DUE Epitome Award celebrates staff and faculty’s dedication to students


Now in its second year, the DUE Epitome Award is based on nominations submitted by students and is given to faculty and staff who have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward student support.

Christina Downey, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education and dean of University College, established the campuswide award in spring 2023.

“This award is a wonderful way of showcasing appreciation for the time and efforts that are put in by these exemplary staff and faculty members,” Downey said.

This year’s award recipients were celebrated at the annual Division of Undergraduate Education awards ceremony on April 17.

Caroline Bailey

Resident Faculty Award Recipient

Bailey serves as an assistant professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Specifically, Bailey’s work encompasses research that studies on factors related to disparate incomes experienced by people of color and mechanisms of social control.

A student who nominated Bailey described her as an exceptional professor.

“One of the most fun and interesting professors I’ve had!" they stated in the nomination. "Keeps class interesting and is clearly extremely knowledgeable in the subject. Made me want to get my doctorate!”

"Being able to interact with students has been one of the biggest highlights of my job. I consider it a privilege to work alongside our students, and I deeply appreciate their willingness to take time out of their busy schedules to nominate me for the Epitome Award. I receive this award with great humility and honor, and I look forward to continuing to be a resource available to students.” Caroline Bailey

Sara Coers

Adjunct Faculty Award Recipient

With 15 years of experience in commercial real estate appraisal, Coers serves as a lecturer in real estate at the Kelley School of Business and is the associate director of the IU Center for Real Estate Studies. Before joining Kelley, Coers was named Instructor of the Year at the Institue for Professionals in Taxation’s Real Property Tax School in 2015.

A student nominator for Coers wrote, “You will not find another professor out there that treats their students with so much respect and has so much passion for teaching. In Sara's commercial real estate workshop class, she makes it known from the start that she is here for the students. She speaks with us on weekends, even on Sunday nights, when we have a question about our case. Sara is always willing to go the extra mile to put her students first.”

"I am incredibly proud to win the DUE Epitome Award. Getting to know my students as people and helping them find opportunities and success in the real estate industry is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It is an honor to teach and mentor these students, so being recognized for what I love to do is icing on the cake for me.” —Sara Coers

Danielle McMillan

Staff Award Recipient

Since relocating to Indianapolis six years ago from Saginaw, Michigan, McMillan has continued to utilize her passion for assisting students in higher education through several mentor positions. In addition to being coordinator for the Norman Brown Diversity and Leadership Scholarship Program, McMillan is also an adjunct instructor with the communications department at Ivy Tech Community College.

A student nomination for McMillan stated, “Ms. Danielle is an exemplary staff member who consistently goes above and beyond to support every Norman Brown Scholar. Her dedication to the students is evident in her graceful approach and unwavering encouragement for each scholar to become a positive contributor to society. Ms. Danielle's commitment to the well-being and development of the scholars sets her apart, making her a deserving nominee for her exceptional efforts in fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for the entire community.”

"It's truly an honor to receive this award from students. I am blessed to be able to continue the cycle of support as a mentor to others. I had amazing mentors who have influenced my academic journey, and now I am able to pay it forward by being that guiding figure for others.”

—Danielle McMillan

Downey is hopeful that the award’s existence will continue to serve as an example to students of the dedication and care that staff and faculty have toward student success.

“I really do hope that this award will display to students the significance they hold in this community and that they are ultimately what makes this campus what it is,” Downey said.

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at duecomm@iupui.edu.