Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

Excellence in teaching is a hallmark of Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services. To recognize and sustain that tradition, Dean Earlie M. Washington continues the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, established by former Dean Dr. Janet Pisaneschi in 1997. A call for nominations goes out in the spring of each year. The recipient is named in the spring and honored at a college-wide celebration in November or December.

Nomination Form

Award criteria

The award will relate to teaching excellence in one or more of the following areas:

  • Classroom teaching
  • Creative or innovative work as regards teaching, fieldwork, or supervision
  • Teaching that involves interdisciplinary or collaborative activity

Excellence in performance must be described in the nomination. Nominations should address the particular characteristics of excellence—including specific examples that address the criteria—which define exemplary work. In the case of a team award, preference will be given to interdisciplinary teams over disciplinary teams, and it must be evident that all members of the team contributed equally and that a greater result was achieved as a result of the team endeavor.

As a guideline, higher learning, which is an end-product of teaching excellence, has been defined by Tom Angelo as, "an active, interactive, self-aware process that results in meaningful, long-lasting changes—knowledge, understanding, skills, behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, opinions or values—that cannot be attributed primarily to maturation."

Who can submit a nomination?

  • WMU faculty, staff and students
  • WMU alumni and community members

Who is eligible for nomination?

  • All College bargaining unit faculty members, who are tenured or on tenure track, and term faculty

Who is not eligible for nomination?

  • Unit chairs and directors
  • Former recipients


The recipient will receive a cash award of $1,000 gross, a certificate and recognition on a plague on display at the college. This recipient will also be asked to engage the audience of students and their family members and friends in a 15 minute mini-lecture/presentation at the Dean's List Reception in April of the following year.

Previous award recipients

  • Mary Stahl, 2013-14—nursing
  • Helen Lee, 2012-13—blindness and low vision studies
  • Linda Reeser, 2011-12—social work
  • Sally Vliem, 2010-11—nursing
  • Phil Walcott, 2009-10—physician assistant
  • Carla Chase, 2008-09—occupational therapy
  • Diane Hamilton, 2006-07—nursing
  • Sandra Edwards, 2005—occupational therapy
  • David Orchanian, 2004—occupational therapy
  • Diane Dirette, 2003—occupational therapy
  • Susan Ponchillia, 2002—blindness and low vision
  • Jaclyn West Frasier, 2000—occupational therapy
  • Debra Lindstrom-Hazel, 2000—occupational therapy
  • Molly Vass, 1998-99 - holistic health
  • Robert O. LaDuke, 1997-98 - blindness and low vision