Professional Staff Award for Excellence

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. This may be through one or more of the following: exceptional communication and interpersonal skills; exceptional integrity, professionalism and job performance that inspires excellence in others; exceptional dedication to encouraging initiative, creativity, and exploration of new ideas through work and interaction with others.


The award recipient will be presented with a Western medallion award at the Celebration of Excellence Awards in June. They will also receive an engraved paperweight, and the recipient’s name added to the PSO Employee Excellence Award plaque housed in the Wilson Library Reading Room.

Award Administration

Professional Staff Organization

Nomination Process

The nomination process for the 2021 award is currently CLOSED. Thank you to those who nominated a colleague.

Additional Information


Photo of Justina Brown, ATUSJustina Brown - ATUS

Justina Brown, M.Ed, is an instructional designer in the ATUS Teaching, Learning, & Technology division, and directs the Center for Instructional Innovation, WWU’s teaching and learning center. She leads faculty professional development efforts, creates online resources to support best practices and promote teaching excellence, and supports faculty use of innovations in their teaching. 

In this role, she found herself perfectly poised--along with the team assembled from ATUS, OCE, and the Library-- to be at the fulcrum of support for faculty during the monumental pivot to teaching remotely this past spring and summer.  

Since 1999, the annual Innovative Teaching Showcase has been one of Justina's most enjoyable and challenging projects, featuring exceptional teaching practices of over 70 WWU instructors. A compliment to the Showcase is the Teaching Handbook, a resource she has developed for 20 years. 

Justina has worked to promote open educational practices at Western. She was the project director for a $36,000 Washington State grant to help faculty replace high‐cost textbooks with free and openly-licensed materials--saving about 2,000 students over $270,000 in the first year alone. 

Justina also teaches a first-year seminar (FIG), where students examine issues of diversity, class, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual identity, and mental health from different perspectives.  

Photo of Shevell Thibou, Western LibrariesShevell Thibou - Western Libraries

Shevell Thibou completed her B.A. and M.Ed at Western Washington University, and joined Western Libraries in January of 2012. During her time at Western she has served in various positions including the Learning Commons Coordinator, Assistant Director of the Learning Commons, and Head of the Teaching-Learning Academy. She currently occupies the role of Director of Teaching and Learning while serving as an instructor in the Adult & Higher Education graduate program. 

Shevell’s contributions align particularly well with Western’s goals to foster a caring and supportive environment where all members are respected and treated fairly, and in Western’s pursuit of justice and equity in its policies, practices, and impacts. Shevell looks forward to continuing her collaborations within the Social Justice and Equity Committee, the Structural Equity & Bias Response Team, and other opportunities focused on dismantling the inequities present within our teaching and learning community.

Photo of Wayne Galloway, Facilities ManagementWayne Galloway - Facilities Management

Wayne Galloway’s passion for Western Washington University’s custodial teams has powered his determination to establish team building, leadership development, and top notch customer service skills since he joined the Facilities Management team in Fall of 2016.  His personal attention and care for the university’s custodial staff has created a cohesive, respectful, and caring team. To accomplish this, Wayne meets frequently with the teams and ensures that all custodians are given the opportunity to advance their skills by training for certifications in the custodial trade from ISSA and IICRC. Due to his experience as a Master Water Restorer, FM was able to create the Water Damage Response Team that quickly responded to flooding events and minimize the long term impact, as seen in VU and ES Floods of 2019. 

Thanks to Wayne’s leadership, the custodial teams are well known for quickly handling all building service concerns or needs of the WWU community. Team members are recognized in quarterly Certificate of Appreciation events. 

Past Awardees


Photo of Catherine ShornickCatherine Shornick - CHSS

Catherine started in the College of Arts and Sciences the day ground was broken for the Communications Building in 2002, and later assisted as CAS split into the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Sciences and Technology (now Science and Engineering). Catherine became the CHSS Assistant to the Dean and Operations Manager in 2010 after working closely with her predecessor Esther Harris. During her time in the college Catherine worked with five different deans (four in the last six years); as well, she completed her degree in Creative Writing and Communication Studies as an Outstanding Graduate and Presidential Scholar.

She effectively helped navigate the college through implementation of the first and subsequent versions of the faculty bargaining agreement, budgetary ups and downs, new fiscal and travel systems, and shifts in pressures and trends in higher education. Throughout, Catherine has advocated for staff, always vigilant against increased workloads as new policies and procedures were implemented. As a classified staff member, she served on the union bargaining team, and as professional staff she served on the PSO Executive Committee for several years, continuing her efforts toward broad inclusion and equal footing for all Western staff members. Catherine looks forward to retiring in October, 2019.

Photo of Tim McLaughlinTim McLaughlin - Enterprise Infrastructure Services

Tim is an Automation Engineer for Enterprise Infrastructure Services, where he has worked since 2001. Over that time, his responsibilities have ranged from installing and updating hardware and operating systems, to helping WWU enter the world of server virtualization, to working with containerized and cloud applications.  Tim’s recent work includes implementing an application stack for monitoring important metrics from a wide variety of systems, applications, and processes.  As the use of technology in education continues to get more and more pervasive, the need for better metrics also grows.  This project, using standard tools like Grafana and Prometheus, allows trends and issues to be more visible. Better visibility allows the team to address those issues and to prevent future occurrences.

Tim enjoys tackling new challenges and figuring out how to utilize tools and code to enable his small team to do big things.  He feels privileged to work with a very intelligent group people and with leadership that allows the team to explore options for solving problems. Tim earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Western in 1996.  When he’s not at work, he enjoys reading, community theatre, and playing table games with his wife and their two sons.