Sustaining Penn Through COVID-19 Award

The 2021 call for nominations is now closed.

In late January, the Models, Pillars, Sustaining Penn Through COVID-19, and Model Supervisor honorees will be announced.

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This year, in response to highly unusual circumstances, we are expanding the Models of Excellence Program to recognize responses by Penn staff for their contributions and extraordinary efforts under challenging circumstances of the pandemic.

Nominations in the Sustaining Penn through COVID-19 award category showcase those individuals or teams that contributed directly to creating extraordinary outcomes for the Penn community. They 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.

The Sustaining Penn through COVID-19 award follows the same standards of the Models of Excellence nomination. Honorees selected in this special category will be acknowledged during the spring celebration.

Standards of Excellence

These Standards of Excellence are used by the nominators and the Selection Committee to identify individual staff members or teams in Sustaining Penn Through COVID-19 for their notable contributions to the mission of the University under the challenging circumstances of the pandemic.

Supportive practices, procedures, and policies

  • Brings about significant positive change for the University’s mission.
  • Eliminates significant obstacles to achieving the University’s mission.
  • Resolves, in unique and/or novel ways, problems that impede progress.

Innovative and proactive leadership

  • Uses highly effective and/or novel practices to inspire and lead others to contribute constructively to the University’s mission.
  • Proactively identifies and resolves challenges that interfere with team/unit/school/center activities to further the University’s mission.
  • Encourages a coordinated effort by a complex group and facilitates the group’s ability to meet complicated goals.

Extraordinary service to key constituencies

  • Supports internal and/or external constituencies in ways that exceed expectations and result in unexpected and very positive outcomes that support the University’s mission.

Substantial cost-effectiveness

  • Identifies improvements to University practices, policies, and/or program designs that result in substantial cost savings to the University while enhancing the organization’s ability to support the University’s mission.

Exemplary relationship building within and/or outside of the immediate organization

  • Develops and uses strong, constructive, and productive relationships that enable otherwise impossible goals to be met in support of the University’s mission

The Nomination Process

Nominations in this distinctive category can be submitted for individuals, teams, or supervisors, exempt or non-exempt staff. Nominations will be reviewed and selected using the same methodology as the Models of Excellence, Pillars of Excellence or Model Supervisor awards. Please consider nominating a deserving staff member or team. We welcome nominations from any level of the organization, including self-nominations.

The nomination process is detailed, and all its components must be completed before the nomination can be accepted. The Quick Start Guide to Submitting a Models Nomination provides all of the information you need to complete this process which includes the following steps:

  1. Reviewing the eligibility requirements in the Nomination Guide.
  2. Complete the online Nomination Form which includes two reference letters and supervisor verification of eligibility.
  3. Submitting the completed nomination through the online form by the published deadline.

Questions? Call 215-898-1012 or contact us by email.

Selection and Notification

An annually rotating Models of Excellence Selection Committee reviews all nominations and selects the award winners. The committee is representative of the diversity of our institution, composed of Penn leaders from the Provost, Executive Vice President, and Vice President of Human Resources areas, previous Models of Excellence award winners, and other faculty and staff members from across campus.

Once staff members are chosen for Models of Excellence Program recognition are notified in January, the information is publicized broadly to the Penn community. Honorees are acknowledged in the spring. 

Awards and Celebration

Models of Excellence winners receive $500.00 and a symbolic award. Extremely noteworthy staff member contributions receive Honorable Mentions and are awarded $250.00 and a symbolic award.


Questions? Call 215-898-7729 or contact us by email.