The Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Awards (COSAs) are presented to individual staff members and staff teams who demonstrate exceptional INITIATIVE to create significant positive IMPACT on the UC Berkeley campus community. Nominations must be for work performed within the last THREE YEARS.
These awards are among the highest honors bestowed upon staff by the Chancellor. The Chancellor's Staff Advisory Committee (CSAC) established and administers this award program. The process of awarding a Chancellors Outstanding Staff Award is based solely on the written nomination received by the committee as it aligns with a set of criteria. A limited number of awards are granted each year. COSA recipients are recognized at a ceremony held in the spring with the Chancellor and other senior administrators in attendance. The COSA is one of several ways in which staff achievement at UC Berkeley can be honored; please see Other Campus Staff Awards for which your nominee(s) may qualify.
2021 Nomination Cycle
The 2021 COSA Nomination cycle is now open! The nomination deadline has been extended to 5pm on Monday, January 10, 2022 and the ceremony will be help on Wednesday, April 13 2022. Please see the How to Nominate page for more information.
2020 Award Cycle
The Chancellor's Staff Advisory Committee was painfully aware of what a challenging and stressful time 2020 was for campus staff as we were impacted by a global pandemic, an economic crisis, a major campus budget deficit, continuing racial injustice, devastating fires, political turmoil and for some the daily challenges of sheltered living and working virtually. Due to this set of unprecedented crises, we acknowledged that ALL staff were demonstrating outstanding commitment and resilience. CSAC wished to honor and support our entire community as we navigated through these major challenges. To that end, we canceled our 2020 COSA award program in order to focus on supporting and uplifting all of our dedicated colleagues.
Words from Previous Winners
"Winning the COSA is a remarkable feeling. You work hard every day but sometimes wonder if anybody notices. The COSA lets you know that people DEFINITELY notice! Being celebrated at the ceremony is also a special honor. My COSA award continues to be a point of pride on my resume and has sparked interesting conversations during job interviews."
—Katie Dustin, 2003 Individual COSA Recipient
"Receiving the Chancellor's Outstanding Staff Award (COSA) in 2004 was one of the highlights of my Berkeley career. It was an unexpected honor to learn that I had received the award, but when I attended the ceremony and learned of other recipients' achievements, I felt intensely proud and privileged to be included in this group. It seems to me that it is rare for this campus to gather as one community to formally recognize and thank individual staff for their contributions. Receiving the award and attending the ceremony was just such an occasion, and it was tremendously inspiring and memorable."
—Linda Song, 2004 Individual COSA Recipient
"This award was extremely valuable in that it recognized a campus-wide impact project, the results of which became very popular and, in all practicality, changed the way we do business for Campus Fundraising. The effort that was rewarded was initiated by the programming staff themselves. Management supported the project unconditionally and in the end, it also served as an excellent demonstration of how employee initiative can have a huge influence on business processes.
"It felt prestigious to receive this award. Further, even before being selected, I felt honored by the submission alone. The beautiful framed certificate and picture of the group lives on my office wall.
"The impact it had on me was a feeling of being respected and recognized. I have always felt well supported by management in the decisions I make each day, but this project, and the resulting campus wide recognition, surely lent additional credibility to my participation projects and daily decisions."
—Rannah McIntosh, 2004 Team COSA Recipient
"When I first started working for UCB, fourteen years ago, I never imagined I would be the recipient of the COSA award. It was an honor to receive the award in the presence of my director, supervisor, friends and colleagues.
"I still remember the announcement, I know I heard my name, but I was unable to move. It was an honor for me to receive the award from Chancellor Birgeneau. I am glad I have a picture to remember that particular day.
"How did my life change? Well, it made me realize that people really noticed my work. I realized that working for this institution is a blessing. My philosophy was reinforced... Many people work all their lives without a purpose, I have chosen to make a difference in every task I perform no matter how insignificant it may appear. I give it my all."
—Nanette Woodson, 2005 Individual COSA Recipient
"The COSA award is really an amazing thing. It's one of the few campus-wide visible awards that a staff member can win in which the nomination can be made by anyone - staff or students or faculty. Unlike many forms of recognition we give our employees, this one is top-down AND bottom-up.
"When I won my first COSA, it meant a lot, because the nomination was made by a group of graduate students with whom I worked. When I oversaw a Student Services unit in a department, I oversaw the administration of the graduate program, which included Admissions, Financial Aid, employment, payroll for graduate students, registration, enrollment and fee remission credits. To know that 50 students have been touched by your work, your passion, and your engagement to the extent that they nominated me for the award was an exciting honor.
"My second COSA was different, in that my Dean nominated me. And he attended the ceremony, which meant a lot to me. To know that your boss understands and support the mission and values of rewarding staff for doing the job well is not as common as you might think.
"My COSA Bear Plaque sits front and center on my desk, and it's something I'm very proud of. When people are in my office, they can see that I remain engaged and committed to a sense of excellence, and it builds a sense of credibility and trust that's hard to explain in words.
"I am proud to have been a COSA recipient, and am prouder still of working in an organization that values its employees publicly, while allowing nominations to come from all sectors of the university."
—Sandra Rollins Ketchpel, 1995 and 2002 Individual COSA Recipient
"I have always felt privileged to be an employee of UC Berkeley. Just being a "player" within this large community of dedicated and highly-capable individuals is a great experience in and of itself. To then receive special recognition through COSA is an extreme honor. The COSA program has inspired my continued pride in our excellent institution and sustains my continued best efforts."
—Karen Eft, 2006 Team COSA Recipient
"Cal Dining was thrilled to be awarded a team COSA award this past year! We are especially appreciative that the Operational Excellence office was our nominator. We feel very proud of winning but mostly proud that another department recognized the good work of our team!" —Shawn LaPean, 2012 Team COSA Recipient
"I attended a COSA award ceremony a couple of years ago as a guest. Learning about the COSA recipients' outstanding contributions was moving and humbling. To my great surprise, I found myself a member of this distinguished group in 2012. I am grateful to the colleagues from across campus who took the time to nominate me. The message that I receive through this award is: my job may not be glamorous, but what I do makes a difference--in a positive way. I will cherish this award for the rest of my career, and looking at it will certainly motivate me to continue to make a difference. —Corinne Kozmitzki, 2012 Team COSA Recipient
"I am so deeply touched that I was even nominated for the COSA, let alone chosen to be a winner. There are so many hard-working and dedicated staff on campus, that it's hard to imagine that I would be in such distinguished company. Also, I'm very grateful that the campus has such an award to give staff like me a chance to recognize those I work with in turn. It's a wonderful honor."—Shareena Samson, 2012 Individual COSA Recipient