Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

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. 

Nomiations for the 2023 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award are currently OPEN. If you are a Western alum, please look for the call for nominations email or link directly to the online nomination form.

Selection Criteria

  • Candidates may be current or retired WWU faculty members.
  • Visiting faculty are not eligible.


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in May.

Award Administration

Western Alumni Association

Nomination Process

A “call for nominations” email is sent to all alumni in the WWU alumni database in the fall, 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. If you are a WWU alumni, please look for the email from the "WWU Alumni Association" with the link to the nomination form. If you did not receive the email, please contact the WWU Alumni Association at alumni@wwu.edu or use the link listed above.

Additional Information


Wayne Landis wearing WWU award medallion

Wayne Landis - Institute of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry

Wayne Landis served as Director of the Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry from September 1989 until December 2021. He is now a Research Professor within the Institute that is part of the now College of the Environment. He graduated with a BA in Biology from Wake Forest University and his MA and Ph. D. in Zoology from Indiana University. His first research position was as a Research Biologist, Toxicologist for the Chemical Research and Engineering Center of the US Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. At WWU his research and teaching focused on toxicology, population biology and risk assessment. Since arriving at WWU, his group has published over 140 papers and books, most with students as coauthors and many with undergraduate or graduate student first authors. He also taught three Honors courses on the history of the formulation of Evolution by natural selection and the scientific and cultural impacts of synthetic biology brought about by CRISPR technology. Since 1990 he has been a regular at the Noontime Basketball Association at Carver (now at the Rec Center) and enjoys flying light aircraft. When he got the announcement of the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award he could not think of a better recognition from Western.

Past Awardees

1 awardee(s) for this year

2021 Awardees

Photo of Heather Davidson, Communications Studies

Heather Davidson - Communications Studies

Heather obtained her BA in Communication Studies and her MEd. in Adult and Higher Education from WWU (2009, 2012). She returned to her alma mater in 2014 as non-tenured faculty in the Department of Communication Studies and has since served as a leader, mentor, and support system for thousands of students. She has served as a Community Engagement Faculty Fellow, a DEI workshop facilitator, and is known as a campus leader for her use of empathy to enhance positive student outcomes. Her facilitation of over 10,000 hours of service-learning in the Bellingham community has fostered employment connections between numerous alumni and local employers. She also developed and directed the student-led #WeAreWWU campaign, raising over $50k in support of Western programs, scholarships, and student services. Countless graduates have found meaningful employment and post-graduate programs because of her mentorship and recommendations on their behalf, many of whom nominated her for this honor. Though she was recently informed that her contract will not be renewed due to seniority and departmental needs, she is grateful to take this final laurel with her as her professional journey continues to develop.