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Part-time Employees Now Eligible for Staff Excellence Awards

Nominations for the University of Utah’s Staff & District Excellence Awards (USEA) will be open as of Monday, May 1, 2023! Nominations can be made on our online nomination website, and will be accepted until Friday, June 30.

The Department of Human Resources and Staff Council are also pleased to announce a new award category for USEA. In addition to recognizing the efforts of full-time staff employees, we will now allow nominations for part-time employees (.01 FTE to .74 FTE). A total of four Part-Time awards will be given, one for each District within the University.

The USEA program was established in 1992 to formally recognize full-time staff employees for superior service related to the University’s four major Strategic Goals. Since 2006, no changes had been made to USEA criteria. It wasn’t until 2022, when a special committee was tasked with identifying strategies for staff retention and recognition across the U that the need for part-time awards became apparent.

The committee, consisting of representation from Human Resources, Staff Council, and other staff across the U, realized quickly that including part-time employees for eligibility in Staff & District Excellence Awards would be a simple solution for a larger retention and recognition problem.

“In my experience as Chair for the USEA’s Administration District for the last several years, I saw a lot of nominations come in for stellar employees but they did not quite make that .75 FTE/full-time criteria,” says Lisa Rigtrup, Staff Council President and member of the recognition and retention committee. “It was disheartening to reject those nominations because the employee was not full-time.”

Sara Salmon, committee chair and 2021 Health Academics District Staff Excellence Awardee, agreed with this sentiment, adding, “Across the U, we all know a part-time colleague who has provided exceptional service for years - even decades! As a committee, we knew we had to make a change to recognize these important contributions across the U. We feel this change will help to retain excellent employees, and ensure they feel valued as critical members of this organization.

After many months, the committee created a proposal outlining new criteria for part-time awards. In addition, the committee also proposed lowering the criteria from 3 years to 2 years of service for both the full-time and part-time awards as this would increase the pool of eligible staff candidates. This proposal was reviewed and approved by Jeff Herring, the University of Utah’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

 “Our annual Staff Excellence Awards have always been a useful tool for expressing our gratitude and recognizing the contributions of exceptional employees, but our strict full-time eligibility requirements excluded a significant portion of staff at the U,” Herring says.  “When we reviewed the data on the proposal, we found that one-third of our 33,000+ staff members are part-time. Creating a new award category allows us to recognize employees who have been dedicated to the University for many years, but are not considered full-time employees.”

The new criteria for Part-Time Staff Excellence Awards is as follows:

  • One award per District; part-time nominations will not be considered for the final eight University of Utah Staff Excellence winners
  • Part-time employee has to have at least two years of continuous, part-time service (.01 FTE to .74 FTE) to the University of Utah by June 30, 2023
  • Part-time employee is in good standing with their respective department and the University (no disciplinary actions on file within the last three years)
  • Part-time employee is not Faculty, Director-level staff and above, U of U Staff Council members, or District Award team members

Herring and members of the committee encourage the U of U community to consider submitting nominations for your superb full-time and part-time colleagues!

For questions about USEA, including the nomination process or criteria, please contact