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Division of Student Affairs
New Brunswick
Awards Recipients

Division of Student Affairs 2022-2023 Awards

The Division of Student Affairs awards and recognition program honors staff members, either individually or in groups, who exemplify the Division’s commitment to student success and operational excellence through a monthly recognition, Knight(s) of the Month, and Annual Employee Awards program. Nominations for the annual awards program may also be submitted for professional recognition at the national level. The award criteria and process for presenting each award type is described below.

2022 -2023 Award Recipients

Campus Partner Award

  • Steve Dubiago, Institutional Planning and Operations
  • Justin Makowski, One Stop Student Service Center
  • Kerry Whitlock, Facilities
  • Mokhtar Ramadan, King Pita Palace

Rising Star Award of Excellence

  • Sabrina Starkman, Counseling, ADAP, and Psychiatric Services

Excellence in Programming Award

  • Jakora Thompson, Paul Robeson Cultural Center
  • Anne Finetto, Recreation

The Assessment, Communication, and Technology Impact Award

  • Dr. Nicole Isaacson, Counseling, ADAP, and Psychiatric Services

Spirit of Community Award

  • Brianna Livelli, Offices of the Dean of Students

Unsung Heroes Award

  • Halil Bektas, Dining Services

McGinty Star Award for Outstanding Service

  • Michael Tolbert, Residence Life


Award Descriptions

McGinty Star Awards for Outstanding Service

This set of awards will recognize employees for outstanding service to the Division of Student Affairs at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. And honor the legacy of Dr. Felicia McGinty, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs from 2013-2018. The following traits epitomize the leadership and accomplishments of Dr. Felicia McGinty: Leads with the heart, inclusion, put students first, and solution-oriented.

Award criteria:

  • Recognition for going above and beyond job expectations.
  • Honors a special, unique, or extraordinary contribution or effort made within the position.
  • Demonstration of strengths in fulfillment of NASPA/ACPA competencies and Outstanding service or contributions related to
    • Personal and Ethical Foundations
    • Values, Philosophy, and History
    • Law, Policy, and Governance
    • Organizational and Human Resource
    • Leadership
    • Social Justice and Inclusion
    • Student Learning and Development
    • Technology
    • Advising and Supporting
  • Significant contributions towards the mission, values, and priorities of the Division of Student Affairs.
  • Characteristics of an employee’s performance that contribute to excellence include superior job performance and a high degree of proficiency in their areas of responsibility; outstanding personal traits such as dedication, honesty, and initiative. This individual incorporates innovation and creativity into their approach to their work and works cooperatively with others.
  • Employee must be in good standing with the University and employed by a department within the Division of Student Affairs
  • Employees at all levels of the organization are eligible for this outstanding service award.

The Assessment, Communications, Technology Impact Award

The Outstanding Assessment, Communications, Technology, and Impact Award is designed to provide recognition to an individual or department who has demonstrated a commitment to leveraging assessment, communication, and technology and can demonstrate a significant impact on the student experience based on the use of assessment, communications, and technology. Recipients of this award will have an opportunity to present at a division event

Award criteria:

  • Excellence in maximizing resources, or increasing efficiency in programs, processes, and services that enhance the student experience
  • Enhance the student experience by addressing identified gaps and needs
  • Positive impact such as cost savings, process efficiency, or effective utilization of resources
  • Demonstrated commitment to utilizing marketing and/or communications to support student success
  • Innovation in marketing and/or communication strategies including but not limited to electronic communication, web development, social media, graphic design, video, photography, branding, and other media to bring awareness to a department, an initiative, or service. Creativity, resourcefulness, and collaboration will all be considered to create a more equitable process.

Unsung Heroes Award

The Unsung Heroes award recognizes employees who contribute in transformational ways to making a difference to the campus community, lives of students, and the Division of Student Affairs. Awardees are recognized for overcoming challenge(s) and adversity through (a) restorative and healing practices and/or (b) an entrepreneurial spirit through innovation, and/or an ethic of tremendous care for others. Common characteristics to describe an unsung hero in Student Affairs include humility, empathy, commitment to community success, the courage to do the right thing, lead with ethics and integrity, and consistent excellence and teamwork.

Spirit of Community Award

Colleagues will nominate Student Affairs staff who foster and strengthen greater connection and investment to our organization and institution. The Spirit of Community award recognizes staff members who demonstrate the meaning, value, and essence of Student Affairs work and spirit.

Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Award

The Excellence in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Award recognizes employee excellence in promoting diversity and inclusion in environments at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Successful initiatives and practices demonstrated by the nominee are (1) thoughtful and innovative in supporting marginalized communities, (2) address the varied and nuanced aspects and dimensions of diversity on campus, (3) challenge and change cultural norms at the university, and (4) addresses systemic and organizational barriers towards equity and inclusion.

Excellence in Programming Award (Individual and Department/Group)

The Excellence in Programming award demonstrates how an individual or department has developed a program that creates, supports, or strengthens an environment of collaboration, communication, and community. This award strives to celebrate innovation in action, not only the creative idea but also the impact that practical application of the idea has made on creativity in the use of resources to include people, budgets, technology, and fiscal and environmental responsibility. A successful nominee will have demonstrated the ability to take the initiative in developing a new or enhancing an existing program to meet the changing needs of the students, Division, or University.

Campus Partner Award

The Campus Partner award honors staff, faculty, or members of the university community for their outstanding collaboration with the Division of Student Affairs. Awardees exemplify the true spirit of a Scarlet Knight and our Student Affairs values. These individuals are the heart of Rutgers University-New Brunswick and a model of institutional pride.

Rising Star Award of Excellence 

The Rising Star Award of Excellence is presented to a graduate student or full-time staff member who has been in the division less than two years and has made a significant impact on student and/or departmental success, established collaborative relationships, and has gone above and beyond expectations in exemplifying Student Affairs values. This individual is a self-starter, works collaboratively with others, navigates organizational culture proficiently and demonstrates a strong appreciation for the field of Student Affairs.