Each year the Division of Student Life recognizes select staff members and campus partners for excellence in their fields and transformational impact on the student experience. This year, the awards celebration was held on Friday, May 19, 2023, on the UT Knoxville campus.
“Staff across the division worked tirelessly this past year to support and serve students and the division,” says Frank Cuevas, vice chancellor for student life. “Every year, we come together to recognize the exceptional work of staff that step forward to help our students learn, lead and serve. From new staff members to seasoned professionals with a decades-long career of service to students, I am proud to celebrate their accomplishments and service to our students and the division.”
Award winners were nominated by colleagues and determined by two Student Life committees: the Staff Engagement and Development Committee and the Inclusive Excellence Committee.
The 2023 Student Life Staff Awards presented are listed below.
Collaborative Program of the Year Award: Vols Walk for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a collaboration between the Center for Health Education and Wellness and the Office of Title IX. The Collaborative Program of the Year Award celebrates the impact of an event hosted in conjunction with departments outside of Student Life and/or community partners that provided an opportunity for the UT Knoxville community to engage and learn with one another.
Innovative Program of the Year: Student Conduct and Community Standards VolsGrow Program. The Innovative Program of the Year Award honors excellence in the development and implementation of an original program. Recognized programs demonstrate: the growth of students and enhancement of campus life; and new ideas, methods or programs that result in improved educational activities or services tied to learning outcomes for the campus community. We are excited to present this award to a team of innovative individuals this year.
Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Award: Hannah Stewart, RecSports. The Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Award is given to an individual who embodies the University’s commitment to educate and advocate for the importance of valuing and appreciating difference, similarities, and uniqueness within our community and beyond. This staff member shows a commitment to better understanding their own identities, listening and learning about other identities, taking steps to continue the learning process surrounding topics of diversity and inclusion, and engaging the campus community to become more inclusive and equitable.
Community Service Award: Lindsay Davis, Office of the Dean of Students. The Community Service Award is given to someone who is actively engaged in the Knoxville community, regularly volunteering with local or national organizations, as well as local schools, churches, and more.
Service Excellence Award: Donna Mount, Center for Student Engagement. The Service Excellence Award honors staff members who go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service to all guests of their department.
Friend of the Division Award: Amy Williams, UT Foundation. The Friend of Student Life Award is given to an individual or a department that has gone above and beyond to assist in the work that Student Life does. This friend of Student Life consistently supports the mission and vision of Student Life.
Unsung Hero Award: Amanda Samsel, Student Conduct and Community Standards. This award is given to a staff member who typically does not receive the recognition they deserve for consistently performing their job duties above expectations. This person goes above and beyond without expecting praise.
Graduate Student of the Year: Kenzie Harville, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The Graduate Student of the Year Award recognizes graduate students for their character, service, outstanding contributions to the Division of Student Life, and academic achievements at the University of Tennessee.
New Staff Member of the Year: Natalie Frankl, Jones Center for Leadership and Service. The New Staff Member of the Year Award honors a full-time staff member employed within the Division of Student Life for less than three years. This staff member utilizes creative and innovative leadership to enhance the University community. This person exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and has made significant contributions to the University community through their professional role.
Staff Member of the Year: David Ndiaye, Student Disability Services. The Staff Member of the Year Award honors a full-time staff member employed within the Division of Student Life for 3 or more years. This staff member utilizes creative and innovative leadership to enhance the University community. This person exemplifies an outstanding work ethic and has made significant contributions to the University community through their professional role.
Lifetime Achievement: Karen Buchanan, Student Union. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors staff members who embody what it means to be Vol for Life through a continued commitment to the University of Tennessee and the Division of Student Life. These individuals make our community stronger and reinforce what it means to be a Tennessee Volunteer. Serving 20 or more years at the institution, these individuals are a pillar in the UT Knoxville community.