New university award celebrating open dialogue, now accepting applications

A new award is accepting nominations to open to anyone at the University of Connecticut who speaks about difficult topics in a welcoming way, Ellie Daugherty, Associate Vice President for student affairs and Dean of students, said. (Screenshot via website)

A new award is accepting nominations to open to anyone at the University of Connecticut who speaks about difficult topics in a welcoming way, Ellie Daugherty, Associate Vice President for student affairs and Dean of students, said.

The President's Award for Excellence in Dialogue and Civility is designed to honor anyone related to UConn who works to initiate new ideas and point of views, Daugherty said.

“The award is intended to recognize [anyone on] campus who [has] lead difficult conversations that welcome different opinions,” she said. “We do that in different ways, such as programming, RA’s [Resident’s Assistants], how our staff interact [and more]. We wanted a needs to recognize that. We wanted to recognize that on campus.”

The application allows people to nominate themselves, another individual, staff or student, or any student organization or program, according to the application. The wide eligible nominees was created to allow as many applications as possible, Daugherty said.

“I think we went with an open approach as welcoming as possible for nominations,” she said. “We wanted to be as inclusive as possible. Think broadly.”

The nominations with brief supporting materials are due by March 11. Applications are available on the Student Life award website.

Three awards will be given: one to students, one to staff and one to faculty, Daugherty said.

All UConn campuses are eligible to apply for the award, according to the Student Life Award website.

Recipients will be named at a special awards ceremony on April 2, 2019, with Susan Herbst, campus leaders and members of the Board of Trustees, according to an email sent out by Herbst last week.

The award encompasses what it means to be a part of a research university, Daugherty said.

“What [the award] is the core of why people come to university. We want to discover new ideas. Research universities are proud to work with discovering everyday,” she said. “This is we why exist and why we thrive. This award is for true growth and leadership…[It is to] recognize and elevate the work across campus [but it is happening all the time].”

Hopefully, the start of the award will lead to more powerful conversations among anyone involved with the university, Daugherty said.

“This is a fundamental value of the university,” she said. “If we are not learning from one another, we are not meeting the goals [of] higher education. Maybe [we will] encourage more of it.”


Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.philipson@uconn.edu.