Arlan Norman Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring

The Arlan Norman Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring recognizes a faculty member in the College of Science and Engineering for excellence in mentoring student research.

NEW! There are now two categories of this award, one award will go to a Graduate Mentor ($7,200) and one to an Undergraduate Mentor ($6,000). The financial award goes to the students of the faculty recipients, in the form of a stipend plus additional funds for supplies to support the student’s summer research.

Dr. Arlan Norman, beloved founding Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology (now College of Science and Engineering) passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, July 31, 2021. This award was near and dear to Arlie's heart and is truly a fitting tribute to his legacy and is one of the most important for the College of Science and Engineering. It lives on in perpetuity in Arlie’s name as a true testament to his life’s work: promoting, supporting, and celebrating excellence in research

Selection Criteria

The faculty awardees (one as Graduate Mentor, one as Undergraduate Mentor) will have a demonstrated record of mentoring student research as evidenced by student co-authored conference presentations, student co-authored peer reviewed publications in high quality journals and proceedings, and other evidence of student success such as research awards, fellowships, etc.

The faculty awardee will select a student from their research group to receive the corresponding funds for research associated with this award based upon a demonstrated merit and outstanding promise in student research. Multiple people may be nominated from a department or program.


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in June. Funds are provided to the student in the form of a summer stipend (Up to $7,200 for graduate, and $6,000 for undergraduate).

The Fund’s distribution may be used to pay any costs related to educational expenses, including, but not limited to: tuition, books, materials/supplies, summer research support or conference presentation attendance and travel, etc. The expenditures will be the responsibility of Western Washington University, acting through the designee of the President of the University.

Award Administration

College of Science & Engineering

Nomination Process

Nominations will be made by the Department Chairs or Program Directors each fall quarter with each of the two awards being presented at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in June. To nominate someone, please submit a nomination letter and the candidate’s CV from Department Chair or Program Director to the Dean of College of Science & Engineering via email to Heather Greenlaw ( The nomination letter should address the award criteria described in the award description above. Nominations are due Friday, February 11, 2022.

Awardee selection will be in accordance with an approved process by the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering and the Dean of the Graduate School. Nominations are now OPEN for the 2022 award. Please contact CSE with any specific questions about this award.


Mark Bussell, Chemistry sits outside wearing his awards medalMark Bussell - Chemistry

Mark Bussell joined the faculty in 1990 and is a Professor of Chemistry, while also being affiliated with the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center and the Institute for Energy Studies. Mark is a native of the Pacific Northwest and obtained a B.A. in chemistry from Reed College and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.  Mark’s research interests lie in the heterogeneous catalysis of energy-relevant processes, with particular focus on the development of catalytic materials to produce clean and renewable fuels.  His research has attracted more than $3 million in external research funding from federal agencies and private foundations.  Mark has mentored 62 undergraduate and 17 M.S. research students and 46 of these former students have pursued graduate or professional degrees.  Two of his M.S. student mentees received the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award (1994, 2005), and two undergraduate student mentees received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships (2014, 2017). Mark served two terms each on the Science Advisory Committee of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA, 2005-2011) and the Petroleum Research Fund Advisory Board of the American Chemical Society (ACS-PRF, 2012-2017), and he recently completed two terms on the RCSA Cottrell Scholar Program Committee (2015-2020).

Past Awardees


Robert Mitchell of Geology standing in front of green shrubbery wearing his award medallionRobert Mitchell - Department of Geology

Bob is the Digges Distinguished Professor of Engineering Geology in the Geology Department, where he has been a faculty member since 1996. His hydrology-related research includes assessing agricultural impacts on ground-water quality, characterizing aquifers, and modeling the effects of climate change on mountain hydrology and hillslope processes in the western Cascades. Bob’s research has involved more than 30 graduate students and has been instrumental to management and policy decisions regarding water quantity and quality for regional tribes, regulatory agencies, and municipalities. He works hard to provide student access to professional experiences and geologic licensing and serves as faculty advisor, for WWU’s student chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists. Bob has held leadership positions in state and national professional organizations and currently serves on the Board of the Environmental & Engineering Division of the Geological Society of America.