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Human Resources

Unclassified Professional Awards

The President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals recognizes excellence in the workplace for professional staff in five categories, team building, group activity, services to the university; productivity, creativity, innovation; distinguished accomplishment; leadership and belonging. Employees recognized in these categories demonstrate excellence and exemplary contributions to the mission and values of Kansas State University.

All unclassified professional staff members with a minimum of three years of continuous service, who are employed at five-tenths or greater regular or term appointment, shall be eligible for the President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals.

President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals
Award Nomination Deadline: March 20th, 2024

Purpose of the Award

The purpose of these awards is to foster excellence in the workplace by rewarding and recognizing unclassified professional staff who achieve excellence and/or make exemplary contributions to the mission and values of K-State through service as a team player, exceptional productivity, creativity or innovation, distinguished accomplishment, leadership and/or belonging.

Eligibility and Criteria

All unclassified professional staff members with a minimum of three years of continuous service, who are employed at a five-tenths or greater regular or term appointment, shall be eligible for the award. The University Handbook defines unclassified professionals as "all individuals who do not hold academic rank and do not have a civil service classification."

Nominees are eligible for a maximum of one award in an application year. An employee may receive this award only once every five years.

Unclassified professionals may be nominated in one or more of the following areas of accomplishment. Additional information is provided on the nomination form.

  • Team Building, Group Activity, Service to the University - Participation in a cooperative/collaborate setting promotes teamwork, effective delegation, and attainment of the charge or goal of the group. The unclassified professional staff member is recognized as a valuable team player that engages others, works toward consensus, considers opinions from a diverse team and enhances teamwork.
  • Productivity, Creativity, Innovation - Increases in work productivity, and/or new or improved processes or services that result from the employee's contributions. The unclassified professional staff member contributes through creative effort — program development, marketing, use of technology, or other accomplishments — that yields significant benefit for their unit, the campus or the larger community.
  • Distinguished Accomplishment - An event or achievement that is significant in scope, effort or impact. The employee's efforts lead to notable recognition and/or benefit for Kansas State University, its employees, students, or its constituents, including citizens of the state of Kansas.
  • Leadership - Leadership of a unit, department or university organization that has made a distinct and positive impact. The employee has implemented significant, positive changes or improvements and/or led in a way that models and fosters an excellent team environment.
  • Belonging - Outstanding work on inclusivity and belonging efforts here at K-State. This employee has made significant contributions during the year that enhance the feeling of belonging for all K-Staters, creating a more inclusive environment. They may have worked on programs, policies or practices that delivered outstanding results in relation to helping everyone feel a valued part of the K-State Family.

Nomination Process

Current faculty, staff, administrators, and/or students at Kansas State University may nominate individuals to be considered for this award. No self-nominations will be accepted. All nominations will be confidential. Nominations require the completion of the nomination form and two letters of support from other individuals.

Nominations will be reviewed and awarded by the President's Award of Excellence for Unclassified Professionals Selection Committee.

Award and Presentation of the Award

Five award winners will be selected annually, one in each category. The award(s) will be presented in the spring of each year. The recipient(s) will receive a letter of commendation from the President of the University, a monetary award of $1000, and acknowledgment in K-State Today. The recipient(s) also will be recognized at a reception hosted by the President.

Awards Selection Committee

A university committee appointed by the president will consist of seven voting and one ex-officio member. Representatives will be selected from the faculty (1), university support staff (1), undergraduate students (1), graduate students (1), and unclassified professionals (3). After the first year, committee appointments will be staggered to provide continuity. Committee members will serve terms no longer than two years.

University Support Staff Senate, Faculty Senate, Student Governing Association and the Graduate Student Council will provide the names for their respective constituencies. Faculty Senate will recommend four individuals (one faculty member and three unclassified professionals). The ex-officio member will be appointed by the Vice President of Human Resources, and will serve as the point of contact for the award. Broad representation across the various campuses, and inclusive of the offices of Research and Extension, is encouraged.

Contact Human Resources for additional information at 785-532-6277 or hr@ksu.edu

Unclassified Winners from the last five years
  • 2023
    • Joe Horan, Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Graduate School - Leadership 
    • Amy Brusk, Lead Grant Specialist, Office of the Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine - Team Building, Group Activity, and Service to the University 
    • Jim Hodgson, Senior Scientific Glassblower, Chemistry Department - Productivity, Creativity and Innovation
    • Sue Metzger, Associate Director, College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension - Distinguished Accomplishment
    • Scott Schlender, Academic Service Coordinator, Graduate School - Belonging 
  •  2022
    • Travis Balthazor, UAS Flight Operations Manager, Salina Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Leadership 
    • George Widenor, Director of Marketing and Business Analysis, K-State Global Campus - Team Building, Group Activity and Service to the University 
    • Laura Schwartz, Project/Program Coordinator Curriculum and Instruction Department, College of Education - Productivity, Creativity, and Innovation 
    • Joel Sanneman, Research Associate, Anatomy and physiology department, College of Veterinary Medicine - Distinguished Accomplishment 
    • Megan Miller, Student Success Soordinator, Graduate School - Belonging 
  •  2021
    • Mishelle Hay McCammant, College of Agriculture Academic Programs - Leadership 
    • Brent Weaver, Office of Student Success - Team Building, Group Activity, Service to the University 
    • Marci Ritter, Global Campus Dean's Office - Productivity, Creativity, Innovation 
    • Rich Llewelyn, Department of Agriculture Economics - Distinguished Accomplishment
    • Mandi McKinley, Office of Student Success - Belonging

  • 2020
    • Sterling Buist, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry - Leadership 
    • Jen Schlegel, Department of Plant Pathology – Team Building, Group Activity, Service to the University 
    • Kevin Shippy, Information Technology Services – Productivity, Creativity, Innovation 
    • Roberta "Robin" Reid – Distinguished Accomplishment 
    • Mary Ellen Barkley – Belonging  
  • 2019
    • Lynn Carlin, Office of the Provost – Leadership 
    • Barb Nagel, Office of the Registrar – Team Building, Group Activity, Service to the University 
    • Ashley Nietfeld, K-State Global Campus – Productivity, Creativity, Innovation 
    • Ethan Erickson, Budget Office – Distinguished Accomplishment 
    • Gail Eyestone, Department of Anatomy and Physiology – Belonging 

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