Faculty & Staff Awards

A sunny lawn in the background and a Western bronzed medallion in the foreground

Celebration of Excellence

Western's faculty and staff awards are presented at the Celebration of Excellence awards event typically held in the late spring. The Call for Nominations typically goes out in the fall, with several faculty-focused awards opening in October, and the other awards opening in November. 

Please see the "Awards" section below for a listing of all awards and to link to each individual awards page for further information and nomination form links when open.

Go to Celebration of Excellence Event Page

The following faculty and staff awards are presented annually at the Celebration of Excellence awards event held in the spring. Please click on each award for more information, including award criteria, nomination instructions, and past recipients.


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

Award Recipients (by year)

Nominations OpenFacultyResearch

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.

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.

Nominations OpenFacultyStaff

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 OpenStaff

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

Nominations OpenFaculty

The Western Alumni Association requests nominations from WWU alumni for the Outstanding Faculty Mentor of the Year Award. Alumni submit nominations for a current or retired Western faculty member who made an enduring impact on their life as a student. 

Nominations OpenFacultyStaff

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 five divisions, who have demonstrated an exceptional effort in support of one or more of the three core themes of the strategic plan: Advancing Inclusive Success, Increasing Washington Impact, and/or Enhancing Academic Excellence. 

Nominations OpenStaff

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 OpenFacultyStaff

The Team Recognition Award recognizes a team of Western employees who exemplify cooperation, collaboration, and open communication. The team receiving the award must be comprised of a core group of integral team players who actively worked in partnership on a project that significantly advanced one or more of the three core themes of the strategic plan: Advancing Inclusive Success, Increasing Washington Impact, and/or Enhancing Academic Excellence.

Nominations ClosedFacultyStaff

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 ClosedFaculty

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

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

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:

Nominations ClosedResearch

Named after the eleventh president of Western, the Paul J. Olscamp Research Award goes to a faculty member from either the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or the College of Science and Engineering in recognition of their impressive record of achievement in scholarship and research during their time at Western.

Nominations ClosedFaculty

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.