our common ground stones in front of davis center

The annual President’s Our Common Ground Staff Award recognizes six members (up to 12 in 2021) of the University of Vermont staff who exemplify the qualities of the University of Vermont’s Our Common Ground, the statement of aspirations and shared values for the UVM Community. The President’s Our Common Ground Staff Award will be presented to University of Vermont staff members who have made extraordinary contributions and who have had a significant impact on our University, as demonstrated through the values expressed in Our Common Ground. The award is designed to acknowledge exceptional contributions by the individuals who are recognized by other members of the University community as true exemplars of the values reflected in the University of Vermont’s Our Common Ground:

University of Vermont Our Common Ground

We aspire to be a Community that values:

RESPECT. We respect each other. We listen to each other, encourage each other, and care about each other. We are strengthened by our diverse perspectives.

INTEGRITY. We value fairness, straightforward conduct, adherence to the facts, and sincerity. We acknowledge when things have not turned out the way we had hoped. As stewards of the University of Vermont, we are honest and ethical in all responsibilities entrusted to us.

INNOVATION. We want to be at the forefront of change and believe that the best way to lead is to learn from our successes and mistakes and continue to grow. We are forward-looking and break new ground in addressing important community and societal needs.

OPENNESS. We encourage the open exchange of information and ideas from all quarters of the community. We believe that through collaboration and participation, each of us has an important role in determining the direction and well-being of our community.

JUSTICE. As a just community, we unite against all forms of injustice, including, but not limited to, racism. We reject bigotry, oppression, degradation, and harassment, and we challenge injustice toward any member of our community.

RESPONSIBILITY. We are personally and collectively responsible for our words and deeds. We stand together to uphold Our Common Ground.

Each recipient will receive a $1,000 prize, and will be recognized on a plaque in the Waterman Building.


Nominees for the President’s Our Common Ground Staff Award are recognized for their sustained and exceptional fulfillment and expression of the values contained in the University of Vermont’s Our Common Ground. It is expected that nominees will excel in many of the values of Our Common Ground and reflect the totality of the values and aspirations expressed in the statement. The award recognizes a commitment to the values of Our Common Ground rather than a specific act or achievement.

Nominees for the President’s Our Common Ground Staff Award must be current, regular, on-going staff members (full time, part time, represented or non-represented) in good standing, who have worked at the University of Vermont for more than three years. Temporary employees, student employees, post doctoral fellows and associates, faculty members, and previous recipients within the last five years are not eligible for consideration.

President's Our Common Ground Staff Award Committee

The Awards Committee will be made up of one staff member from each college and school nominated by the Dean (College of Arts and Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Education and Social Services, Larner College of Medicine, College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Grossman School of Business, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, Libraries, Honors College, Graduate College, and Continuing and Distance Education) and one staff member from each administrative unit appointed by the senior officer for the unit (University Communications, Finance and Administration, Enterprise Technology Services, Research, Operations and Public Safety, Athletics, three from the Provost’s Office representing the Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion areas, President’s Office), two undergraduates nominated by the Student Government Association, and two graduate students nominated by the Graduate Student Senate. Committee members each serve for a three-year, staggered term (with the exception of the undergraduate and graduate students, who serve for one year) and are eligible for reappointment to a second term.  Deans and senior officers are encouraged to consider nominating previous award recipients. The University President appoints the Committee from the nominations received.

The President of the Staff Council will be a member of the Committee and serve as the Committee Chair. The Committee recommends candidates for the President’s Our Common Ground Award to the University President, who will make the final decision on award recipients.

Members of the Committee may nominate individuals and/or provide letters of support; however, they will be asked to recuse themselves from deliberations on these individuals. During their service on the Committee, members may not be nominated.

Nomination Process

Any member of the University of Vermont Community (faculty, staff, and students) may nominate staff members for the President’s Our Common Ground Staff Award. Staff members may self-nominate. The nominator should submit a letter explaining the qualifications of the nominee and a description of how the nominee exemplifies the values expressed in the Our Common Ground statement. The nominator must secure a letter of support from the person to whom the nominee reports to demonstrate support of the nomination. Additionally, the nominator must secure up to three additional letters of support addressing the nominee’s qualifications. At least one support letter must be from outside the staff member’s home college, school or administrative unit.

Nominations should be submitted to Sarah Hennessy, Human Resources Strategic Project Manager, at Sarah.Hennessy@uvm.edu.

At the conclusion of the selection process and as part of recognizing employees, the nominees (both those selected and those not selected) will be presented copies of the nomination letter and supporting documents.


Call for nominations sent to UVM Community: July 6, 2023

Deadline for nominations: August 4, 2023

Recipients announced: August 2023

Awards Breakfast to take place on Thursday, September 14, 2023