Outstanding Supervisor Awards

About the Award

The Outstanding Supervisor Award honors Michigan State University supervisors who have consistently demonstrated worklife sensitivity and support of the professional/personal needs of the employees in their unit. The award is significant for the following reasons:

By recognizing outstanding supervisors, we are setting an example of “what makes a good supervisor.” This will serve as a model for others to illustrate what it means to be sensitive to worklife and family circumstances. These outstanding supervisor role models make a positive impact on managerial practices across campus!

The managerial style of a supervisor has a direct impact on the quality of the employees’ work and their loyalty to MSU. Any supervisor, at any employment level, from all staff and academic units may be nominated.

There is a strong “business case” for offering support and flexibility to enhance employees’ worklife balance. When sincere consideration is given to an individual’s personal responsibilities outside the job, absenteeism may be reduced and morale and productivity are improved.

How to Nominate your Supervisor

Members of the MSU community are invited to nominate a supervisor/administrator who consistently supports the worklife (professional/personal) needs of their employees/staff through positive leadership and managerial practices. If the following characteristics fit YOUR supervisor, please complete the nomination package. All staff, faculty and students may nominate their supervisors who have been in the position for more than two years. 

Nominations should include specific examples of how and why the supervisor is outstanding. Please make sure you clearly explain how your supervisor’s actions specifically impact employees in your work group. Nominations will be rated by the Committee based on the qualities outlined within the “What Makes An Outstanding Supervisor” section below.

Please select one designated Nominator from your team. The Nominator will be the point of contact for the Committee for any updates or questions. We will ask for the Nominator’s name and contact information as part of the nomination package submission.

What To Include In Your Nomination Package:

  • Nomination Letter from designated Nominator (1 – 2 pages in length)
  • 2 – 4 Additional Letters of Support from team members (1 – 2 pages in length each)
  • Organizational Chart (optional)

Nominations are due by Sunday, June 30th, 2024. They can be submitted either through the Qualtrics Survey link or by submitting by campus mail to the WorkLife Office, Linton Hall, Suite 116, 479 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824. 

Please contact worklife@msu.edu or call 517-353-1635 for any questions and/or to coordinate any alternative nomination submission needs.

Any nomination submitted by mail must include the Nomination Form:

What Makes An Outstanding Supervisor?

Outstanding Supervisors establish, cultivate, and sustain a workplace free from discrimination and harassment based on age, color, gender, gender identity, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, and weight under the University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy (ADP)

Outstanding Supervisors promote a workplace environment that is free from relationship violence and sexual misconduct in accordance with the Policy on Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RVSM)

Outstanding Supervisors represent the values and norms that contribute to a supportive workplace culture at MSU. These individuals go above and beyond their typical supervisory role to enhance the Spartan workplace.

An Outstanding Supervisor...

  • Establishes, cultivates, and sustains a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace
  • Understands worklife fit/balance (values employee’s work and personal life)
  • Allows flexible schedules or other flexibility in the workplace
  • Treats everyone with dignity, respect, and integrity
  • Promotes teamwork while supporting individuals’ wellbeing
  • Humanizes the work environment and treats employees as people first
  • Has a positive leadership style which empowers others
  • Is familiar with and refers to the Worklife Office’s services and other campus support programs
  • Responds well to stressful circumstances and extreme worklife situations (e.g. COVID-19, caregiving conflicts, change in leadership)

About the Committee


  • Chair: Member of the WorkLife Office; perpetual
  • Secretary: Any member; annual nomination
  • Membership
  • Member from CTU, APA, APSA
  • Member from at least one of the following
    • Police Officers Association of Michigan (Non-Supervisory) (POAM)
    • Spartan Skilled Trades Union (SSTU)
    • Local 1585
    • 324
    • Local 274
  • Member from at least one of the following
    • Academic Specialist
    • Faculty (any rank, includes Union of Nontenure-Track Faculty)
    • Post-Doc
    • Graduate Employees Union (GEU)
  • Emeritus members (past winners) are welcome and encouraged on the committee but not required
  • MSU Health Team and Nurses are welcome and encouraged on the committee but not required

Membership can range from a minimum of 5 individuals to a maximum of 10 individuals. Chair and/or Secretary can fulfill a representative membership category. These categories are intended to solicit a diverse group of MSU staff and faculty members on the committee.

Each committee member agrees to fulfill a 1-year commitment. Members can withdraw from the committee at any time and have the option re-commit to service each year during the annual debrief meeting that occurs directly after the awards are distributed. Should membership fall under 5 members, the Chair and committee will recruit members.

  • Attend at least 3 of 4 scheduled meetings annually
    • Meetings occur on or around Aug (selection), Oct (awards), Nov (debrief), Apr (check-in/launch)
    • Attending the selection meeting, or providing a complete review of the application packages with comprehensive feedback, is a requirement of membership
  • Attend at least 1 of the award ceremonies in Oct and provide logistical support
    • Examples of logistical support: “emcee” overview of the history of the award, bring banners, certificates, cake, read letters of support, audio/visual including taking photos and playing the MSU fight song
  • Promote the award to their unit and others at the university when possible
  • Serve as a representative of the award, e.g. name listed on WorkLife website and other material

Current Committee Members

Alaina Charette
Joined in 2023, WorkLife Office (APA)

Jaimie Hutchinson
Joined in 2018, WorkLife Office (APA)

Janae Lawler
Joined in 2021, College of Natural Science (Academic Specialist [non-union, continuing])

Mike Gardner
Joined in 2008, Dining Services (Retired [Past Winner])

Karla Bauer
Joined in 2022, College of Human Medicine

Keene Beach
Joined in 2024, Surplus Store & Recycling

Marcell King
Joined in 2017, Broad College of Business (Academic Specialist [non-union, non-tenure])

Laura King
Joined in 2023, Department of Police & Public Safety

Deb Bittner
Joined in 2021, Human Resources (CTU)

Past Committee Members

We are so thankful for the selfless service given to the Spartan community by our former committee members!

Laraine Walton
Served 2006 – 2020

Chris Slater
Served 2020 – 2022

Diann Wilson
Served 2008 – 2022

Angela Matlock
Served 2018 – 2021

Sue Brandt
Served 2001 – 2023

Melissa Congleton
Served 2019 – 2022

Award Ceremonies

Nominators will be notified by late September if their supervisor has been selected. Celebrations will occur around National Bosses Day, October 16. Remember, the process is more fun for everyone if you KEEP IT A SECRET!

Questions? Please contact the MSU WorkLife Office at (517) 353-1635 or worklife@msu.edu. Thank you!

Past Recipients

We asked past recipients why they thought their departments nominated them and why they were selected for the award. Here’s what they had to say…

She empowers others by consistent, authentic, inclusive, and empathetic leadership practices, each of which… I profoundly encourage my MSU colleagues to acknowledge and integrate into their personal and professional lives

When MSU’s workforce went remote… she improvised with new ways of working together that made us feel connected and supported from home.

…Her authentic, empathy-based leadership provided the guidance and emotional sustenance I needed to properly grieve [the loss of a close family member] while I maintained my professional self with students and colleagues.

She models work-life balance and encourages and supports all of us in taking care of ourselves.

Her empathy for my single-parent status enabled and supported my flexible responsibilities in my faculty role and additional professional development opportunities. She ensured my schedule remained consistent so I was able to take my child to school and pick her up every day after extra-curricular activities, flexibility many of my single-parent friends struggled with.

His approach to the profession begins and ends with a truly unconditional and unbounded commitment to the well-being and best interest of everyone in his life.