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The Dean’s Award for Excellence recognizes staff members who embody both the letter and spirit of excellence within the HLS community.

Award Criteria

In order to be considered for either award, staff members must have a minimum of 1 year service at HLS and be nominated by a current HLS faculty or staff member.  Department Heads and Deans are ineligible for the Dean’s Award, but may be nominated for Harvard Heroes. 

Honorees are selected in accordance with the following award criteria, based upon the degree of demonstrated excellence and the impact of the honoree’s actions. Strong nominees may exhibit several of the characteristics listed below.

Excellence in…

  • Collaboration

    An effective collaborator works effectively with others to produce positive results. This person may approach their work in the following ways:

    • Solicits diverse views in completing projects;
    • Establishes effective partnerships across multiple levels of the organization;
    • Builds consensus in decision-making;
    • Shares knowledge or information contributing to group success;
    • Increases success of team(s) through process of cooperative problem-solving.
  • Commitment

    A deeply committed staff member demonstrates a dedication to their work, which in turn contributes to the vibrancy of the HLS community. This quality manifests itself when an employee:

    • Demonstrates an intense commitment to provide excellent service to co-workers, students and faculty;
    • Shares enthusiasm for the School with others;
    • Maintains perseverance in the face of adversity;
    • Is known in the community as a reliable go-to person, willing volunteer or good citizen (e.g. reaches out to new staff; motivates others around a cause) who enriches the School.
  • Innovation

    An innovative staff member shows outstanding creativity when confronted with challenges, issues or a need or desire for improvement. One might approach their work in the following ways:

    • Actively seeks ways to advance beyond the status quo;
    • Proactively identifies novel, creative ways to improve upon processes or service delivery;
    • Implements change in a positive manner and strives to ensure its success;
    • Demonstrates ability to stir the pot for positive, fresh impact;
    • Approaches problem-solving with a solution orientation.
  • Leadership

    A strong leader demonstrates a unique ability to guide and inspire others, which in turn contributes to the effective and efficient functioning of the School. Both managers and non-managers may possess, and make evident, strong leadership in the following ways:

    • Inspires and encourages personal and professional development in others;
    • Builds strong relationships that support a high level of trust and credibility;
    • Adapts readily to new situations;
    • Effectively persuades others using keen organizational awareness;
    • Mentors and cultivates employees, creating a culture of respect that fosters an atmosphere conducive to achievement;
    • Contributes to the success of an initiative that benefits those outside his/her own department and/or places emphasis on collaboration within and among departments.
  • Learning

    One who ensures that learning is integrated with work, and uses the knowledge gained to improve business results may approach their work in the following ways:

    • Converts information, business data and processes into opportunity;
    • Views mistakes as stepping stones essential to further growth;
    • Promotes transfer of knowledge and influence from person to person;
    • Recognizes and responds to differing learning preferences and cultivates other’s abilities and talents;
    • Models an open attitude toward self-evaluation;
    • Promotes self-direction and empowers colleagues to make decisions;
    • Celebrates the learning process for its own sake;
    • Works under the assumption that everything is subject to re-examination and acts on opportunities to implement positive change.

Recognition Advisory Committee

2023-2024 Advisory Committee Members

Sama ElBannan, Harvard Defenders

Lorin Granger, Communications Office

Daryl Muranaka, Faculty Support Services

Anna Pierce, Legal Services Center

Anastasia Tolu, Learning, Experience & Technology

*Gloria Alonzo and Stacey Emerson from Human Resources will assist the Recognition Advisory Committee

Highlights from the 2023 Dean’s Award Ceremony

Previous Award Recipients

  • 2023

    Kristina R. Barrett, Dean of Students Office

    Charlie Choi,  ITS

    Lorin Granger, Communications

    Courtney McMann, JD Admissions

    Melissa Minaya, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

    Vaughn Samuels, LXI

    Team Award: HLS Website Project Team 

    Reem Al-Khalqi, ITS

    Rebecca Bakken, Communications

    Daniel Coelho, ITS

    David Killeffer, ITS

    John Klein, ITS

    Nathaniel Logus, ITS

    Enrique Lozano, ITS

    Courtney Majocha, Communications

    Erin Michaud, ITS

    Julie Vakoc, Communications

  • 2020

    Kendra Albert,  Cyberlaw Clinic

    Carolyn Hubbard, Dean of Students Office

    Mark Christopher Jefferson, Dean of Students Office

    Laura Johnston, Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation

    Mark Lombardi, Facilities

    Tammie Lombardo, Information Technology Services

    Jocelyn Kennedy, Harvard Law School Library

    Gene O’Connor, Facilities

    Mary O’Rourke, Learning Experience and Technology

    Dianne Ribeirinha-BragaDean of Students Office

    Liz A. Solar, Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

    Phil Torrey,Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

    Maureen Worth, Faculty Support Services

    Team Award

    Mary Rapala, ITS

    Ben Watson, ITS

  • 2019

    Lori Adgate, Finance

    Carol Flores, Criminal Justice Institute

    Daniel Fox, Library, Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum Services

    Mindy Kent, Library, Reference & Research Services

    Laurie Lower, Dean of Students Office

    Susan Salvato, Office of the Registrar

    Dana Walters, Human Rights Program

  • 2018

    Maggie Bay, Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

    Kira Hessekiel, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

    Catherine Peshkin, Graduate Program

    Sheena Prosper, Dean of Students Office

    Thomas Robinson, Admissions

    Patricio Rossi, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau

    Lesley Schoenfeld, Library

    Team Award

    Jacob Kantzer, ITS

    Nathaniel Logus, ITS

    Lynne Prevost, ITS

  • 2016

    Juliet Bowler, East Asian Legal Studies & HLS Project on Disability

    Hakim Lakhdar, Center on the Legal Profession/Executive Education

    David O’Brien, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

    Naomi Schaffer, Graduate Program and International Legal Studies

    Yvonne Smith, Dean of Students Office

    Kirsten Solberg, Office of Career Services

    Amy Elizabeth Soto, Criminal Justice Institute

    Anastasia Tolu, Faculty Support

    Heather Williams, Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

    Team Award

    Natasha Onken, Student Financial Services

    Rory Placa, Student Financial Services

  • 2015

    Lisa Brem, Library

    Stephany Doulames, Alumni Affairs and Development

    Alexander Horn, Education Law Clinic & Transactional Law Clinics

    Mark Kleinschnittger, Office of Career Services

    Susan Norton, Faculty Support Services

    Nnena Odim, WilmerHale Legal Services Center

    Nancy Pinn, Graduate Program

    John Slasberg, Harvard Defenders

    Ina Spaho, Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

    Team Award

    Jacob Kantzer, ITS

    Dan Kaplan, ITS

    Lin Lee, ITS

    Branden Loizides, ITS

    Courtney Majocha, Communications

    Keith McCluskey, Communications

    Janell Sims, Communications

    Samantha Timpano, ITS

    Julie Vakoc, Communications

  • 2014

    Carrie Ayers, ITS

    Amanda Cegielski, Faculty Support Services

    Nancy Kelly, Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

    Darrick Northington, Faculty Support Services

    Catherine Pattanayak, Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising

    Rebecca Tabasky, Berkman Center for Internet and Society

    Dehlia Umunna, Criminal Justice Institute

    John Willshire-Carrera, Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program

    Sara Zucker, International Legal Studies

  • 2013

    Lee Branson, Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs

    Gina Cinelli, Finance

    Catherine Claypoole, Dean’s Office

    Edgar Filho, Facilities

    Karen Gray, Human Resources

    Dan Kaplan, ITS

    Matthew Matturro, ITS

    Julie McCormack, LSC

    Kathleen McGillicuddy, Faculty Support Services

    Denise Ryan, Student Financial Services

    Geoff Swift, Finance