Student Affairs Awards

Student Affairs Awards and Accolades

Student Affairs celebrates and reflects upon the great work of its professionals and campus partnerships each academic year through four distinct award categories. Student Affairs recipients will receive $1,000 to support their professional development in the 2024–25 academic year.

Award Descriptions and Criteria

The following awards and accolades are designed to recognize colleagues within Student Affairs as well as across campus and community who are contributing with distinction. Beyond the awards, the accolades include Student Affairs years of service and honoring the recognition colleagues have received from their professional organizations.

We will award up to two awards per category.

Leadership in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Efforts Award

This recognition will be given to an individual who has demonstrated leadership and courage while initiating, creating and supporting a more socially-just learning and work environment whether through advocacy, lived-experience, role modeling, and speaking truth to power for students and staff, whether within or beyond the scope of current position and responsibilities. Examples of such work include: ensuring inclusive and respectful environments for all people, making others aware of injustices, and advocating on a continuous basis for institutional efforts to address social injustices. The individual should have a clear record of fostering an open, positive, and inclusive campus community. Moreover, the recipient of the award should demonstrate a sense of commitment, spirit, and integrity to diversity, inclusion, and social justice both professionally and personally.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have worked in Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as University or Academic staff for at least one year.

Recipients will be evaluated based on evidence of one or more of the following:

  • Leading efforts within or beyond the scope of one’s position to create and support a socially-just learning and work environment for all.
  • Personally and professional demonstrate a sense of commitment, spirit, and integrity to social justice.
  • Commitment of creating an inclusive and supportive campus climate within primary work and beyond.
  • Increases the consciousness of inequities within policies and/or practices and advocates for positive change to best impact the university’s students, faculty, staff, and greater communities.

Commitment to the Wisconsin Experience Award

Dr. Lori Berquam, former Dean of Students, was a champion for the development of and a devotee to amplifying the Wisconsin Experience as an integral element for each student while at UW. This award, as part of her legacy, extends that investment and recognizes champions who have used their work at UW-Madison to have a positive and significant impact within the student community. This work may be demonstrated through a variety of contexts, which may include but are not limited to, the quality and depth of their efforts to bring together campus and the communities within it. Specifically, the Wisconsin Experience is characterized by close integration of in- and out-of-class experiences; by active, creative and entrepreneurial engagement in real-world problems; and by offering students leadership in their learning.

The Wisconsin Experience comprises the following inquiry-based, high-impact practices:

Empathy and Humility

  • Develop and demonstrate cultural understanding of self and others
  • Engage locally, nationally, and globally in a respectful and civil manner
  • Appreciate and celebrate one another’s abilities, view, and accomplishments

Relentless Curiosity

  • Actively learn with expert teachers, scholars, and peers
  • Engage in creative inquire, scholarship, and research
  • Develop resilience and foster courage in life and learning

Intellectual Confidence

  • Develop competence, depth, and expertise in a field of study
  • Integrate ideas and synthesize knowledge across multiple contexts
  • Exercise critical thinking and effective communication

Purposeful Action

  • Apply knowledge and skills to solve problems
  • Engage in public service, partner with others, and contribute to community
  • Lead for positive change

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have worked in Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as University or Academic staff for at least one year.

Recipients will be evaluated based on evidence of one or more of the following:

  • Leadership or performance which greatly contributed to students’ experience in one or more of the four components of the Wisconsin Experience.
  • Providing unique activities to bring together in- and out-of-class experiences.
  • Encouraging students to focus and act on real-world problems.
  • Development of unique programs and services that promote the Wisconsin Experience.
  • Deepening student reflection on and integration of their many experiences.
  • Exemplary service to and impact on a community whether that be through committee service, professional organization roles, projects, initiatives, etc.
  • Collaboration with others in Madison, across the state, nation, or internationally.
  • Commitment to and contributions toward the professional development of others.

Outstanding New Professional Award

This award recognizes a Student Affairs member who has made outstanding contributions to their division and the community during the early years of one’s career. Contribution may be to the university, division, or through direct activities as a part of their normal employment. These activities must show innovation, reflect foresight, and display promise that the individual has the unique quality to positively impact the student experience.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have worked in Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin‐Madison as University or Academic staff for 0‐3 years.

Recipients will be evaluated based on evidence of one or more of the following:

  • Demonstrated commitment to Student Affairs.
  • Engaged within their department on extensive collaboration to improve student outcomes.
  • Innovative contributions to the individual’s department with preference to those whose impact stretches beyond their department.


Student Affairs Partner Award

Our highest level of impact comes when we work together. Staying in silos will never allow us to positively impact campus life in the way we desire.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Any person, department, unit, division that has worked and/or collaborated with Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Nominators are encouraged to think beyond Student Affairs, deference may be given to individuals, departments, units, divisions, etc., outside Student Affairs.

Recipients will be evaluated based on evidence of one or more of the following:

  • Built and sustained a strong partnership between own areas of work and within Student Affairs.
  • A realization that “how” they do their work is often more important than “what” they do.
  • Commitment to help personalize and humanize an often complex and overwhelming University to make the campus more centralized and have an at home feel.
  • Advances the mission of the Student Affairs through the service of various programs and initiatives for the development of students’ learning

Note: $1,000 to support professional development are designated for Student Affairs employees only

Review and Selection Process

The Student Affairs Professional Development Committee (SAPDC) will review nominations for the three award categories and submit award recipient recommendations to the Student Affairs Cabinet. If applicable, an SAPDC member will recuse themselves from reviewing an award category in which they are nominated. Each of the Student Affairs areas — Health and Wellbeing, Identity and Inclusion, Leadership and Engagement, and Student Advocacy  are represented on the SAPDC.

SAPDC recommendations will be submitted to SAPDC’s Student Affairs Cabinet sponsor, Dean of Students Christina Olstad. Student Affairs Cabinet will make the final award recipient selections.

If you have any questions about the process or eligibility, please reach out to SAPDC Chairs Warren Scherer or Luke Thompson.

Past Awards Recipients