Excellence in Public Engagement Awards – Faculty & Staff


  • Distinguished Award – One award may be given for lifetime, sustained, or career achievements in public engagement activities.
  • Emerging Award – Up to three awards may be given for early career public engagement activities (faculty or staff, but at least one staff award when the awards are given).
  • Team Award – One team award may be given for public engagement activities that demonstrate significant impact.

Each of these awards includes a $2,000 honorarium and a personalized commemorative plaque.


All faculty members (tenure-stream and specialized), staff, graduate/professional and undergraduate students who have demonstrated significant individual contributions to the local community, state, nation, or world through distinguished university public engagement are eligible for public engagement awards. For purposes of these awards, distinguished public engagement is a direct extension of an individual’s disciplinary or technical expertise to the public and non-profit sector.

Engagement or service resulting in monetary gain (private consulting) is not considered public service, nor is service that is performed as a private citizen (membership in local service clubs, for example) or as an elected public official.

Evaluation Criteria

The selection committee will evaluate nominations on the degree to which a nominee meets the following criteria in performing public engagement activities:

  • Sustained leadership (minimum of three years at the University of Illinois) in working with the public and/or with external organizations;
  • Innovative or entrepreneurial ways of working for the well-being of citizens and communities;
  • Documented excellence in extending University knowledge;
  • Evidence of the impact on the community served;
  • Demonstrated intellectual, professional, personal, and/or career growth as a result of the experience;
  • Demonstrated level of responsibility that goes above and beyond what is expected; and
  • For faculty, evidence of impact on scholarship/research, instruction and curriculum development, or evidence of national significance in the field or community.


Any employee of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or members of the public working with the nominee can make a nomination. Self-nominations are not allowed. Nominators must notify the nominee that they are being nominated for a CAEPE Award.

The nomination is a two-step process. The review committee will screen initial nominations; nominators will be notified whether their nominee will move forward as a semifinalist.

Stage 1 Requirements

  1. Each nomination must include a cover sheet (you must download the form from Box to complete it);
  2. A nomination narrative (no more than two pages, single-spaced with 1” margins) describing how the nominee fulfills the stated criteria. The narrative should include: descriptions of specific activities or programs in which the candidate has excelled, comments on the importance of the individual’s work to the campus, special characteristics that extend the nominee’s expertise and set him/her apart from others, and indicators of the impact of the activities on the external community as well as on the university;
  3. For a nominee whose job description includes public engagement, the nomination letter should clearly indicate how the person’s work or the project is entrepreneurial, innovative, or goes above and beyond the work normally associated with the nominee’s job, including how the project engages individuals and/or groups that may not have access or frequently engage with the University of Illinois.
  4. The nominator should ensure that documentary evidence is available. The names and contact information for two individuals (other than the nominator) who can verify the demonstrated impact on the community must be included.
  5. Submit the nomination using the online form. The college’s dean must sign the nomination cover sheet (linked above in item 1) to indicate support of the nomination. A supporting letter from the dean may be submitted, but it is not required to meet this element of the nomination package.

The review committee will determine semifinalists during the initial screening process. Nominators and nominees will be notified of their status after Stage 1 evaluations are complete.

Stage 2 Requirements

Nominators of semifinalists will be requested to submit the following:

  1. Three letters of reference (other than the nominator). These letters must include one from an outside constituent and one from the candidate’s unit. Letters of recommendation will not be accepted until nominators are requested to submit them.
  2. The nominee’s curriculum vitae or resume that includes brief annotations highlighting the nominee’s engagement activities. For the Team Award, curriculum vitae or resumes for up to five team participants will be requested, with at least one of the five being from a University faculty or staff member.


December 1Deadline for Stage 1 nominations to be submitted.

February – Nominators will be notified whether their nominee will move forward to Stage 2 as a semifinalist.

March 15Deadline for Stage 2 packages (for semifinalists only) to be submitted.

*When a deadline falls on a weekend or campus holiday, nominations will be due the next business day.


For more information about Campus Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement, contact Kim Green in the Office of the Provost at provostawards@illinois.edu or (217) 244-3689.