Excellence in Teaching Award

This award for Excellent in Teaching goes to a faculty member* from one of the following colleges: 

  • Business and Economics
  • Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Fine and Performing Arts
  • The College of the Environment
  • Woodring College of Education

*Please Note: Only Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, or Professors are eligible for this award. (Instructors, Lecturers, Senior Instructors are not eligible. Please check the staff directory for faculty titles.)

Selection Criteria

The criteria that will be considered include:

  • Inspirational/Transformational and value of learning for career/life decisions/etc.
  • Vision, purpose, and intentionality for teaching
  • Engagement beyond class, mentoring student (students, other faculty, etc.)
  • Innovative pedagogy, continual development
  • Overall awesomeness


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in May. This award also includes a payment of $2,500, made possible by the Western Washington University Foundation. (Please note: for each payment, the University also contributes approximately $1,553.66 for tax related deductibles plus benefits for a total expenditure of approximately $3,553 per award).

Award Administration

The College of the Environment and Woodring College of Education (rotates)

For 2024, the College of the Environment will be administering the award and the points of contact are Sarah Taylor, taylo337@wwu.edu and Elizabeth Serrano, serrane3@wwu.edu.

Nomination Process

Students, alumni, faculty and staff members are encouraged to nominate faculty members (Professors, Assistant Professors, or Associate Professors) for the Excellence in Teaching Award via the online nomination form by the deadline. Nominations for this award are now CLOSED. Thank you to those who took the time to nominate someone!


Aquila Flower wearing a WWU medallion on a neck ribbon with vibrant green trees in the background

Aquila Flower - Environmental Studies

Associate Professor Aquila Flower is a geographer and ecologist whose research focuses on the forest, alpine, and coastal ecosystems of the Salish Sea and Cascadia bioregions. Flower uses methods drawn from geographic information science (GIS), statistics, ecology, and dendrochronology to explore long-term patterns of environmental change. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications as well as the fully open-access Salish Sea Atlas. 

Flower teaches geography, GIS, climate science, and biogeography classes. She is the program lead and faculty advisor for WWU’s GIS certificate, GIS minor, and climate change minor. As a teacher, she is deeply committed to her students’ success both in the classroom and in their future careers as environmental professionals. She is fascinated by creative pedagogical approaches and uses a combination of alternative grading models, active learning strategies, incremental knowledge acquisition, and a range of technological tools to create an engaging, interactive, and empathetic classroom culture that fosters curiosity and critical thinking.  

Past Awardees

1 awardee(s) for this year

2022 Awardees

Dolores Calderón wearing WWU award medallion

Dolores Calderón - Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Dolores Calderón (J.D., Ph.D.) is an associate professor at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western Washington University. Calderón teaches in the Law, Diversity and Justice Program and the Education and Social Justice Minor. As a researcher who embodies the complicated subjectivities of the U.S./Mexico border—Mexican (arrivant/immigrant), Indigenous (Tigua Pueblo), and U.S. citizen—Calderón is interested in researching and participating in work that untangles and unpacks the complicated way multiple colonialisms impact decolonial practices in education, including the classroom.

She is from the El Paso/Juarez border region where her family (Mexican & Tigua) have lived since the 1680s. Her research interests include coloniality/settler colonialisms, land education, and border issues as they manifest themselves in educational contexts. Some of her research projects include examining how settler colonial ideologies manifest themselves social studies curriculum, in teacher education, and teacher professional development. As a firm believer that theory is best illuminated by engagement, she values the work educators do to concretize critical perspectives. Specifically, while Calderón’s teaching offers critical perspectives, Calderón emphasizes that theory is best illuminated by practice, encouraging students to explore engaged community and policy work.