Staff Excellence Awards

The University of Delaware Staff Excellence Awards recognize individuals and teams for their exemplary contributions to the UD community and commitment to UD values. Nominations are accepted each Fall and Spring, carefully reviewed by committee and vetted by UD Human Resources for monetary prize distribution.  

Faculty are recognized annually via “Faculty Excellence Awards.” 


We are thrilled to announce that twenty-two of our amazing University of Delaware staff members have been recognized with Staff Excellence Awards for their outstanding commitment and hard work! 

The award winners were honored on June 6 in Bayard Sharp Hall. The University President and First Lady were in attendance along with other senior leaders and managers.

Scroll down to learn more about the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 winners. 

about the Winners

Spring 2024

Distinguished Staff Excellence Award Individual Winner

Matt Semones, Facilities Coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences Facilities

Learn more about Matt

Nominated by Denise Murphy-Rohr, Director of Dance, Theatre and Dance and Franssy Zablah, Assistant Professor, Psychological & Brain Sciences
with support from:
Steve Tague, Interim Chair of Theatre and Dance
Andrea Stevens, Operations Advisor, Arts & Sciences

“I have seen Matt in various roles and can attest that he has been an invaluable asset to the CAS Facilities Team, and all of CAS, in supporting UD’s focus on service, community and innovation. In Matt’s role, he provides exemplary service, prompt responsiveness and thorough communication to the 20+ departments and units across 15+ buildings assigned to him. He also supports his fellow teammates to serve their buildings, pitching in wherever is needed. This has been especially true this winter and spring when one team member had a serious injury and was out of the office for some time. Matt came in on weekends and snow days to get the job done. Because of Matt’s spirit of camaraderie and willingness to help, he maintained such excellent service levels to these departments that most people did not even realize that his teammate was away.” –Andrea Stevens

Specific work has included:

  • Coordinated the move of the dance minor program into Hartshorn Hall from its rented home on Main St. This involved significant updates to existing spaces in Hartshorn Hall, the logistical coordination of new materials from ordering and purchasing to scheduling and delivery to installation and the physical move of objects from one building to another.
  • Key player in the relocation of the Psychological and Brain Sciences (ICMH-C project) to STAR Tower in February 2023 with the goal of developing an integrated behavioral health clinic which will significantly expand services and create strong partnerships with other CHS clinics to meet the diverse needs of the community serviced in the clinics. Matt has been a key player in our clinic move and expansion. His involvement in the ICMH-C project is a perfect example of how he embodies the Blue Hen spirit!
  • His management of the move of the Department of Dance out of a leased property resulted in a combined savings of more than $500,000 over the next five years for the College. He will contribute to additional leased space vacancies over the next three years for a savings of an additional $1M+. He coordinated innovative renovations to Hartshorn Hall that reimagined the efficiency of the space and combined the Department of Theatre and Dance under one roof. As a result, Hartshorn Hall will have 60 class meetings per week in the building for the fall 2024 semester, up 600% from the number in fall 2023.
  • The work with the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies has contributed to large growth within that department as well and his move of the Department of Africana Studies into Memorial Hall has created opportunities for synergy between that department and the Department of English. Delivering on UD’s strategic pillar of: “Reimagining Intellectual & Physical Capital for a Sustainable & Boundless Campus."

Spring 2024

Distinguished Innovation Award Winner

Alice Moore, Protection of Minors Program Coordinator, Office of Equity and Inclusion 

Learn more about Alice

Nominated By Dawn Floyd, Director and University Title IX Coordinator 
with support from: 
Melissa McDerby, Administrative Assistant IV, Office of Equity and Inclusion 

  • “Alice embodies UD values in all she does and is a shining example of innovation and excellence. Alice has built UD’s protection of minors’ program from the ground-up, which is a campus-wide program with a reach far greater than most realize. Each year, Alice works tirelessly to ensure the safety and protection of thousands of youth participating in hundreds of programs occurring on the UD campus and at off-campus, UD-sponsored events and activities.” –Dawn Floyd
  • The UD Protection of Minors system allows for collaboration between our office [Institutional Equity], HR and departments across campus who work with minors to ensure programs are registered and staff and adults working with those minors have background checks and are properly trained. This year the Protection of Minors program has reached a record-high number of 300 registered programs serving 21,000 minors on campus.”  –Melissa McDerby

  • [Alice] helped to create a better system for ensuring the program directors and campus counselors are appropriately trained as Campus Security Authorities. “Our collaboration [UDPD and OIE] on this project ensures compliance as it relates to Clery and the Protection of Minors and is a solid tool to ensure that all persons working with minors are properly trained as Campus Security Authorities and understand their reporting responsibilities. This work took around 6 months of back and forth between all stakeholders and shows Alice’s unwavering commitment to keeping minors on campus safe.”  –Sherita Kennedy

Spring 2024

Distinguished Community Advocate Award Individual Winner

Albert “Larry” Armstrong, Webb Farm Manager, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources 

Learn more about Larry

Nominated By: Lesa Griffiths, Professor, Animal and Food Sciences 
with support from:  
Susan Gary, Kent County Extension Director 
Amy Biddle, Associate Professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences

About the Webb Farm: Webb Farm | College of Agriculture and Natural Resources | University of Delaware (


“The Webb Farm is a working farm and the largest classroom on campus, offering opportunities for students to work directly with three species of livestock through classes, independent study, summer internships and research. Eighteen classes (roughly 750 students) each year utilize the Webb Farm for labs, demonstrations and specialized training.  [Larry] devotes countless weekend and evening hours to animal care, student projects, club activities and laboratory courses.” –Amy Biddle 


Specific work has included:

  • Collaboration with UD Cooperative Extension to support community outreach and engagement.

  • Commitment to diversity, equity and interdisciplinary teaching. Strong leadership through the establishment of a new Equine Therapeutics Center set to offer its first “Introduction to Equine Therapeutics” classes this Fall at the Webb Farm.

  • Implementation of sustainability best practices like no-till planting, pasture rotation and the establishment of a riparian zone.

  • Commitment to student success that has inspired prospective and current students to pursue their passions in Pre-Vet and Animal Science degrees.  


Spring 2024

Distinguished Staff Excellence Team Award Winners

DELCAT Implementation Team, Library, Museums and Press 

Learn more about the team
  • Sebastian Derry, Library Department Head II 
  • Derek Dolby, Associate Librarian 
  • Stephen Erickson, Electronic Resources Manager 
  • Megan Gaffney, Library Department Head II 
  • Jennifer MacDonald, Library Department Head II 
  • Mark Grabowski, Director, Computing Ops 

Nominated by Trevor A Dawes, Vice Provost, Library, Museums and Press 

  • “The DELCAT Implementation Team was charged with the migration from OCLC Worldshare Management System to ExLibris Alma, an integrated library management system that supports the tasks necessary to operate the library. Over an 18-month migration period, in addition to their regular jobs, [the DELCAT implementation team] used their expertise to present the UD community of library users with this innovative system that offers enhanced, customizable search capabilities, a more intuitive user interface and better visibility and discovery of our collections and resources. This new system gave us access to analytics, allowing the department to make data-informed decisions. 

"This complex migration reimagined intellectual capital and expanded student access and success. The team improved the process on the back end and front end of the system to have seamless discovery and accurate information provided for the betterment of UD and researchers using our catalog.” –Trevor A Dawes

The impact of this work:

  • A Library catalog is an integral part of Library services; a way to look up titles, topics, etc. to find materials for research, learning and teaching. Using DELCAT, researchers from around the world can discover resources found at the University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press. 

  • The catalog aids academic research by providing access to a wide array of scholarly resources. Students and faculty can find relevant materials for assignments, papers and research projects,  enhancing the quality and depth of academic work.

  • A comprehensive catalog encourages interdisciplinary learning by offering resources from various fields of study. This exposure to diverse materials fosters a broader understanding and exploration of different subjects and perspectives. 

  • Online catalogs are invaluable for distance learners who may not have physical access to the library. They provide equal access to resources, enabling remote students to engage in research and learning activities as if they were on campus.

Specific work on this project included:

  • Prepared to cleanup existing collection and people data in the system, reviewed all related policies for configuration in the new system and served as liaisons to the vendor during the migration.

  • Developed a continuity processes for the migration and made decisions that impact how the campus community discovers our resources in this system and accounts for the acquisition of these resources.


Fall 2023

Distinguished Staff Excellence Award Team Winners

Student Life Financial Operations Team

Learn about the team

Congratulations to: 

  • Karen Beeson, Sr Business Administrator
  • Debbie Rhodunda, Sr Business Administrator  
  • Lori Hill, Sr Business Administrator
  • Katie Gibson, Business Administrator II

Nominated by Laura Gleason, Business Officer, Student Life

“This team has played a key role in implementing the first-ever integrated financial operations in Student Life, a division with 220+ full-time employees and 15 diverse departments. Beyond partnerships and collaboration within the division, this team has a broad reach across the institution, extending efforts across many areas."

Specific work has included:

  • Responsibility Matrix to define new roles and responsibilities for Student Life departments and the financial operations team.
  • Creating the New Employee Financial Responsibilities Checklist and corresponding procedures to ensure all new employees receive appropriate financials training and access.
  • Creating procedures and resources for the first Strategic Staffing Review Committee, which reviews all hiring requests to improve transparency, manage costs, and create efficiencies across the division.
  • Partnerships: partnering with IT for the division’s first Dell bulk purchase--implementing new processes, creating efficiencies and saving $5,600+ in the first year; partnering with FREAS to create a more efficient process for Aramark Donations-in-Kind requests to help improve the student experience; implementing a more efficient, automated process for requesting, tracking and reporting to DAR on annual utilization of Parents Fund support; and creating a new Student Life budget structure to simplify the Student Life/DIARS annual NCAA reporting process.

Fall 2023

Community Advocate Excellence Award Winner

Corrie Schmitt, Care Coordinator, Center for Counseling and Student Development

Learn more about Corrie

Nominated by Cynthia Diefenbeck, Director, Center for Counseling and Student Development

“She is the glue that connects CCSD with all of our campus partners and community providers. With her impeccable referral navigation services, students have a seamless care experience both on- and off-campus.”

  • Corrie has single-handedly transformed how students connect with services at CCSD by designing an innovative care management system that prevents students from falling through the cracks. 
  • Since starting at UD in late August 2022, Corrie has single-handedly assisted nearly 600 students connect with resources across campus and in the local community. Corrie conducted nearly 1,300 individual meetings with students across all sectors of campus–undergrad and graduate, domestic and international.
  • Corrie serves as Outreach Coordinator and helps ensure CCSD is present at campus events and able to show-up for our stakeholders. Corrie tracks our involvement and volunteers for mental health-related outreaches above and beyond her assigned responsibilities–both during and after hours and weekends. In addition to Care Coordination, Corrie brings to UD a wealth of expertise in critical incident stress debriefing as a former Victim’s Advocate for the State of Delaware which...she has been called upon to use multiple times since her hiring to assist in supporting the UD community through crisis.

Fall 2023

Distinguished Staff Excellence Award Individual Winner

Jeanine Feltner, Academic Program Coordinator, Anthropology

Learn more about Jeanine

Nominated by Peter Benson, Department Chair, Anthropology with support from Jennifer Trivedi, Asst. Professor, Anthropology

“More than just doing an excellent job in [her] role, she has quickly become the most essential and influential part of our concerted efforts to (in the words of the UD and CAS strategic plans) "improve student experience," "lead the way in student learning and engagement," and "develop and diversify faculty, staff and students... We have increased the number of anthropology majors by 25% in the two semesters since her hire!" 

Specific work has included:

  • Redesign of Anthropology Blue & Golden Days display with special attention to increasing diverse representation of research, teaching and student demographics.
  • Helped the chair systematically review and revise all of Anthropology's course titles, course descriptions, and curricular attributes—a monumental logistical undertaking that was critical for refreshing and innovating our academic program.
  • Jeanine coordinated all elements of a major, weeklong Fall-semester event focused on improving undergraduate student professionalization and career training in anthropology. This event has now rolled over into an additional phase in which our department is part of a pilot program of the Career Center looking at new networking and career search possibilities for UD undergraduates.
  • Standardized our office functions and filing systems on a shared Google Drive (using Docs, Forms, and Sheets) to facilitate communications and procedures within the anthropology department.
  • Created a Gantt chart that details all department processes to enhance workflow among staff and the chair and improve outcomes for students and faculty.
  • Leveraging her own UD art degree, Jeanine decorated our space with anthropological art, gallery-style informational placards, and new displays showcasing student and faculty achievements...She routinely immerses herself in department culture and programming, setting a new standard for how logistical and intellectual work can be merged and highlighting the critical role that staff play in the university mission.
  • When we installed the HT94 art installation in Munroe Hall, the work came with several important parts, including logistics of arranging the space, providing food for students, staff, faculty and community members who were participating, and actively installing the work. The art installation has been one of the most successful programs in department history, garnering widespread community participation and important recognition by the UD and CAS Comms teams. Jeanine’s leadership, coordination and immersive learning were essential for the program’s success. 

Fall 2023

Innovation Excellence Award Winners

Interdisciplinary Science Learning Labs, Integrated Teaching Team

Learn more about the team
  • Pamela Mosley, Prog Mgr, Interdiscipl Science
  • Ginu Thomas, Preceptor
  • Christopher Presloid, Preceptor
  • Millicent Murray, Academic Program Coordinator
  • Connor Duroe, Sr Lab Technician
  • Alexandra Coombs, Sr Lab Technician
  • Nathan Uhlmann, Lab Manager
  • Shiyao Liu, Preceptor

Nominated by Jordan Mohr, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

With support from Donna Woulfe, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

“The staff members of the ISLL integrated teaching team oversee and develop the integrated biology and chemistry laboratories and curricula. This team leverages its multi-disciplinary skills to create a laboratory that is not possible in other units of the University. They have made it their personal missions to deliver a modern lab experience using evidence-based pedagogies to first year students in the most formative time of their college experience.”

  • The collaborative ability of preceptors and lab staff to iteratively develop updated versions of these laboratories throughout the year is critical for ensuring lab curricula that are relevant and use the latest techniques for our students.
  • Innovative lab designs have included:
    • testing the efficacy of sunscreens in protecting yeast from UV radiation
    • studying and characterizing local aquatic ecosystems with multi-week field testing
    • synthesizing biofuels
    • characterizing plant transpiration in a local pest flora
  • As an example of their success, two students from the Honors iBC course sequence have presented posters at local conferences on the results of their Biofuels laboratory in the last year. This level of integration would not be possible without a collaborative team-teaching approach.

Award Categories

$2,000 Award

Recognizes an individual staff member for consistent excellence, exceptional performance and service to UD, with outstanding contributions to the university in one or more of the following areas of focus: Student Success, Diversity and Inclusion, Community, Service, Innovation.

The nominee: 

  • Embodies the UD values in their daily work and social interactions.

  • Makes outstanding contributions towards improving a process or procedure or completing a complex project or solving a complex problem for the betterment of the unit/college/university.  

  • Demonstrates dedication to cultivating and applying their professional knowledge and expertise in ways that positively impact the mission and/or strategic pillars of UD.

  • Fosters a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

$4,000 Award
to be divided between named contributors

Recognizes a team of employees who exemplify cooperation and collaboration with outstanding contributions to the university in one or more of the following areas of focus: Academic Freedom, Diversity and Inclusion, Community, Service, Innovation.

The nominated team: 

  • Embodies the UD values in their daily work and social interactions.

  • Extends their efforts across multiple UD departments, units, or entities 

  • Achieves results which impact a large constituency of UD employees, students and/or community members

  • Makes outstanding contributions towards improving a process or procedure or completing a complex project or solving a complex problem for the betterment of the unit/college/university. 

  • Demonstrates dedication to cultivating and applying their professional knowledge and expertise in ways that positively impact the mission and/or strategic pillars of UD.

  • Fosters a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

$2,000 Award

Recognizes an individual staff member who is committed to creating a workplace culture of belonging by advocating for everyone's voice to be heard, while demonstrating enthusiasm and optimism to create a positive, inclusive, and supportive work environment for the UD community. 

The nominee: 

  • Demonstrates an outstanding commitment to creating a culture of inclusion within their areas of influence and advocates for diversity and inclusion at the interpersonal, unit and institutional level. 

  • Demonstrates an authentic and empathetic understanding and consideration of the differing perspectives, needs and concerns of individuals with varying identities, cultures, beliefs, traditions, abilities and backgrounds.

  • Establishes relationships both internally and across university units; serves as a mentor; serves on college/dept and/or University committee memberships or service.

  • Leads with enthusiasm; fosters respectful & cooperative work climate; demonstrates accountability; makes ethical decisions.

  • Coalesces people around institutional goals.

  • Recognizes potential within others; values other’s opinions; practices active listening; provides support and guidance to those around them to help make work life better.

$2,000 Award
to be divided between named contributors

Recognizes an individual staff member or team that demonstrates the development of creative and innovative solutions to difficult challenges and applies entrepreneurial thought and approaches in everything they do.

The individual nominee or team: 

  • Encourages novel approaches to complex challenges.

  • Supports collaboration and deep engagement within the University and with external partners.

  • Contributes to the overall effectiveness and value of the department/unit/team by recommending and developing innovative approaches and solutions.

  • Uses a unique approach or new solution to create a beneficial outcome. 

  • Uses a new process, technology, or methodology that positively affects the outcome of a task, event, project or gift. 

  • Takes on new initiatives and recommends solutions for the betterment of the team, unit, department, or UD.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • University of Delaware full-time staff who have completed at least one year of consecutive employment
  • Nominees must be found to be in good standing as confirmed by Human Resources
  • Staff are eligible to win one award per lifetime of service​
  • Recognition Committee members are not eligible to win or must recuse themselves from the review process​


  • Faculty, misc-wage staff and student workers are not eligible to win staff excellence awards

Team Awards

  • Working groups of two or more benefitted staff employees are eligible for any team excellence awards. This may include organizational units, departments and teams who work collaboratively toward common goals. 
  • Monetary prizes will be distributed equally across team contributors as defined during the nomination and selection process by UD Human Resources and the Staff Excellence Award Committee.



Any UD faculty member, staff or student may nominate an individual or team for a Staff Excellence Award. Nominations are accepted in the Fall and Spring to recognize work completed within one year of the award period.

Nominations may be submitted via UD Service Portal form with the below information:

  • Your name (the nominator) and department
  • Name of individual or team + individual contributors being nominated    
  • Name of award type
    • Distinguished Staff Excellence
    • Innovation Excellence
    • Community Advocate Excellence    
  • Your relationship to the nominee
  • 250-500 word description of why the individual or team should be considered for award. Compelling nominations will effectively tie the nominee's work to award definitions and UD values with clear examples.
  • 250-500 word description of how the nominee's work has impacted the UD community.  
  • The names of up to three additional supporters (optional)

Writing tips

Submit a nomination


A committee of UD employees reviews nominations and supplemental support using a rubric-style grading system. The top 5 candidates for each award category will be confirmed to be in "good standing" by Human Resources, and advance to final selection process based on rubric scores.

A committee chairperson will oversee selection process, review conflicts of interest, and communicate decisions to Human Resources for award distribution and recognition. In the case of too few nominations, or if nominees do not meet award criteria, the selection committee may use their discretion to declare no winner for an award category.

  • If you've received an email notification with the subject line "You are an additional supporter", you have been invited by a nominator to submit written support of a Staff Excellence Award nominee.
  • The email notification will include links to award definitions, writing tips and instructions for submission.
  • To submit, support materials:
    • Reply directly to the service ticket email notification with 250-500 words of detailed evidence that ties the nominee's work to award criteria. Please submit the email by the nomination deadline.
    • Support may also be attached and emailed in the form of PDF or Word Document.
    • Support may be attached directly to the service ticket in TDNext.

If you have not been invited to submit support via email, individuals may also opt to complete a separate nomination form for a candidate. Nominations for the same individual or team will be combined and scored together. The total number of nominations is not a substitute for high quality evidence and support.