UO hosts annual employee awards ceremony for the Outstanding Employee Award

About 100 people gathered in the ballroom of the University of Oregon Ford Alumni Center on Nov. 28, to congratulate and celebrate the 12 recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Employee Award.

Every year, UO’s Human Resources department awards faculty who exemplify the mission of the University of Oregon’s Outstanding Employee Award. Employees are able to nominate their peers and a selection committee reviews and selects winners. Those winners are then celebrated at a reception.

This year’s award winners were classified employees Arnita Albertson, Tom Coates, Travis Hadwen, Loring Hummel, Kim Larsen, Dee Rawson and Laurie Schneider, as well as officers of administration Megan Banks, Melissa Bowers, Paula Braswell, Missy Matella and Arturo Zavala.

UO Human resources gave each recipient a small yellow rose pinned to their shirt, and a wood trophy engraved with their name and “excellence” written on the top.

The selection committee reviewed 53 nominations to narrow it down to the 12 recipients.

The selection committee consists of five positions which are filled every year, with an HR delegate, two Officers of Administration and two classified staff.

This year’s selection committee was made up of classified staff training & development advisory council member Miranda Broadbent, HR Representative Jen Mirabile, OA Council member Katie Bumgardner, Stephen Mosley from the VPFA diversity committee, and Cheryl Ernst, from the UO senate.

The committee gives awards to employees who promote inclusivity, build community, demonstrate leadership and exemplify UO’s mission, according the the Human Resources website.

“[The selection committee typically looks] for people that are going above and beyond the regular duties of their job,” Sandee Bybee, the employee engagement manager at UO and the hostess for the reception said. “It’s about that next level.”

There is no specific amount of people that the selection committee awards, although the committee tries to make the awards divided equally between officers of administration and classified employees. Last year, seven officers of administration and six six classified employees were awarded.

During the ceremony, Bybee read through compliments from each recipient’s colleagues about them, and invited them the podium to accept their award. Bybee encouraged recipients to make any comments or ‘thank yous’ that they wished.

Gratitude was expressed to family members, loved ones, and departmental colleagues. Some award recipients gave emotional responses.

Paula Braswell, the director of admissions for the honors college, talked about her mother, who had died suddenly earlier this year. She spoke of how she had always seen her mother’s image as something to strive for.

“I just thought it was a good opportunity to put her in the forefront,” Braswell said.

Braswell also said she was surprised and humbled to receive the award.

“I think it was very thoughtful and greatly appreciated,” Braswell said.

At the back of the room, attendees could write compliments and thank you notes to the recipients and place them in tiny buckets.

UO has two other employee recognition events that HR puts on. There is a years of service recognition and a retirement recognition ceremony that will take place later this year.

“Recognizing extraordinary employees and their accomplishments is essential to our pursuit of excellence as an institution,” Acting Chief of Human Resources Kaia Rogers said. “The Outstanding Employee Awards program provides an opportunity for the University community to gather together and celebrate employees for their hard work, expertise, and valuable contributions.”

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