Mary L. Dawson Teaching Excellence Award

This award recognizes one individual (Board-appointed faculty member) who demonstrates exceptional creativity, enthusiasm, and passion for teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate level(s).

Required materials:
One completed nomination form and one support form are required. Additional support forms are optional and will be accepted if submitted. If nomination and support forms are not fully complete, submissions will not be reviewed by Awards and Recognition Committee.


College of Education and Human Development faculty (tenure track, tenured, term or jointly-appointed) are currently teaching and who have been teaching in the college for at least two or more years at Western Michigan University are eligible for nomination. Individuals may not receive this award more than once in a five-year period.

Selection criteria

  1. Demonstrates teaching excellence in various ways, which may include but is not limited to: a) use of technology in the classroom; b) blending research and teaching; c) innovative curriculum or course development; or d) cross-disciplinary instruction.
  2. Engages in creative teaching.
  3. Displays enthusiasm and passion for teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate level(s).
  4. Each nomination and supporting letter must be at least 350 words, with a maximum of 500.

View the selection rubric.

Selection process

One award will be given annually to a faculty member (tenured, tenure track, term, or jointly-appointed). Nominations are reviewed and selected by the College of Education and Human Development Awards and Recognition Committee. Award recipients will be notified by early April. Awards will be presented at the College of Education Awards and Recognition Celebration.

Nomination process

Nominations may originate from the dean or other college administrators, department chairs, program directors, department committees, individual faculty, staff or students. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Nominations and letters of support should clearly identify and document how the nominee meets each of the criteria listed above. A minimum of one supporting letter must come from a student.

Questions may be directed to Amy Burns.


  • Full-time: Dr. Summer Davis
  • Part-time: Dr. Celeste Shelton-Harris

2022 award recipients

  • Full-time: Dr. Shamika Hall
  • Part-time: Dr. Arezoo Rojhani


  • Full-time: Dr. Ramona Meraz Lewis
  • Part-time: Dr. Kahler B. Schuemann


  • Full-time: Dr. Virginia David
  • Part-time: Emily Kelly

2019 Award Recipients

  • Full-time: Dr. Stephen Craig
  • Part-time: Dr. Steven Sanocki


  • Full-time: Dr. Kimberly Doudna
  • Part-time: David Reva

2017 Award Recipients

  • Full-time: Dr. Sue Poppink
  • Part-time: David Melotti


  • Full-time: Dr. Angel Gullon-Rivera
  • Part-time: Eleanor "Ellie" Rainey


  • Full-time: Dr. Ariel Anderson
  • Part-time: Dr. Adam Danapilis