January 16, 2014

The Human Resources Advisory Group has begun taking nominations for the new Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Staff Member(s), approved by the WPI Board of Trustees at their October meeting.

The initial winner(s) of the award, given “in recognition of outstanding work and dedication by a member of the staff in support of the mission of Worcester Polytechnic Institute,” will be announced in the spring. It includes an honorarium of $1,500 and can be conferred on up to two recipients each year.

The award stems directly from the employee recognition subcommittee of the HR Advisory Group. Although there are other opportunities to acknowledge staff contributions, such as the Spot awards and long-term service awards, “it became glaringly obvious that there was nothing formal for staff” similar to the trustees’ awards for faculty research and teaching, says Tracy Hassett, vice president of human resources.

The subcommittee, composed of both faculty members and staff, “looked at what other institutions did and put together an outline,” she says. “I had the easy job of just going to the trustees to support it.”

When she did so in October, “the trustees were absolutely thrilled” to endorse the proposal, she says.

To be eligible for consideration, either full- or part-time employees must have been at WPI in a permanent position for a minimum of one year. In addition, they must satisfy some or all of the following qualifications:

  • Demonstrate a passion for WPI, its students, faculty, fellow staff members, history, and traditions
  • Be an outstanding performer, often delivering beyond the expected
  • Exhibit creativity in problem solving
  • Build community and strengthen relationships
  • Exemplify the principles of WPI’s desired climate and culture
  • Inspire others with a great attitude and daily behavior and have a positive impact on the WPI community

Nominations should be submitted to the Human Resources Advisory Group (human-resources@wpi.edu), which will review them and make recommendations. Hassett will then bring the recommendations to the trustees to determine the recipients.

In the initial proposal, she notes, “We decided to go big and ask for permission to give out two awards if there were people who were worthy. Some years we may do none; some years we may do one and some years two.”

Nominations for this year’s award will be accepted through February 7, and packets are already arriving in the HR Office. The winners will be acknowledged at the Town Hall Meeting in the spring and, along with faculty recipients of trustee awards, invited to the Friday night trustees’ dinner in May.

“We have worked very hard to make the culture and climate at WPI one where people look forward to coming to work,” says Hassett. “This is another opportunity for us to do that.

By Laura Porter