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 for a listing of all awards and to link to each individual awards page for further information and nomination form links when open.

View past Celebration of Excellence livestreams

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

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)

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.

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, which contributes to Western's learning community. With the support of the President, the two classified staff unions on campus (WFSE and PSE) together select members to receive this award.

Nominations OpenStaff

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 OpenFaculty

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 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 Western employees who exemplify cooperation, collaboration, and open communication.

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 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 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. 

*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.)

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