Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award

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. 


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in June. The recipient will also receive a payment for $1,000, made possible by the Western Washington University Foundation. (Please note: for each payment, the University also contributes approximately $421 for tax related deductibles plus benefits for a total expenditure of approximately $1,421 per award).

Award Administration

College of Business and Economics Dean's Office

Nomination Process

Nominations must include:

Nominee’s name
Nominee’s department
Nomination statement/letter of recommendation (approximately 1-2 pages) about why this faculty member is being nominated for this award

Nominator information including:

Your name
Your email address or telephone number
Indication of whether you are a current student, alumni, faculty member or staff member

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


Photo of Keith Russell, Health & Human DevelopmentKeith Russell - Health & Human Development

Since his arrival to Western in 2008, Keith has taken on many leadership roles to serve his program, department, the university, his profession, and the community at large. He is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Health and Human Development and a faculty member in the nationally accredited Recreation Degree Program. Keith’s colleagues extol his excellent skills in listening, facilitating discussion, resolving conflict, and communicating empathy to students, staff, and faculty. It is important to note that he was chair throughout the time when the faculty members in HHD were displaced from and relocated back to the Carver Academic Facility. The temporary location of faculty offices and laboratories, spread around campus provided many challenges that Keith successfully managed. Dr. Russell’s publications focus on the design, implementation and evaluation of educational and therapeutic nature-based programs for youth. He is a co-author of the recent text titled Adventure Therapy: Theory, Research and Practice (Routledge Mental Health) with Michael Gass and Lee Gillis. His over 50 publications have appeared in Psychotherapy, Group Dynamics, Mindfulness, Journal of Health Services Psychology, and Child and Youth Care Forum

Past Awardees


Photo of Karen Rohrbauck StoutKaren Rohrbauck Stout - Leadership Studies & Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership

Karen Rohrbauck Stout received her BA from the University of Puget Sound, her M.A. from The University of Montana, and her Ph.D. from the University of Utah.

She joined the Communication Studies department at Western in 2000. Through a variety of service, volunteer, and committee positions on campus and off, she has developed a lengthy list of leadership experiences. Most notably, she served as the President of the Northwest Communication Association in 2008 (which is a small regional conference devoted to fostering undergraduate research), two consecutive terms as the President of the Faculty Senate (after many years of service as a Senator and Secretary to the Executive Council), and 6 years on the Executive Board for the United Faculty of Western Washington. In 2014 she became the director of the Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership and the Bowman Distinguished Professor of Leadership. In this role, she advises students in the Leadership Studies minor, teaches GUR classes on leadership, supervises a small group of adjunct Leadership Studies faculty, and provides leadership related programming for the campus and community. Her most important leadership role at Western is to foster students’ personal development so that they can become the leaders they want in order to effect the social change most important to them.

Stout has received a career achievement award for her service to the Northwest Communication Association and teaching awards from the International Communication Association and the National Society of Leadership and Success among other honors.