Faculty & Staff Awards

Celebration of Excellence

In an effort to centralize the majority of faculty/staff awards previously presented at separate events such as Convocation* (Fall), Provost and Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony (Spring), and the Employee Recognition Ceremony (Spring), and to create a more cohesive and inclusive celebration of all Western employees, a new awards event, the “Celebration of Excellence,” will be held annually in the late spring. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the June 5, 2020 awards ceremony and reception was postponed and the virtual event was a live broadcast held on Friday, October 23, 2020. Click on this link to Celebration of Excellence event page to view the video replay, view or download the PDF program, or view the WWU Employee Mosaic. 

This virtual event included a presentation all of the faculty and staff awards listed below, and also recognition for employees reaching service milestones (recognition begins with the fifth year of continuous employment at WWU, and every five years after that) and employees that have retired over the past year.

*Convocation will still be held at the start of each academic year, it will just no longer include an employee awards portion.


Click each award for more information, including past awardees, award criteria, nomination information and more.

Award Recipients (by year)

The Arlan Norman Award for Excellence recognizes a faculty member in the College of Science and Engineering for excellence in mentoring student research. The financial award goes to the student(s) of the faculty member’s in the form of a stipend plus additional funds for supplies to support the student recipient’s summer research.

Nominations OpenFacultyResearch

The Equity and Inclusion Achievement Award* recognizes a student, staff, faculty member or office for outstanding contributions to advancing inclusive student, faculty or staff success, enhancing academic excellence, and/or increasing Western’s impact in Washington within the context of equity and inclusion.

Nominations OpenFacultyStaff

The Outstanding Classified Staff Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies a positive and creative approach to problem solving and innovation that significantly advances departmental goals and/or the university mission through initiative, leadership or scholarly or creative work that contributes to Western's learning community. With the support of the President, the two classified staff unions on campus (WFSE and PSE) together select one of their members to receive this award.

Nominations OpenStaff

The Western Washington University Philip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award, named in honor of former WWU Board of Trustee member and active community volunteer Phil Sharpe, is given annually to a faculty or staff member (or group of Western employees) involved in outstanding community service, including outreach and engagement activities that benefit the well-being of the community at large or individual(s) in the community. 

Examples of service:

Nominations OpenFacultyStaff

The President’s Exceptional Effort Awards are presented to eight Professional or Classified employees, across all four divisions, in recognition of performance that demonstrates exceptional effort in one or more of the listed criteria. Nominations are currently OPEN for the 2021 award. Please click on this link to the President's Exceptional Effort Award Nomination Form to submit a nomination.

Nominations OpenFacultyStaff

The Professional Staff Organization Award for Excellence recognizes a member of the professional staff whose work has promoted Western's strategic plan objectives to advance inclusive success, enhance academic excellence, and/or increase Western's impact in Washington.

Nominations OpenStaff

The Team Recognition Award recognizes a team of staff and faculty who exemplify cooperation, collaboration, and open communication. The team receiving the award must be comprised of supportive team players who actively worked in partnership on a project that significantly advanced university mission and strategic plan goals to advance inclusive success, enhance academic excellence, and/or increase Western's impact in Washington State.

Nominations OpenFacultyStaff

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.

Nominations ClosedFacultyStaff

This award for excellent teaching goes to a faculty member from one of the following colleges: 

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

Nominations ClosedFaculty

The Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award recognizes a WWU faculty member who has made outstanding and impactful efforts that have enriched the intellectual vitality of the campus and/or the broader community.  This work may include service to the University, to service-learning programs, to outreach programs to the local and broader community, and service to the profession. 

Nominations ClosedFaculty

The Western Alumni Association has partnered with the Office of the Provost to request nominations from WWU alumni for the Outstanding Faculty Mentor of the Year Award. A “call for nominations” is sent to all alumni in the WWU alumni database, inviting them to submit the name of a faculty member who made an impact on their life as a student and describe in detail why that person deserves this distinguished recognition. 

Nominations ClosedFaculty

One Outstanding Scholarship Award is given each year to a faculty member from one of the following colleges in recognition of their excellent record of scholarship and research at Western:

  • Business and Economics,
  • Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies,
  • Fine and Performing Arts,
  • Huxley College of the Environment,
  • Woodring College of Education
  • Western Libraries

Nominations ClosedFaculty

A faculty member from either the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or the College of Science and Engineering is selected each year in recognition for their impressive record of achievement in scholarship and research during their time at Western. While the award is intended to recognize all of one’s excellence in scholarship while at Western, supporting research and scholarship materials from the candidate shall be limited to no more than five years, but should include the last three.

Nominations ClosedResearch

The Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award, named for Western’s former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is given to a faculty member from either the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or the College of Science and Engineering, in recognition for their exemplary teaching practices. 

Nominations ClosedFaculty

The Ronald Kleinknecht Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually to one instructor or visiting faculty member from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences who has made outstanding contributions to teaching at WWU. The award was established by Ronald A. Kleinknecht, the founding dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Nominations ClosedFaculty