards are presented in six categories:

  • Scholarly and Creative Activity
  • Advising and Mentoring
  • Service to College
  • Service to Community
  • Living our Values
  • Inclusive Excellence

Please review the information below for more details on each of these categories.

The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding member of the faculty whose exceptional merit in scholarly and creative activity provides a worthy example to peers. The award also serves as a means to highlight the collective work of the faculty in conducting significant scholarship that improves teaching and learning at CSS.

To receive this award, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

  • Distinction as a scholar as documented through publications, invited lectures and papers, performances or shows, leadership in professional societies, work on editorial boards, membership in prestigious professional organizations, references, quotes or appearances in the media or other kinds of selective positions of leadership. The faculty member's record of achievement should reflect sustained contributions to the university and which advance his/her discipline over many years.
  • Impacts people beyond CSS. While service (or creative and scholarly) activities that are part of one's load or job description will be considered in determining the award recipient, work that is not directly mandated by load or job descriptions will be given greater weight.
  • Evidence of sound scholarship and creative productivity can be demonstrated through a variety of avenues, including grants, release time, honors, etc.
  • A record of excellence in creative activity appropriate for the specific field or discipline, such as exhibitions, shows, performances, productions, and stage work
  • A record demonstrating evidence of critical reviews, grants, inclusion of works in permanent collections, retrospectives and other forms of external recognition and acclaim.

The Advising and Mentoring Award recognizes and affirms the role of staff and faculty in the advising and mentoring of students or colleagues/peers.

The Advising and Mentoring Award recognizes the significant role staff and faculty advising and mentoring play in forming the minds and shaping the lives of students. While all staff and faculty members are expected to advise and mentor students in an effective and informed manner, this award recognizes those individuals whose efforts extend well beyond such expectations.

In addition, the award recognizes staff and faculty who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in building supportive academic and/or professional environments in their departments by actively engaging in the mentoring of colleagues/peers.

Student Mentor Criteria:

To receive this award for advising and mentoring students, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

Knowledge - the advisor/mentor's breadth and depth of knowledge about programs and opportunities for students

  • Institutional policies, procedures, programs and services: Is knowledgeable about policies, procedures and programs and can refer students to policies, procedures and programs at the college. Is knowledgeable about academic support services, counseling services, career services, TRiO program services and other support services available to students.
  • Graduate programs and career opportunities: Knowledgeable about appropriate post-undergraduate opportunities or career service opportunities

Active Involvement - the advisor's actions to maintain contact with students and monitor their progress

  • Actively maintains contact: Is readily available to students and maintains open lines of communication
  • Proactive availability: Takes the initiative to contact students to facilitate more timely and effective planning
  • Continual monitoring of progress: Follows students' progress throughout their academic careers

Interpersonal Skills/Sensitivity - the advisor's ability to effectively communicate with students and to treat them on an individual basis

  • Develops rapport and gains confidence of students: Is able to convey information effectively to students and is seen as a credible source of accurate information
  • Develops understanding of students' abilities and goals: Views students as individuals and takes their personal characteristics into account in the advising process
  • Helps students develop appropriate educational plans: Customizes advising and planning to the needs, interests, and abilities of individual students
  • Sensitivity to students’ cultural backgrounds, experiences and needs: Is able to work effectively with students from diverse backgrounds

Positive and Lasting Impact - advisor's efforts to address students' lives as a whole and his/her impact on their lives before and after they leave the College

  • Encourages students' growth: Fosters overall growth (academic and personal) rather than just assuring that students fulfill minimum academic requirements
  • Addresses "long-term" plan: Adjusts academic planning to address the long-range goals (e.g., career paths or further education) of individual students
  • Encourages unique opportunities: Alerts students to special opportunities (e.g., awards, study trips, internships) for which they are suitable candidates and facilitates their involvement

Colleague/Peer Mentor Criteria:

To receive this award for mentoring a colleague/peer, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

Onboarding and Ongoing Involvement

  • Serves as a positive resource to the new employee through the employee’s onboarding period. This individual plays a significant role in welcoming and affirming the new employee’s decision to join the department and the CSS community. The mentor helps to reduce the initial confusion and uncertainty often faced by a new employee. By increasing the new employee’s ability to contribute to the department and college, the mentor helps to increase the new employee’s self-confidence and engagement in the CSS community.
  • Serves as a bridge between the college onboarding program and the department orientation and thereby enables the new employee to become knowledgeable about the department practices and the organizational culture in a shorter period of time.
  • Establishes formal and informal channels of providing support to the new employee and supports the colleague to advance, including but not limited to areas such as promotion, project development, skill and career development, grant writing, community engagement, tenure, portfolio development, or to other activities related to career growth.
  • Is readily available to colleagues and maintains open lines of communication.
  • Generously shares their valuable time and expertise to provide feedback, counsel and advise colleagues on a range of issues. Offers sound advice, counsel and valuable information in order for mentee to advance and develop their path to academic and/or professional success
  • Makes others aware of the contributions and value of their mentees to the department and the college.
  • Serves as a role model for colleagues by maintaining high standards for excellence and engagement.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to inclusion and to the particular mentoring needs of individuals from diverse backgrounds and traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Influences others in working towards departmental or organizational objectives and actively participates in fostering others through change initiatives.

The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals who have provided outstanding service to the College, including both ad hoc and formal activities within the department, school and College.

To receive this award, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

  • Engaging with and encouraging others to engage in professional development opportunities available to faculty and staff
  • Sharing teaching excellence knowledge/skills in his/her discipline with others either formally or informally
  • Being available for interviews with prospective students and their families and participating in recruitment fairs or activities
  • Service on ad hoc working or discussion groups not formally recognized as standing committees at the college
  • Willingness to mentor peers who are new to the institution
  • Serving as the advisor for student groups or organizations
  • Participation in campus meetings with student groups
  • Participation on standing committees, working groups, task forces, etc.
  • Willingness to serve in a leadership capacity on committees, working groups, task forces, etc.
  • Available to consult, advise and collaborate well with college staff and faculty peers about issues critical to student success

The purpose of this award is to recognize individuals who have made demonstrably important contributions to the community and the community service work is reflective of the College's mission.

To receive this award, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

  • Service to the community, civic and professional organizations can include, but is not limited to:
    • Active membership in a community group
    • Efforts to directly address a social issue
    • Advocating for an underserved population
  • Actively works with community organization to solve a shared problem, participation in fundraising for a charity or a scholarship and/or regularly volunteering for a not-for-profit organization
  • Has consistently made a significant positive impact beyond the College and within the person's larger community
  • Is actively recognized for his or her community service, including but not limited to:
    • Leadership
    • Commitment to social justice
    • Ability to organize community members
  • Has made a demonstrably important contribution to the community
  • Reflects the College’s mission in his or her community service work, and has engaged in these service activities for at least two years
  • Has made a major contribution to the community by creating and supporting innovative programs to meet specific needs, improve health status and enhance quality of life

The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence of faculty and staff who support and further the College's mission of preparing students for responsible living and meaningful work by exemplifying the Benedictine values in their work at the College. This award serves to highlight the importance of living our values within the College community, and to continue to promote our value-based foundation.

To receive this award, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

  • Consistently, and with sustained effort (not shorter that two years) models one or more of the Benedictine values adopted by the College in their daily work
  • Interacts with people in their day-to-day work exemplifying the Benedictine values of the College
  • Has a positive impact on other members of the College community

This award is designed to recognize the outstanding achievements of one individual, team, department or school in the College Community who advanced equity, diversity and inclusion at The College of St. Scholastica through dedication and exemplary leadership in providing services for diverse populations, fostering an inclusive environment inside/outside of the classroom and/or addressing equity.

To receive this award, a case must be made that the candidate demonstrates leadership in one or more of the following areas:

  • Regularly serves as a role model by demonstrating behaviors that promote/reflect equity, diversity and inclusion, and champions the ideals of equity, diversity and inclusion and an environment free from bias and discrimination. Champions "talk the talk and walk the walk." It is not just what champions say, it is how they act that signals whether diversity and inclusion is truly important to the organization. For example, champions can demonstrate that mentoring is valued by personally mentoring someone from a different background.
  • Takes action to identify and address systemic barriers to full participation in College life and supports the College community to be an inclusive and welcoming learning, working and living environment.
  • Develops unique/innovative programs that significantly enhance CSS's ability to facilitate full participation and provide opportunities for the entire CSS community to reap the benefits of studying and working in an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment.
  • Committed to and takes action to serve under-represented populations (among students/ faculty/ staff) to provide access and opportunities to those who might not otherwise be part of our community, and once here may not be fully welcomed and included.
  • Collaboration with College or community groups in the creation, sponsorship and implementation of programs, initiatives or projects in the area of diversity and inclusion.
  • Regularly engages in activities to promote a diverse and inclusive culture within the team/department/school. 
  • Regularly influences others. Successful diversity and inclusion efforts have champions who discuss the importance of diversity at every possible opportunity. Champions of diversity and inclusion can exert influence, not necessarily because of their titles, but by making a persuasive connection between organizational performance and progress on diversity and inclusion.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to continually learning. To be an effective champion, it is important to understand the challenges faced by different groups in the profession. These challenges and the barriers they can present often unintentionally go unnoticed by members of a majority group who have never experienced being an outsider in their profession. A champion of diversity and inclusion regularly reaches out to a diverse array of individuals to understand firstā€hand the experiences of someone from a different background.

Nomination Information

Complete the nomination form to recommend a colleague for The College of St. Scholastica Excellence Awards. Before completing the form, please contact the candidate to determine whether he/she is willing to be nominated.

Tips for writing a strong nomination. Keep these in mind as you put your nomination together:

1. Spell out the details of the person’s accomplishments

Remember that the committee reviewing recommendations can only base its decision on what you submit. Take your time to be specific. Help the committee understand what this person has done. Imagine that none of them has ever met your nominee before, and go from there.

It is important that you provide evidence that supports the criteria for your nomination. This evidence should be included in the nomination letter as well as the letters of support. The list below provides examples of the types of evidence that should be provided:

  • A clear description of the specific initiatives, demonstrated qualities, or actions by the nominee as they relate to the criteria.
  • Direct and indirect evidence of the impact on student experience or the work of others at St. Scholastica.
  • Samples of reflections from the nominee and from other participants on the goals, objectives and results of a specific initiative related to the nomination.
  • Description and samples of work to demonstrate the relevant area of excellence.
  • Any additional evidence addressing a focus on the relevant criteria.

2. Be clear, and give specific examples that support each of the awards criteria that you think your nominee represents

It’s even better if you can give examples for each one of the awards criteria. The more examples you give, the better sense of the nominee the committee will have.

Remember, you want to show that your nominee is an all-around talented individual, so give examples of that person’s accomplishments throughout the last year; don’t just focus on one specific accomplishment.

3. Provide supporting letters

At least two letters of support must be submitted. Ask people who have worked with your nominee in different capacities to write letters of support. Look for colleagues past and present and/or students who worked for or with the person who might be interested in contributing. The nominee’s supervisor is also a good person to ask to write a letter of support.

4. Use specific and descriptive wording

Don’t just say that “John did a good job of planning the department’s event,” but be detailed! For example, “John’s work in planning the department’s event involved meeting individually with each office and with students to understand their needs. From here, he collaborated with those same offices to make this year’s event an increased success, and better attended (over 300 people came), than ever before.”

5. Don’t forget the deadline!

It can be a challenge to find the time to put a really good nomination together, all before the nomination process ends. But remember that your hard work will be worth it, so plan ahead!

6. Upload all your supporting documents

All supporting documents must be submitted on-line and converted to pdfs to upload and attach to the nomination form. Once the nomination has been submitted, additional supporting documents cannot be added. Please be sure to submit all of the supporting documents at the same time you submit the nomination.

Deadline for accepting nominations is March 27, 2015.

Please contact Pat Pratt-Cook at (218) 723-6602 or via email with questions.

View Past Winners