Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award

  • Charles R. Henderson, Ph.D., Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Department of Physics

    2023-24 Recipient: Charles R. Henderson

The Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award is the highest award WMU bestows upon faculty members. It pays tribute to individuals whose work constitutes a significant body of achievement that is widely recognized within national and international academic communities. All recipients receive a plaque and a $2,000 honorarium to their base pay, and carry the suffix title "Distinguished Faculty Scholar."

  • Up to three awards may be made each year.
  • Award winners are announced after July 1.
  • Each recipient is invited to present a lecture, exhibition, or performance for the University community, typically scheduled for the fall or spring semester following the announcement in late summer.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Eligibility for the Award

  • All current, continuing Board-appointed persons with faculty rank are eligible.
  • Nominees must have at least seven (7) academic years of service at Western Michigan University prior to nomination for the award.
  • No individual may receive the award more than once.


Selection Criteria

  • A distinguished faculty scholar award winner shall be chosen on the basis of outstanding artistic, literary, philosophical, historical, technical, or scientific achievement bringing wide recognition from the academic community beyond the Western Michigan University campus.
  • The award is not to be given for a particular piece of research or work, but rather for outstanding accomplishment, especially during the time the faculty member has spent at Western Michigan University.


Contact Tonya Dean or email: faculty-development@wmich.edu with questions, comments, or concerns regarding the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.


Nomination Procedure

A university-wide call for nominations is made between December 1 and February 1 each academic year. Nominations may be made by any member of the University community, including retired faculty members. Faculty may wish to nominate a colleague or colleagues. Self-nomination is also acceptable. All nominations must be supported by at least two sponsors, at least one of whom must be from within the University.

Nominations are due Friday, February 2, 2024 for the 2024-25 Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award. Nominations must be submitted electronically through the webform (right).

Nomination materials

  1. Two sponsoring letters—the candidate cannot be considered a sponsor.
  2. Three to six additional letters of recommendation from outside of the University addressing the nominee's professional achievements. No more than six letters of nomination will be accepted.
  3. Current Curriculum vitae (CV) - see below.
  4. Reflections by nominees on their own development as scholars or creative artists. This free-form piece of writing is not to exceed 5 typed pages, 12pt font, single-spaced. Reflections will inform the Committee on the course of the nominee's creative or academic career. Suggested topics for the reflections include: a description of their field of scholarly work, the particular problems or issues that they have addressed, the contributions they have made in solving the problems and settling issues in their chosen field(s) with references to the academic vita, the future direction of their research, and major contributions to their area of expertise.
  5. Other documentation that the nominee wishes the Committee to know but has not been formally requested above.
  6. Sample of sufficiently representative works submitted in electronic form.


Curriculum Vitae (CV) requirements

Provide a detailed CV including:

  • All academic degrees. Degree, year, field(s), institution, and country if degree was earned outside of the United States. If necessary, explain the nature of the degree;
  • All academic appointments held, beginning with highest rank at WMU. Include all pertinent information about these positions (years, ranks, institutions, tenure);
  • Major areas of expertise of scholarly or creative activities;
  • Professional activities in the field of expertise, such as editorship, offices held in professional associations, juror for exhibitions, etc;
  • Other professional experiences not listed previously;
  • Books and book chapters authored;
  • Artistic works displayed in juried major exhibitions;
  • Theatrical or musical creations (prizes awarded and performances in well-known important venues);
  • Articles in refereed journals or similar publications;
  • Scientific research reports or similar works in professional journals or publications;
  • Refereed conference proceedings;
  • Presentations connected with conferences in field of expertise;
  • Papers read, service as a panelist and a chair;
  • Invited lectures and presentations;
  • Externally funded grants and contracts awarded;
  • Patents;
  • Honors granted by academic institutions or associations of appropriate scientific, literary, artistic or other professional standing. Give date received, name of the honor, entity bestowing it, describe the rules, standards and numerical limits governing the bestowing of the honor;
  • Prizes won or other important recognitions.


Nominations not awarded

Applications for previous nominees who were not selected but who wish to be considered in subsequent years need to be resubmitted before being reconsidered. All re-nomination materials, including CV, letters, and narrative, must be updated.


Past Recipients

  • List of Award Recipients since 1978
    NameYearField of expertise
    Charles R. Henderson2023Physics
    Atashbar, Massood2022Electrical Engineering
    Crotchett, Cat2021Gwen Frostic School of Art
    Angles, Jeffrey2020World Languages and Literatures
    Wilson, Brian2019Comparative Religion
    Pozo, Susan2018Economics
    Gorczyca, Thomas2017Physics
    Xiong, Victor Cunrui2017History
    Zhang, Ping2017Mathematics
    No award2016 
    He, Chansheng2015Geography
    Jellies, John Allen2014Biological Sciences
    Elder, E. Rozanne2014History
    Wardrop, Daneen2013English
    No award2012 
    Joslin, Katherine2011English
    Barcelona, Michael2010Chemistry
    Liou, William2009Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering
    Cobern, William2008Biological Sciences
    Ledyaev, Yuri2008Mathematics
    McGurn, Arthur2007Physics
    No award2006 
    No award2005 
    Julien, Catherine2004History
    DeDoncker, Elise2003Computer Science
    Szarmach, Paul2003Medieval Studies
    No award2002 
    Smith, Quentin2001Philosophy
    Berrah, Nora2000Physics
    Hillenbrand, James M.1999Speech Pathology
    Jackson, William1998Biological Sciences
    No award1997 
    Poling, Alan1996Psychology
    Hsieh, Philip P.F.1995Mathematics
    Pritchard, Michael1995Philosophy
    No award1994 
    McKean, Joseph1993Mathematics
    Tanis, John1993Physics
    Loeffler Friedl, Erika1992Anthropology
    Micklin, Philip1992Geography
    Dahlberg, Kenneth1991Political Science
    Lawson, E. Thomas1991Religion
    Wagenfeld, Morton1990Sociology
    Michael, Jack1989Psychology
    Hirsch, Christian1988Mathematics Education
    Stoltman, Joseph1988Geography
    White, Arthur1987Mathematics
    Dybek, Stuart1986English
    Davidson, Clifford1985Medieval Studies
    Friday, Paul1984Sociology
    Kim, Eugene C. I.1984Political Science
    Stufflebeam, Daniel1984Education Leadership
    Breisach, Ernst1983History
    Houser, Thomas1983Chemistry
    Zupko, Ramon1983Music
    Feirer, John1982Industrial Technology
    Ziring, Larry1982Political Science
    Bernstein, Eugene1981Physics
    Earhart, H. Byron1981Religion
    Maier, Paul1981History
    Callan, Edward1980English
    Harmon, Robert1980Chemistry
    Horst, Oscar1980Geography
    Chartrand, Gary1979Mathematics
    Curtis-Smith, Curtis1979Music
    Hunt, Chester1979Sociology
    Travis, Robert1978Education
    Woods, John1978English