Trailblazer Award

This award recognizes a single faculty member or team of faculty who engage(s) in innovative scholarship (which may include but is not limited to creative activity, research, program development, software development or other scholarly pursuits) which impacts the discipline.

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 (tenured, tenure track, term or jointly-appointed), part-time and adjunct faculty, or teams of, are eligible for nomination. Individuals may not receive this award more than once in a five-year period.

Selection criteria

  1. Engages in scholarship which moves the individual’s field of study in a new or different direction.
  2. Shares results of the scholarship with colleagues (through publications, presentations or other means).
  3. Serves as a catalyst for others to engage in meaningful dialogue or new and different scholarly pursuits.
  4. Each nomination and supporting letter must be at least 350 words, with a maximum of 500.

View the selection rubric.

Selection process

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 and Human Development Awards and Recognition Celebration at Western Michigan University.

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.

Questions may be directed to Amy Burns.

2021 award recipient

  • Dr. Brett Geier


  • Dr. Patricia Reeves

2019 Award Recipient

  • Dr. Selena Protacio


  • Dr. Jianping Shen

2017 Award Recipient

  • Dr. Beverly Vandiver


  • Dr. Adam Manley


  • Dr. Andrea Beach