Ohio State & Wexner Medical Center faculty and staff at the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Awards luncheon held on April 27 at the Longaberger Alumni House. Credit: Courtesy of Tami Jones

As the semester comes to an end, many students prepare for finals week and leaving campus for the summer. But as students’ workload begins to lighten up, the faculty and staff at Ohio State have a busy few weeks ahead of them.

With finals approaching, the Ohio State Human Resources department looks to reward those who enhance the quality of work, make a significant difference, and provide service with the Distinguished Staff Awards (DSA).

“We want to recognize and appreciate those who work hard for Ohio State,” Tami Jones, senior director of human resources, said. “Rather they are here on the Columbus campus, a regional campus or work at the Wexner Medical Center.”

The Distinguished Staff Award is the highest honor bestowed upon staff at the university since its inception in 1984, according to Jones.

“Human Resources is proud to be a supporter of those who take their time to do their best, no matter what field,” said Michele Bondurant, program manager of Human Resources.

Recipients are honored at an annual luncheon and will receive a $1,500 cash award with a $700 base salary increase as well as a trophy. They will also be recognized by fellow employees, deans, and even President Michael Drake.

Winning this award can be very humbling for those involved and can eventually lead to a position on the Distinguished Staff Awards committee.

Lori Abshire, senior director of marketing at teh Wexner Medical Center, and both a prior recipient of the Distinguished Staff Award as well as a current chair of the DSA selection committee spoke on the feeling of not only winning the award but also presenting and letting others know of their nomination.

“It’s overwhelming somewhat,” she said about winning and being nominated for a DSA.

“The first thing you almost think about is all the hard work you put in but also about how great your team/staff is around you,” Abshire said. “When I was presented the award, it wasn’t only for me but for my entire department.”

But while it might be nerve-racking to win such a prestigious award, the feeling of presenting the nomination to those who have earned it can be an even better feeling.

“Even for those who don’t win, it’s still astounding to read off the things they have done for the university,” Abshire said. “It can be very emotional and it really does humble you, as someone who has already received the award.”

The committee is made up, entirely, of past winners from all different fields within Ohio State.

“We wanted a diverse representation for the committee because the campus is diverse,” Bondurant said.

Additional events hosted and sponsored by the Office of Human Resources include the Annual Faculty & Staff Retirement Dinner and the Faculty & Staff Service Recognition where, at both events, staff with more than 20 years of service at Ohio State are honored for their dedication and contributions to the university.

They also play a role in Staff Appreciation Week, which will go throughout the week of July 22-28 this year, as well as Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Awards, which recognize diversity efforts at The Ohio State University. This goes for not only staff but also faculty, students, student organizations and alumni’s.

“All of these events give us a chance to show appreciation to those who find a way to be the best they can be,” Bondurant said.

The Distinguished Staff Awards take place on April 30.