Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award

The Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award is made annually to a student, staff or faculty member who has created bridges and forged new paths that others may follow and build upon in turn.  During his twenty-five years working at Western as a professor and administrator, Carl H. Simpson was a man dedicated to bridging intellectual, interpersonal and administrative worlds.  With kindness, enthusiasm and creativity, he sought to unite divisions within academia, faculty, staff, students and administrative campus life.  Carl helped people come together and facilitated creative process in a variety of settings.  He acknowledged people’s strengths and encouraged them to trust themselves, helping people find and give their best.

The Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award is intended to benefit a WWU student, staff, or faculty member who has demonstrated a remarkable ability or innovative approach that effectively connects some aspect of academic or campus life with another, resulting in the betterment the Western community. Some recent examples: developing a new style of teaching to improve the quality of education; developing interdisciplinary study or intercampus diplomacy; creating supportive service; or mentoring others. 

Selection Criteria

The following criteria and policies are meant to secure comprehensive evaluation:

  • Any current WWU faculty member, staff member or student is eligible.
  • No person shall receive this award more than once.
  • Only the name of the award recipient will be announced upon completion of the process; the names of other nominees and candidates shall not be published at any time during or after the process.
  • Nominees will be asked if they wish to be considered, and, if so, will be required to submit supporting materials to the evaluation committee.
  • The award is for creating bridges and forging new paths that others may follow and build upon in turn  and supporting materials should relate to this theme.
  • To secure consistency in the evaluation process nominees may be asked to submit the following materials.
    • A current vita. 
    • Materials related to “bridging”-related contributions while at Western.
    • The candidate will solicit up to five letters of support. The letters should register the impact of the candidate’s leadership activities.  Letters of support should be sent directly to the Dean’s office administering the award.
    • The candidate will provide up to three pages describing aspects of his/her “bridging”-type activities that may not be covered by the requested materials.


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in June. This award of also includes a payment of $1,000* from an endowment established by the Simpson family.

Award Administration

Fairhaven Dean’s Office

Nomination Process

The evaluation committee will evaluate all materials secured through all processes and make its selection according to its best judgment. Faculty on leave in the year of nomination may choose to defer the nomination to the following academic year. Nominees from the previous year may elect to remain under consideration for the subsequent year and resubmit supporting materials.

Nominations open in the fall and are due on December 1. Nominations are currently CLOSED for the 2021 award.


Photo of Lindsey MacDonaldLindsey MacDonald - WWU Sustainable Communities Program

Lindsey MacDonald was hired to coordinate Western’s Sustainable Communities Partnership Program in 2017. She has maintained partnership work while also teaching courses within the Sustainability Minor, and she is now serving as Interim Director for the Office of Sustainability.  

In her Sustainable Communities Partnership role, she connects community challenges with Western student energy and faculty expertise. She seeks opportunities for collaboration across traditional siloes wherever she can. These partnerships have included courses, independent studies, field work, and internships focused on community-identified projects. Some of the partner communities include City of Ferndale, Skagit County, City of Stanwood, east Whatcom County, City of Bellingham, City of Bainbridge Island, City of Monroe, and City or Arlington. Partnerships have engaged Bellingham and Western on the Peninsulas campus students and faculty. Lindsey is passionate about convening groups of people with different life experience, expertise, and passions to work together for positive social change.    

Lindsey has her BA and MS from the University of Michigan, where she found her passion for sustainability, leadership, education, and connection work.  

Past Awardees


Photo of Jessica CohenJessica S. Cohen - Mathematics

Jessica Cohen joined Western’s Mathematics Department in 2010 as a specialist in mathematics education. She teaches courses for preservice teachers and traditional mathematics courses. 

Her scholarship focuses on professional development of preservice and inservice teachers and higher education faculty, with an emphasis on incorporating the same research-based effective teaching practices across all grade levels. Jessica strives to connect teacher education, the STEM disciplines, and the regional K-12 community in her work.

During her time at Western, Jessica has had the opportunity to partner with faculty in her own department, the College of Science and Engineering, Woodring College of Education, and with curriculum directors and math coaches in regional public schools on a number of projects.  These include the Middle School Math Partnership, professional development for middle school math teachers in Whatcom and Skagit counties; Change at the CORE, professional development for CSE faculty; an AFT Innovation project joining preservice teachers and their mentor teachers for common professional development experiences; and Advancing Equity and Excellence in Science, professional development for CSE faculty with a focus on fostering equitable classrooms. Jessica is grateful for the many opportunities to connect across campus and with the community, and for the growth this inspires in her own practice, both as a teacher and as a facilitator.

Jessica received her PhD in Mathematics from Oregon State University.  She and her husband, a middle school teacher, are parents to two boys, ages six and three.