Models of Excellence program accepting nominations

In addition to the traditional award categories, a special award category—Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work—has been added.

LOVE statue on Penn campus
Image: Penn Human Resources

For more than 20 years, the Models of Excellence Award program has provided recognition of the achievements of individuals and teams whose work reflects initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service at Penn.

The call for nominations is open. Online submissions will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 29, and can be made using the 2022 Nominations Form. View the 2022 Nominations Guide for help in writing a nomination.  

“Every year the Models of Excellence Program celebrates and recognizes staff contributions to the University’s mission as a global leader in research, education, and service,” says Jack Heuer, vice president of the Division of Human Resources. “We look forward to once again honoring our outstanding staff throughout our schools and centers.” 

The Models of Excellence program has four award categories: Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence, Model Supervisor, and a special category, Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work.

In response to highly unusual circumstances, Human Resources expanded the Models of Excellence Program last year to recognize responses by Penn staff for their contributions and extraordinary efforts under challenging circumstances during the pandemic.

The Supporting Penn Through COVID-19 and Return to Campus Work award category will shine a light on individuals or teams that contributed directly to creating extraordinary outcomes for the Penn community. Nominations may include those who serve in roles maintaining life-sustaining on-campus services and support, delivering mission-critical programs and services from their homes, finding new ways to work safely onsite, and improving the morale and well-being of students, staff, and faculty at a time of need.

“Staff members have grown through the pandemic and shifted to deliver expanded programs and services, respond to timely and unprecedented challenges, and collaborate in new and different ways,” says Karen Killie, senior work-life consultant. “Through this category, we are recognizing the contributions members of our community have made through the specific lens of supporting Penn through COVID-19 and return to campus work this fall.”

The Models of Excellence Award recognizes notable staff member accomplishments at Penn that reflect initiative, leadership, increased efficiency, and a deep commitment to service. This is the longest-running award category going back to 1999.

“This is the program’s widest category, and it recognizes the strengths and accomplishments of individuals and teams,” Kille explains. “Nominations in this category highlight creativity, technical expertise, ingenuity, partnership building, and supportiveness, among others.” 

Introduced in 2014, the Pillars of Excellence Award recognizes the strong foundation and important support Penn’s weekly paid staff members provide to promote the University’s success.

“Through this award category, we hear the stories of Penn spirit, adaptability, commitment, and dedication, and recognize the accomplishments of our weekly paid staff,” says Kille.

The annual Model Supervisor Award, established in 2007, is presented to Penn supervisors who demonstrate exemplary behavior and serve as an outstanding role model.

“Penn supervisors have shown tremendous agility throughout the pandemic and beyond, so with this award, we recognize our tremendous managers and their team leadership through change and challenge,” Kille says. 

For more information about the Models of Excellence program, email