Feb. 27, 2020

Innovation and Curiosity make a difference at UCalgary

Innovation and Curiosity is one of three U Make a Difference award categories — nominations are open until April 7
Use specific award submission criteria to build a successful nomination package. Riley Brandt

Acknowledge your most inquisitive colleagues, the makers and original thinkers, for their drive and accomplishments in pursuit of constant improvement — nominate them for a U Make a Difference award for Innovation and Curiosity.

Mike Van Hee, associate vice-president, Human Resources, says the Innovation and Curiosity category celebrates the drive for positive change within the university community.

“Every organization relies on those inquisitive and constructive employees who think beyond the way things are to figure out how to make them better,” says Van Hee. “Not everyone has the imagination required to innovate — it’s important to enable and congratulate the people who do.”

The U Make a Difference awards celebrate community members and their contributions across three categories:

  • Innovation and Curiosity
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Positive Work Environment and Community

Celebrating past recipients in the Innovation and Curiosity category

This week’s highlight is the Innovation and Curiosity category. To inspire your 2020 nominations, we are celebrating past winners in the category.

Sabrina Anderson — 2019 recipient
Graduate program administrator in the Graduate Science Education Office, Cumming School of Medicine

While positioning herself as an excellent graduate student advocate, Anderson has become an invaluable resource to the graduate students on the Foothills campus.

Whether she’s taking the initiative to turn a student orientation to a half-day boot camp, helping to assemble a mental health first aid kit, or making incredible improvements to student web experience, Anderson is always looking for — and taking advantage of — opportunities for improvement.

Dr. Elmar Prenner, PhD — 2019 Recipient
Associate professor in the Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science

Prenner’s curiosity, dedication, and innovation have led him to succeed and excel in his roles. Prenner reaches beyond the university and creates opportunity for young scientists within the city. He inspires his colleagues and students to benefit the University of Calgary and the broader community.

Mehran Dilmaghanian
Manager of Data Systems for Development Data, Development and Alumni Engagement

Along with managing large scopes of data within his team, Dilmaghanian is best known for his innovative approach to continuously improve and grow systems and functions. Dilmaghanian added new technologies, ideas, and cost savings to strengthen data systems, data entry, validation, and integration processes — all with his signature tenacity, dedication, and curiosity.

Check these top tips for a successful nomination package

Deciding who to nominate for a U Make a Difference award is easy — putting together a winning nomination takes time and planning.

Use the submission criteria

Don’t start from scratch — build your submission from the specific criteria developed around the area of excellence that best fits your nominee: Innovation and Curiosity, Collaboration and Communication, and Positive Work Environment and Community.

Read the examples provided for each category and plan how you’ll illustrate the person’s strengths through the given criteria.

Ask around for multiple points of view

You don’t need to nominate alone — work with a partner or group to make an outstanding submission. A nomination package should include testimonials from multiple people who have collaborated with the nominee in the past.

Ask for input from the nominee’s leaders, peers and direct reports (if applicable) to help illustrate a complete picture of their successes.

Start early — nominations close April 27

Winning nomination packages take time and require co-ordination from multiple people, including leaders who may have limited availability. Start on your package early to ensure all contributors have time to offer thoughtful input.

Do not miss a chance to celebrate your team’s heroes.