Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion

DEADLINE EXTENSION! The call for nominees is open and the selection committee is accepting nominations through March 1, 2023. Note: previously declined Opperman Award nominations can be resubmitted, with updates as appropriate.

  • Download the cover sheet (see below under "Nominations" for downloadable/fillable PDF)
  • Submit your nomination online here

The Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion will be given up to two times a calendar year by the Employee Assembly to an employee who consistently demonstrates their commitment to encouraging and supporting staff integrity and inclusion. Award recipients will be recognized at an EA recognition event and will receive a monetary award funded through the Office of the President.


All exempt and non-exempt Cornell Staff members are eligible for consideration for this award. Nominations can be submitted by any Cornell employee (staff, faculty, or academic professional).


Any employee wishing to nominate a colleague should have direct experience with the nominee and must submit a completed nomination packet. The nomination packet is a single PDF document consisting of:

  • Cover sheet
  • Nomination letter explaining why the nominee deserves the award by providing answers to the questions below, citing relevant criteria and examples wherever possible. This can be co-signed by multiple employees.
    • How does the nominee foster a positive environment where staff at all levels know they are valued and appreciated contributors to Cornell and its mission?
    • How does the nominee's personal moral principles coincide with the University's vision?
    • Hows does this nominee demonstrate high standards of personal conduct, honesty, and trustworthy behavior?
    • How does the nominee show their commitment to encouraging, advocating for, and supporting staff excellence through promoting developmental opportunities, supporting flexible work arrangements, and/or advocating for a work/life balance?
    • What examples can be provided to show how this nominee views changes or challenges as opportunities and helps others to see things from that perspective?
  • At least one (1), and up to three (3), brief letters of support from other members of the Cornell community (direct supervisor, staff, faculty, students, administrators, alumni)

Selection Criteria

Nominees must have a demonstrable history at Cornell of: 

  • Communicating between differences in order to build a collaborative, inclusive, and respectful community that engages everyone, no matter their background.
  • Consistent strong moral principles that coincide with the University's vision.
  • Adhering to high standards of personal conduct while acting in an honest and trustworthy manner.
  • Demonstrating commitment to encouraging, advocating for, and supporting staff excellence with leadership, while being an advocate for work/life balance, flexible work arrangements, and promoting developmental opportunities.
  • Having a consistent, positive attitude that sees changes or challenges as opportunities and helps others to see things from that perspective

Please review the scoring rubric for details and examples.

Selection Process:

  1. The Staff Recognition and Awards Sub-Committee (SRAC) members will use the approved rubric to grade each nominee and then submit the top three highest ranking nominees to the SRAC chair.
  2. SRAC chair and the Events and Outreach Manager for HR or a designee from Human Resources will review and compile all the nomination votes to determine the top three candidates.
  3. SARC chair will share the top three candidates with the CORC Chair to share with CORC members prior to next CORC meeting.
  4. The CORC will cast a final vote of the top three candidates at the next CORC meeting.
  5. University Human Resources will review the final candidate in the same process as the George Peter Award and President's Excellence Award.
  6. Once the final candidate has been vetted and approved by HR, the SRAC chair will notify the nominee's supervisor.
  7. After approval is received from the nominee's supervisor, SRAC chair will notify the nominator and then the nominee of the award.
  8. If desired by the nominee's supervisor, the SRAC will coordinate and execute the recognition event with the nominee's supervisor and Vice President Lovely's office.

If you have any questions about the award and the process for nominations, please contact the chair of the Employee Assembly Communications, Outreach & Recognition Committee at or, for technical difficulties, contact the Office of the Assemblies at or (607) 255-3715.


In 2013, the Employee Assembly established the Opperman Award to extend their appreciation and gratitude to Vice President of Human Resources and Safety Services, Mary George Opperman, for fostering a positive environment where staff are valued contributors to the campus community and its mission. Furthermore, VP Opperman has supported the engagement and inclusion of staff across campus in response to the Employee Engagement Survey, fostering an environment where employees can express their opinions and share experiences while working to create recommendations on core issues of concern discovered in the survey. Therefore, the Employee Assembly passed Resolution 5 on May 31, 2013, to publicly recognize VP Opperman and her continued efforts in creating a culture that allows staff to thrive at home and in the workplace. 

In 2021, the Employee Assembly Communications, Outreach and Recognition Committee (CORC) launched the new Award for Staff Integrity and Inclusion in place of the Opperman Award for Staff Advocacy per resolution EA R10: Revision and Renaming of The Opperman Award.

Since its inception, the Opperman Award has been received by two employees who have gone above and beyond to be exemplars of the University's missions and core values (See Past Recipients).