The Indiana University School of Medicine created the Deb Cowley Staff Leadership Award in 2018 to recognize a professional staff employee who demonstrates a contribution to faculty assistance, coaching and/or development. Support of the success of faculty in the IU School of Medicine is of paramount importance. This award encourages and reinforces behaviors that support faculty success. This award is in recognition of the support model demonstrated by Deb Cowley during her tenure at IU School of Medicine. The school will support up to two awards annually. Awards will be funded through Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity.

Current Winner(s)


LeeAnn Parker

The 2021 Deb Cowley Staff Leadership Award winner is LeeAnn Parker, Director, Clinical Education and Clerkships, IUSM-Evansville.

2021 Awardee

Jason Shine

The 2021 Deb Cowley Staff Leadership Award winner is Jason Shine, Program Director, Office of Research Imaging.



  • Provide a visible and powerful way to communicate and reinforce those behaviors, achievements and outcomes most important to supporting the success of faculty in the IU School of Medicine.
  • Encourage assistance, development, and coaching of the faculty.
  • Recognize and reward outstanding contribution.


Outstanding performance that may merit a bonus includes:

The IU School of Medicine Deb Cowley Staff Leadership Award is an annual award for full-time IU School of Medicine staff who have made an extraordinary* contribution to the success of a faculty member.  This award is not a substitute for a base salary increase, a temporary pay increase, or an equity adjustment.  It is intended to reward those members of our staff for a specific instance where they assisted, coached, and/or developed faculty.

  • Assistance: partners with the faculty member on a complex organizational issue or project that advances the tripartite mission (education, patient care, and research). Outcomes that better allow faculty to work at the top of their license or overcome administrative hurdles to achieve professional goals. (e.g. process improvement project leadership)
  • Coaching: solves an administrative/faculty affairs/human resources problem by providing counsel, resources, and tools. Outcomes may include creative solutions to complex faculty affairs issues, the ability to influence others and challenge the status quo when necessary (e.g. leading a faculty member or group through change management, organizational development, or performance management issues)
  • Development: helps a faculty member achieve career goals such as advancement, award, new/renewed funding, professional development, or scholarship through the coordination of counseling, development, mentorship, review, or scientific/scholarly activities and programs

*Extraordinary contributions are above and beyond the usual responsibilities, occur over a finite period of time, and do not recur on a regular basis.



  • Employees must hold a full-time appointed position within IUSM and be employed on the date the payment is awarded
  • Vice chairs excluded given eligibility for other staff awards
  • Employees must have a minimum of one year of service in IUSM
  • Employees must have a current written performance evaluation (within the last 12 months) on file
  • The extraordinary contributions must have been made within 12-18 months prior to the nomination
  • Employees must not have current (within the last 12 months) corrective action
  • Employees must not have a current performance improvement plan



A lump-sum Discretionary Bonus payment(s) of up to $3,000 for a maximum of two staff employees in a fiscal year may be considered. Payments will be distributed in the fall of each fiscal year. Each award recipient will be honored with a monetary award and all finalists will be highlighted on the FAPDD website.


Nomination Process:

  • A staff member may be nominated during the annual call for nominations.
  • Any member of the faculty or staff may nominate any staff employee within the IU School of Medicine.
  • If a nominator is not the nominee’s supervisor, a letter of support from the supervisor is required.
  • The nomination letter, including supporting documentation (performance evaluation and supervisor letter if applicable), should be submitted. Nominations will be considered active for two cycles.


Selection Process:

  • A review committee comprised of leaders from IU School of Medicine Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity (FAPDD) and IU School of Medicine Human Resources, with at least three ad hoc members, will determine the most deserving nominations of up to two awards annually.
  • Once selected, awardees will be notified by email with a cc to the supervisor.


Past Winners
Year Name
2019 Awardee Tara Hobson, MA, Graduate Programs and Student Success Director
2019 Awardee Christine A. McDonald, Department of Medicine Administrative Director
2018 Awardee Neelam Chand, Human Resources & Academic Administration Director
2018 Awardee Linda Bratcher, Graduate Medical Education Director