Sarah Christensen, Visual Resources and Outreach Specialist for the department of Research and Information Services at the University Library, has been awarded the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award (CAPE). The CAPE is designed to recognize and celebrate “the importance of contributions made by academic professionals” at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It is also a signal of high esteem in which their colleagues hold them. This prominent award was presented to Christensen and five other individuals from across campus for their outstanding contributions to the university community and beyond.
Those who are nominated for the CAPE are evaluated based on three areas of criteria: work contributions, personal development, and professional development. Valued attributes include demonstrating prominent contributions to the university’s traditional missions of teaching, research, and public service through their work in his or her home unit, promoting a positive work environment through their positive impact on other students, faculty, staff, and members of the public, and displaying growth in the professional field through publications, participation in professional societies, and committee work. Moreover, a nominee’s impact at the regional, national, or international level is also considered.
Once nominated, a selection committee evaluates each nominee based on these three criteria. The recommended finalists are then approved by Chancellor Robert Jones. Christensen, along with the other five winners will receive a $1,000 cash award, a commemorative plaque, and will be honored at a virtual award presentation hosted by the Chancellor to commemorate their excellence performance.
Christensen, an innovative and collaborative professional at the University Library, has clearly demonstrated her determination and dedicated to the Illinois campus as well as the Urbana-Champaign community. She has consistently and tirelessly advocated for outreach and engagement within the University Library, working collaboratively with a wide variety of campus units. Furthermore, Christensen has served as co-chair of the Public Engagement and Outreach Working Group and as co-chair of the Outreach and Engagement Task Force. She is currently chair of the Senate Committee for Public Engagement and Outreach as well. The work of the task force and the subsequent committee will establish an infrastructure for outreach and engagement that will benefit the future of the University Library. She is also one of the three founding co-editors-in-chief of the new Journal of Library Outreach and Engagement, and she is one of the creators of the Library superhero trading card marketing initiative, which connects subject and area specialist librarians with undergrads. In addition to these accomplishments, Christensen’s work and research on engagement in libraries has also resulted in many peer-reviewed publications. Moreover, this nomination is also rooted in an appreciation of Christensen’s professionalism and helpful demeanor, as her colleagues frequently complement her strong work ethic and noble character. Christensen has exceeded the parameters of her job, and she has brought a tremendous amount of benefits to the University Library.
When asked about her nomination, Christensen remarked, “I’m so thrilled to be recognized by campus for the work I’m doing in the library. I truly love my job and my colleagues, and this award feels like icing on the cake.”
More information on the CAPE Award can be found on the Illinois Human Resources website. Congratulations to Christensen and the five other academic professionals on this honor!