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Pillars of Excellence

Pillars of Excellence is an annual awards program designed to acknowledge employees who demonstrate a sustained high level of performance and inspire others to do their best.

This program may be used by departments as “colleague to colleague” recognition or by managers/supervisors to recognize an employee or a team for outstanding performance.

An awards committee with faculty and staff representatives will choose the recipients, based on criteria aligned with the UMass Lowell Pillars of Excellence:

  1. Transformational Education
  2. Global Engagement and Inclusive Culture
  3. Innovative Research and Entrepreneurship
  4. Leverage Our Legacy and Our Place
  5. Entrepreneurial Stewardship In Higher Education

Who is eligible?

Any staff or faculty member or core members of a team can be nominated for an award. Nominees must have been employed in their current position for at least one full year. Team nominations should not consist of more than 12 core members. 

Criteria for Nomination:

Please provide specific and detailed examples of how the nominee or team’s contributions and efforts have impacted the University and how they advance the University in the Strategic Pillar under which the nomination is made (where available, examples should include metrics). Please show evidence of at least two of the impact criteria outlined below:

Impact Criteria:

  • Embraces Change -- exhibits initiative to seize the opportunities that change represents; demonstrates flexibility and adaptability. Helps others anticipate change, envision the future, and meet transformational challenges. Provides leadership in helping UMass Lowell adapt to new and emerging possibilities while preserving what is most important and valuable.
  • Mission and Values -- contributes directly to UMass Lowell’s mission of teaching and research; exemplifies integrity, innovation, entrepreneurship and excellence.
  • Engagement -- exhibits exceptional and consistent engagement in activities that support excellence in instruction, academia, research or service.
  • Advancing the University -- demonstrates accomplishments or contributions that transform or advance University strategic priorities (i.e., initiatives that improve graduation rates, development of programs to measure student academic knowledge, enhancements to academic excellence of the University, improvement of student affordability and access, etc.).
  • Student Success -- initiates high impact programs and services which drive student success and exhibits profound commitment to UMass Lowell students.
  • Environment of Diversity and Inclusion -- creates a working or learning environment at UMass Lowell that is respectful and welcoming for everyone. Takes actions to increase diversity; fosters inclusive attitudes and behaviors.
  • Leadership -- communicates the vision and mission of the University and translates them into actionable goals. Develops, coaches, and motivates diverse individuals and teams. Promotes a positive culture of engagement within the immediate team and across the organization.
  • Collaboration -- consistently collaborates with others to facilitate advances in research, administration and academic programs. Shares knowledge, expertise and information generously. Is a highly effective and valued teammate, colleague, collaborator, or partner. Is an advocate for community partnerships.
  • Innovation -- Initiates original, high-impact ideas or processes that improve operational efficiencies; introduces new or modified business practices or improved work processes. Finds new ways to do things better; uses innovative methods, approaches, technology, or information to work smarter or more effectively.
  • Citizenship and Community -- Demonstrates outstanding citizenship at either the local or University level. Takes action to build or strengthen a caring, connected University community. Makes UMass Lowell a great place to work, teach, and learn.
  • Service Excellence -- Provides outstanding service and consistently and proactively seeks opportunities to be a positive ambassador for the University with all stakeholders.
  • Entrepreneurial Stewardship -- exhibits behaviors and approaches to stewardship of human, physical and financial resources that build a healthy and sustainable future. For example: Maintains quality, service, and safety while improving efficiency or reducing costs; protects the University and its people from risk or harm; reduces costs (cost savings or avoidance); contributes to efficiency and effectiveness of workplace operations; improves utilization of resources and reduction of waste.

How do I nominate someone?

Provide specific and detailed examples of how the nominee or team’s contributions and efforts have impacted the university and how they advance the university’s mission under a specific Pillar of Excellence. Where available, those examples should include metrics.


Each recipient will receive a keepsake item and a cash award. All award recipients and nominees will be invited to a reception hosted by the Office of the Chancellor. Award recipients will also be recognized in Today@UMass Lowell.

2020 Deadline:

The deadline to submit nominations has passed.

Please contact Maria Figueroa by email:, should you need assistance.