Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award

Chancellor's Distinguished Staff Award Program Procedures


The Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award (CDSA) is designed to recognize outstanding contributions to the work of the University by members of the civil service staff. Nominees are judged on three of five criteria: overall work performance, promoting positive morale, self-improvement, initiative & creativity, and enhancing the image of the department and/or university.


The award criteria were established after a thorough review of past winning nominations. Awards will be given based on the degree to which the nominee meets three of the following criteria:

1. Demonstrates excellence in overall work performance
2. Promotes positive morale through a congenial, supportive attitude and by providing service to others
3. Puts forth an effort to improve self as well as to develop and recognize others
4. Exhibits initiative and creativity resulting in improved operating efficiency of the department and/or University
5. Enhances the image of the department and/or university

These five areas appeared most frequently in nominations of award recipients and are qualities that are valued by the university. Since all employees perform different duties and possess different strengths, nominators will address only three of the five criteria which best showcase the nominee's excellence. All criteria are afforded equal weight in the evaluation process. Examples are given under each criterion on the “2022 CDSA RATING SHEET GUIDE” to clarify what is meant by each criterion and to help nominators determine where specific examples or qualities are included in criteria.  The Rating Guide can be found here.


Eligibility requirements are as follows:
1. Must be a permanent civil service staff employee of either University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (on or off campus) or University Administration on the Urbana-Champaign campus

2. Must have at least two years of service as a permanent civil service staff employee by the nomination deadline

3. Must have a good work record

4. Must have been in a status appointment during the calendar year if retired

Employees who have previously received the award are not eligible. The "Distinguished Staff Hall of Fame," a list of past winners, is displayed on the wall inside of IHR at 52 E Gregory, Champaign, and will be updated yearly.

The Award

Each winner will receive $1,000 (after taxes), a commemorative plaque, and will have his/her name inscribed on a permanent plaque in the Illinois Human Resources office. Winners will also be notified and featured virtually in either a podcast or video.

The maximum number of awards allocated for each employee group will be based on the population of employees assigned to classes in that group as follows:

1 Award Executive/Administrative/Managerial & Professional (EEO Groups 1 & 3)
3 Awards Administrative Support (EEO Group 5)
1 Award Technical & Paraprofessional (EEO Group 4)
1 Award Skilled Crafts (EEO Group 6)
2 Awards Service & Maintenance (EEO Group 7)

Where there are no outstanding candidates in any category, no award will be given.

Nomination Process

Illinois Human Resources will place a nomination form on the web here. Those who are interested in nominating a civil service staff employee should access and submit the form by the published deadline.  If there are questions, please contact email or Cheryl Hahn at (217) 333-3101 or

Nominations may be made by any member of the campus community (staff, faculty, or student). In the event multiple nominations are submitted for one employee, only the first nomination received will be considered for the award. Once semi-finalists are chosen the nominator will be notified. At that time, nominators will be asked to submit at least one, but no more than three, letters of support. A minimum of one of the letters must come from the nominee's current employing unit head or his/her designee. Nominators should have previously received agreement from those who will provide support. The nominating papers for each employee will be placed in his or her official personnel file. The name of the nominator will be released to the nominee on request. All winners will be notified of their nominator.

The nomination form addresses how the nominee meets only three of the five award criteria.

Nominators must provide at least two specific supporting examples under each criterion in addition to a general description of the nominee's characteristics on this criterion.

Selection Committee

A committee appointed by the Chancellor will administer the award program.  A representative from Illinois Human Resources will staff the committee and serve as Program Coordinator. Members of the Selection Committee will not be eligible for the award. The Senior Associate Chancellor for Human Resources and the Chancellor will approve final recipient recommendations.

In addition to selecting finalists for the awards, the selection committee will be responsible for conducting an annual evaluation of the program in order that needed improvements be considered on an annual basis. The committee will also consider ways to encourage stronger participation from deans, directors, department heads, and across all units.

Nominees will be categorized according to job groups and will be judged in comparison to their peers in the award category. Examples and achievements will only be considered if they are related to work in the department and/or at the university. There will be two rounds in the evaluation process. In the first round, each committee member will use a point scale to rate the nominees on the three criteria which were addressed. These ratings will be totaled to get a total score, which is then compared to others in the award category. According to the distribution of scores, a cut-off score will be set and nominees above the cut-off become finalists. After letters of recommendation are gathered, round two will begin. For round two, a ranking system will be used. All committee members will rank finalists in each award category from 6 (highest) to 1 (lowest). The nominee with the highest total sum of rankings will win in the award category.