Think of it as a no-strings-attached-mini-MacArthur Fellows grant. It will soon be a reality thanks to the generosity of Dean Lynn Rhodes, who has created an endowment of $25,000 to establish the first faculty award in the School of Education & Human Development, UC Denver.
"I dont know why I didn't do this before," Rhodes said. "It's incredibly easy. I'm making monthly payments, deducted from my monthly check."
The award will provide an annual unrestricted gift to a faculty member who has an exceptional record and who has made a significant difference to the School and/or its community.
"It is important for Deans to say, through monetary recognition, 'I appreciate what you do.' And it's important for faculty to know that their leaders notice their energy and commitment, especially when it goes above and beyond what is expected," Rhodes said. "There will be no application, no strings attached. The Schools Dean will choose a faculty member who is an exceptional, committed leader, and helps the School move into the future," she said. "This work takes time, courage, and commitment."
Rhodes began her academic career at UC Denver in 1978 as a new assistant professor and was the 14th faculty member to join the School. Now there are more than 50 faculty. Motivated by her own long history on the faculty and observing, how much the School gains from positive faculty leadership. She wanted to do something lasting for the School that has been her work home for so long.
Rhodes understands how good it feels to be appreciated with an award. The Dean who preceded her asked the Chancellor to create and grant Rhodes the Urban Leadership Award, that recognized the connections she had created between the School and local urban school districts. The award included a check.
The award came totally out of the blue, she said. I remember feeling very surprised, thankful, honored and appreciated. Thats the feeling I want to recreate for our faculty.
The Lynn K. Rhodes Faculty Award will be fully funded in less than five years and the first annual award can be made at that point to an excellent faculty member who goes above and beyond someone who selflessly takes on an informal or formal leadership role that lends expertise and energy to help faculty make a difference.
"Increasingly, an important part of my role as Dean is fund raising," Rhodes said. "And now that I've made this financial commitment to the School, its easier to encourage others to give to our faculty and our students. I know how great it feels," she said smiling.
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