Extension Superior Service Awards

The annual nominating period for these awards is July 10 through October 10. A nomination consist of two components:
— an online application, and a
— PDF submitted via email to ExtensionNotices@ag.tamu.edu per the 2017-2018 SSA-Guidelines.

For questions about the guidelines, contact Sylvia Ware, administrative coordinator II in the Office of the Director (Sylvia.Ware@ag.tamu.edu or 979-845-4514). But first, check out the information below.

Tips to Strengthen Nominations
Being nominated for an Extension Superior Service Award is truly an honor from your peers. But being selected for the award depends strictly on the merits of a written nomination. So, attention nominators: follow these tips to make your entry as competitive as possible.

First, rest assured, it’s not at all unusual for a nomination to be submitted repeatedly before being selected. Its competitiveness will vary from year-to-year, depending on the pool of nominations. The key is making an entry as strong as possible to begin with and then updating resubmissions with more than just a new date.

Key points from the Superior Service guidelines: except for Distinguished Career, all the award categories are intended to recognize outcome programming or organizational initiatives from which significant impacts have occurred during the last 2 to 5 years. Planning and implementation may have started before that, but the evidence of impacts should include a recent track record.

In the guidelines, you’ll find “Criteria for Assessing a Nomination,” which are followed by the nine anonymous reviewers who make up the Extension Honor Awards Committee. Bottom line, it’s best to document a major programming effort and to minimize descriptions of the nominee’s overall responsibilities and how well the nominee fulfills typical roles. In that context, try to convey the programmatic goal for which the nominee’s events and activities served as methodology.

As far as writing the nomination…
— do collaborate with the nominee.
— give clear attribution; use active voice to say what the nominee initiated, organized, led, acquired, implemented, achieved, etc., versus “The program was implemented…”
— include quotes and commendation letters that, rather than being a character reference, corroborate the benefits and impacts of a program, preferably from a clientele or stakeholder perspective.

Questions about the submission process
 1:  Can I submit the online application now and follow later with the pdf attachment via email, or does all this need to be completed at the same time?

A:  You can do the online application at any time, as long as it’s completed by midnight September 10. The same goes for emailing the nomination PDF; the order does not matter. When sending the email, request a delivery receipt if you want confirmation.

 2:  On the online application, I am confused regarding the sliding scale when it states to “round down” the years of service.

A:  “Rounding down” refers to months of service, meaning you should select the number of completed years of service; do not round up to the next year.

 3:  Can a deadline extension be provided?

A:  Barring some agency-wide necessity, the annual September 10 submission deadline applies to all nominations. If we receive an incomplete nomination (e.g., it lacks commendation letters), it will not be disqualified. However, an incomplete nomination may not be amended after the deadline and it will not be as competitive in the reviewers’ rankings.

Questions about eligibility
 1:  We would like to nominate a team that includes a county youth outreach educator and county secretary. They are both 100% county-paid positions who work in our Extension office. May we include them as “Extension” team members rather than “non-Extension” team members?

A:  All individuals or team members who do AgriLife Extension work are eligible for nomination; eligibility is not affected by the source of funds for the nominee’s position. In your case, if their job is dedicated to Extension (based on percent of effort), you should count them as Extension team members.

2:  Can a person who retired a few months ago still be nominated as an individual or be included in a team nomination?

A:  Nominees must have been active employees when the call for nominations was issued (early July), or retired between the call for nominations and the submission deadline. NOTE: If an Extension retiree is still active on a nominated team, the retiree may be counted as a non-Extension team member.

Questions about the Office Support category
 1: The guidelines state to focus on the past 2-5 years with the additional guidelines stating nominations should focus on 2-5 years except, at least 20 years for distinguished service career. When nominating a county support staff with 18 years, does that rule apply?

A: An emphasis on the past 2-5 years is preferred for all categories, except Distinguished Career, but there’s no problem in providing a brief career overview in any category.

2: Regarding the two commendations for support staff, who is eligible to write this letter? Could the district office manager serve as one source? Could the district extension administrator serve as a source?

A:  No letter writer is ineligible, except for Extension state-level administrators. If a certain DEA, associate department head, etc. declines, that may be a personal practice or choice. Commendations from clientele usually make a nomination stronger, but the office support category is one where direct clientele interactions may be limited. So seek a commendation from whoever speaks best to the worthiness of the nominee.



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