Human Resources and Payroll

Reward and Recognition



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George Mason University values a culture of recognition to appreciate, motivate and retain its faculty and staff. The Human Resources and Payroll Reward and Recognition program creates and implements recognition opportunities that are fun, meaningful and linked to the values and mission of Mason.

Purpose of Recognition

The George Mason University Rewards and Recognition program’s purpose is to recognize individuals and teams for contributions to their department, school or the University as a whole. Mason faculty and staff are encouraged to use the recognition tools and resources available to them to foster an environment of shared success and commitment. The program provides various opportunities to acknowledge other’s contributions from gift cards and non-monetary awards to events that celebrate the achievements of Mason’s faculty and staff.

Types of Awards

Recognition is most effective when it takes place on a regular basis in a variety of different ways. Mason’s Reward and Recognition program provides a continuum of opportunities for recognizing colleagues across the University.

Formal Recognition - this type of recognition occurs on a regular basis and is delivered by HR & Payroll, The Commonwealth of Virginia or in schools or departments.

HR & Payroll Awards

  • Employee of the Month
  • Faculty Staff Book Scholarship
  • Outstanding Achievement Awards
  • University Day Service Awards

Departmental Awards

Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Awards for Public Service

Informal Recognition - this type of recognition includes on-the-spot and day-to-day recognition and is typically administered by HR & Payroll but delivered by departments and schools.

eCards - electronic greeting cards that anyone can send to congratulate, encourage or send some cheer.

Monetary Awards

  • Gift Cards - for request for peer-to-peer recognition
  • Impact Awards

Non-Monetary Awards – awards that are material goods, such as non-refundable gift certificates, plaques, trophies, desk items, clothing, tools, electronics or sports equipment.

  • Mason Flare – fun, informal awards for request for peer-to-peer recognition
  • Student Employee Recognition – for request to recognize Mason’s student employees
  • Presidential Citation

Recognition Leave

Outstanding Achievement Awards

The 2019 Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony will be held on:

October 31, 10:00 – 11:30a.m. in Dewberry Hall.

Nominations for the HR & Payroll Awards are due by Thursday, September 26, 2019. Departmental Awards have varying due dates for their nominations, please see the criteria for each departmental award for more information.

Here are some guidelines to help you prepare a nomination for a Mason colleague.

The Outstanding Achievement Awards celebrate the hard work, dedication and achievements of Mason’s faculty and staff across several awards categories and support Mason’s values and mission. The awards ceremonies are held once a year in the fall. In addition to the HR & Payroll awards, there are awards presented at the Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony sponsored by other departments; Distance Education, Environmental Health and Safety Office, Staff Senate, Sustainability and University Life.

The Outstanding Achievement Awards are held annually in the fall. Nominations are typically due one month before the ceremony. The date for nominations and the ceremony will posted on this web site and advertised through various University marketing and communications channels.


2019 Recipients 2018 Recipients 2017 Recipients

HR & Payroll Awards

Adjunct Faculty Service Award

Adjunct faculty members play a crucial role at Mason. They bring expertise, experience, energy, and enthusiasm that enhance the Mason experience for faculty, staff, and students. The Adjunct Faculty Service Award recognizes a member of the adjunct faculty who displays exceptional commitment and service to the University, its Mission and Students. This award is open to two to three adjunct faculty members and each recipient will receive $1,000.

Criteria for this award:

  • The nominee must be an adjunct faculty member who has taught at Mason for at least four semesters
  • Contributes to the success of colleagues and complements the department and Mason through their dedication and exemplary service
  • Embodies the mission and values of the university community

Nomination Form:

Civility Star Award

Mason’s values and mission uphold the highest standards of integrity, civility, and respect for self, our students, our colleagues, and the community at-large. Mason’s faculty and staff should uphold these core values to form a collaborative community for the betterment of all. This award recognizes an individual who is a role mode of integrity, civility, respect, and positive behavior. The recipient will receive $1,000.

Criteria for this award:

  • The nominee must be a faculty or staff member who has been employed at Mason for at least one year.
  • Consistently acts with respect in all interactions and holds themselves personally responsible for their own behavior and actions.
  • Promotes positive relations in the campus community by not only being an example to others, but also by encouraging and nurturing good behavior.
  • Cultivates and maintains an environment where one’s behavior and words, even in times of conflict, reflects restraint, responsibility, and respect.

Nomination Form:

David W. Rossell Quill Award

This award recognizes individuals whose efforts exemplify the leadership and dedication of David W. Rossell, who retired from George Mason University in 2007 with over 20 years of loyal service. His devotion to the Mason community focused on leadership, teaching and fulfilling Mason’s mission. The recipient will receive $1,000.

Criteria for this award:

  • Must be an instructional, administrative or professional faculty who has been employed at the University for at least one year
  • Works on projects or initiatives outside the realm of normal duties, resulting in the advancement of the University's mission. Shares time and expertise in service to the University and to the community and puts our students first.
  • Displays effort to advance the stature of the department and/or the entire University
  • Displays leadership

Nomination Form:

Exceptional Support Award

Employees who provide excellent support are the backbone of Mason; they provide the strength for their department and the University to grow and prosper. They are often the “go-to” person in their department providing excellent customer service and ensuring that the functions and operations of their department run smoothly. Up to 10 Exceptional Support awards can be awarded and each recipient will receive $1,000.

Criteria for this award:

  • Nominee must be a University employee for at least one year
  • Provides support to ensure that the functions and operations of the nominee's department run smoothly. Contributes to the success of colleagues by sharing applicable knowledge and expertise
  • Demonstrates quality customer service to internal and external customers with responsiveness in a timely and appropriate manner
  • Gets results by identifying, creating, and implementing innovative solutions to improve the way work is done, making it easier, more efficient and/or less costly

Nomination Form:

Margaret C. Howell Award

This award recognizes individuals whose efforts carry on the work and demonstrate the character of its namesake, the late Margaret C. Howell, who retired from George Mason University in 2002. For 20 years, Margaret performed outstanding, committed service as a valued and well-loved member of the Mason community—beginning as secretary for minority student affairs before retiring as an Equal Opportunity/Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Specialist. Both in work as in life, her focus remained on the development of respect, diversity, and individual dignity throughout the University and surrounding community. The award recipient will receive $2,000.

Criteria for this award:

  • Nominees must have at least three continuous years of service at Mason
  • Nominees should display evidence of work that promotes respect, diversity and individual dignity. Some examples include: providing mentorship for students, faculty or staff; developing programs that promote cross-cultural understanding and cooperation; or resolving problems and concerns arising from individual differences
  • Nominees’ efforts should show an impact on an individual or group of individuals, George Mason University, and/or the surrounding community

Nomination Form:

Martha J. Reiner Quality Customer Service Award

The award is named after Martha J. Reiner, who retired in 2005 after 17 years of quality customer service to the Mason community. She was the recognized goodwill ambassador and "go to" person for her department, who along with her commitment to outstanding customer service skills, worked to recognize others through the development of programs like the Employee of the Month. The recipient will receive $1,000 and an inscribed plaque.

Criteria for this award:

  • Nominee must be a University employee for at least one year
  • Shows exceptional initiative in "going the extra mile" to provide service to internal and external customers with timely and appropriate follow-up
  • Shows responsiveness to the needs of students, patrons or customers to enhance the department and/or Mason’s mission
  • Demonstrates improvement of customer service and satisfaction

Nomination Form:

Outstanding Achievement Award

The Outstanding Achievement Award was designed to recognize individuals for their significant achievements for the betterment of the University and whose actions exemplify Mason’s values. Each recipient will receive $1,000.

Criteria for this award:

  • Nominee must be a University employee for at least one year. Classified employees, administrative/professional faculty and wage employees are eligible for this award.
  • Accomplished some achievement that resulted in significant benefit to the University, school, institute or department
  • Achievement must be a sustained, long-term accomplishment (for at least a one year period) within the realm of the employees’ job
  • Nominees' accomplishment must support the mission and values of the University

Nomination Form:

Mason Faculty/Staff Alumni Award

Alumni of George Mason University currently working for Mason are a special group of employees who are proud to call themselves Patriots. Their hard work and contributions to the university community are a reflection of their unique perspectives as former students and current employees. This award pays tribute to this special population of employees.

There will be one faculty award recipient and one staff award recipient. Each recipient will receive $1,000.

There will be one faculty award recipient and one staff award recipient. Each recipient will receive $1,000.


  • The nominee must be a staff or faculty member who has been employed at Mason for at least one year and must have a degree from George Mason University.
  • Makes lasting and unique contributions to Mason to enhance the life for faculty, students and staff.
  • Embodies the mission and values of the university community.

Nomination Form:

Departmental Awards

Safety Recognition Award

Sponsored by the Environmental Health and Safety Office

Nominations will be accepted annually prior to the Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony and the monetary award will be divided between multiple awardees. Please contact for an exact deadline.

This award is given to a person or group of employees (department, facilities shop, laboratory, etc.) to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to improving health and safety on campus. Any employee or group of employees may be nominated by a colleague, supervisor, customer or student. The management staff within the Environmental Health and Safety Office will serve as the awarding committee.

Please send completed nominations"> For more information on this award, please visit Safety Recognition Award

Outstanding Supervisor Award

Sponsored by the Staff Senate

The nominations for this award will be accepted in the month of August 2019

The Outstanding Supervisor Award, sponsored by the Mason Staff Senate, recognizes supervisors who most closely meet the criteria in each category. The winner is selected based on her or his ability to:

  • Promote collegiality in the department,
  • Be receptive to employee ideas and engage them in the department and/or university goals,
  • Promote and model a positive work-life balance,
  • Acknowledge exemplary performance,
  • Be fair in acknowledging exemplary performance,
  • Encourage professional growth of classified or non-student wage employees,
  • Support the work of classified and non-student wage earners,
  • Support innovation in the department, and
  • Model leadership skills.

Please visit Outstanding Supervisor Award to download a nomination form and learn more about the nomination process.

Sustainability Hero Award

Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability

About the Award

The Sustainability Hero Award acknowledges the contributions of individuals and teams who have gone the extra mile to seek creative solutions that have promoted healthy, sustainable living or reduced Mason’s environmental impacts. These are people who understand the significance of promoting a sustainable way of life for not only our staff and faculty, but our students as well, who are the next generation of stewards.

Who is Eligible?

Any faculty or staff member (or teams) whose primary job is not sustainability is eligible for this award. A previous winner is not eligible to receive an award of this type if they have received one in the past three years. The Sustainability Hero Award is issued once per year, during the Human Resources Outstanding Achievement Awards, usually occurring in September or October of every year.

How is the Winner Selected?

The Sustainability Hero award is selected based on the number of faculty, staff or student recommendations received for that person or team and on the level of impact that their actions had on university sustainability (either cultural, operational, or both). If multiple individuals or teams are nominated, the Office of Sustainability staff reserves the right to make the final decision. The winner receives $200 in cash and a certificate of appreciation from the President during the award ceremony.

How to Apply or to Recommend Someone for the Award

Send an email to or a team member of the Office of Sustainability with detailed information about the person you would like to see receive the award. It helps to have more than one person recommending someone for this award.

Nancy Murphy Mason Spirit Award

Sponsored by University Life

This award recognizes individuals who exemplify the distinguishing attributes and values of the late Nancy Murphy, who retired from George Mason University in 2012 after 22 years of dedicated and spirited service to the University community. The winner will receive a Mason Bookstore $50 gift card and $250 monetary award.

Criteria for this award:

Nominee is a faculty or staff member who has at least three continuous years of service at Mason

The nominee's efforts have had a positive influence on an individual(s), office(s) and/or the Mason community

Nominee demonstrates:

  • Spirit for all things Mason
  • Community building
  • Mentoring students and/or staff
  • Taking initiative to improve the school/work life at Mason
  • Having fun and enjoying life
  • Optimism
  • Belief in others

All nominations should be submitted to Alissa Karton at Please contact Alissa at 703-993-1438 with any questions.

Nomination Form:

Jade Barricelli Spirit of Advising Excellence Award

Sponsored by the Mason Academic Advisor Network (MAAN)

Nominations will be accepted annually prior to the Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony. The deadline for this award is October 11, 2019.

About the Award

Named for former Mason advisor Jade Barricelli, this peer nominated award created by the Mason Academic Advisor Network (MAAN) instills in other advisors the need to continually assess how our work will elevate and improve the advising community at George Mason University, and how we can ultimately improve the academic experience of George Mason University students.

Award Criteria

The academic advisor selected as the recipient of this award will have demonstrated their commitment to both the student experience as well as their commitment to their fellow colleagues within the academic advising community, in the following ways:

  • Uses and disseminates information about appropriate student support services
  • Monitors student progress toward academic and career goals
  • Engages in developmental advising (which includes career and life planning)
  • Exhibits a mastery of institutional regulations, policies and procedures
  • Demonstrates a caring, helpful attitude toward advisees, faculty, and staff
  • Supports advising colleagues by being dependable and available
  • Attends and supports advisor development programs, such as the Mason Advisor Certificate or other advising initiatives
  • Adds to the visibility and role of MAAN as an essential resource to the University
  • Openly communicates and collaborates with students, faculty, and staff in support of MAAN’s Mission and Vision


Any Mason employee with responsibility for advising undergraduate and/or graduate students (includes Graduate Assistants). Previous winners are not eligible for 5 years after receipt of the award.


Additional information about this award and the nomination form may be found on the Center for Academic Advising, Retention, and Transitions (CAART) website. Questions may be directed to

Do It Yourself (DIY) Recognition

We encourage Mason employees to print and use the meaningful and instant appreciation cards and labels on this page to recognize others. You can also check out our Pinterest page for more inspiration, ideas and free recognition!

Recognition Mini-Notes

Make someone’s day with an encouraging message! Colorful and fun, these small note cards feature messages like, "Fabulous!" and "Consider this a Citation for Excellence” on the front and are blank on the back to give you room to write a note of praise to a colleague. Each pack includes 2 designs of 12 cards for a total of 24 cards with envelopes.

Please email with your request indicating how many packs you would like and to which mail stop your request should be sent.



Praise Pads

These note pads are a creative way to thank your colleagues and give them a pat on the back for their hard work and dedication. Each pad has 50 sheets of the same design.

Please email with your request indicating how many packs you would like and to which mail stop your request should be sent.

Be Kind - Bingo

Play a game of Be Kind - Bingo to show others how much you appreciate them!

Thank you and congratulations cards

Can be printed on 8.5x11 (letter) or on 5x8 index cards in color or black and white. Be sure to choose the appropriate size (after you choose print, click on properties, then click on the paper quality tab and scroll through the menu to pick the correct size).

Instant Employee Appreciation

Just print, cut and share!

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These stickers could be used alone...

But were designed to put on the bottom of Hershey Kisses or Rolos for some really “sweet” recognition. Avery ¾” round labels are recommended.

May You Be Grateful

May 4 – 8, 2020

May You Be Grateful is being celebrated during the first week of May to encourage expressing gratitude and promoting positivity at Mason.

May You Be Grateful Messages

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This email portal is open to all Mason faculty and staff during our “May Your Be Grateful” promotion, May 4 – 8, 2020. We encourage you to send notes of appreciation to your colleagues this week.

See myMasonHR


May You Be Grateful Calendar

Use this calendar to guide you through your week of gratitude.

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May You Be Grateful Postcards

These postcards can be downloaded and printed for mailing, or sent via email for a fun, happy message.


May You Be Grateful Journal

Print this journal and write down specific things that you are grateful for each day.