Distinguished Teaching Award


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

    2023-24 Recipient: David W. Rudge

About the award

Each year Western Michigan University recognizes outstanding teaching by awarding one or more Distinguished Teaching Awards. Outstanding teaching is not fixed in form or venue and is not easily assessed. Whether instruction takes place in lecture courses, seminars, or laboratories or whether it is pitched at introductory or advanced levels, exceptional pedagogy is marked by the active, critical role of the instructor and mentor whose demanding presence fosters critical thinking and inspires students to engage the quest for knowledge as a value in itself and as a craft.

Initiated in 2006, the Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest honor given by the University to recognize faculty members for their teaching work. A similar honors program, the WMU Alumni Association Teaching Excellence program, ran at the University between 1966 and 2001 and honored 131 faculty members during that time.

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


Nomination Procedure

The selection committee invites members of the University community to write a letter of nomination for a faculty member who should be considered for this award.

Award winners will be selected based on the detailed information provided in nomination letters. For that reason, letters should make a strong argument and include specific details. Please tell describe your relationship to the instructor, describe first-hand knowledge of the instructor's work with students inside and outside the classroom, and explain why you see this work as distinguished. All letters are confidential and are filed for consideration in subsequent years.

Nominations are due Friday, April 5, 2024 for the 2024-25 Distinguished Teaching Award. Nominations must be submitted electronically through the webform (right).

Nomination Letter

In the nomination letter, describe in your own words, why you feel this particular faculty member should receive the award. Be as specific as possible about the criteria you are using to measure distinguished teaching. The selection committee would like to know exactly why you see this teacher as deserving of this high honor.

Past Recipients

  • List of Award Recipients since 2006
    • 2023—David W. Rudge
    • 2022—Ann Veeck
    • 2021—James Eckert, Brian Gogan
    • 2020—Due to the conditions imposed by COVID-19 no nominations were accepted.
    • 2019—Matthew Mingus, Leah Omilion-Hodges
    • 2018—Michael Braun, Scott Cowan, Scott Slawinski
    • 2017—Ariel Anderson, Louann Bierlein Palmer, Gwen Tarbox
    • 2016—Jennifer Machiorlatti, Lisa Paulius
    • 2015—Allison Downey, Michael Nassaney
    • 2014—Sue Ellen Christian, Autumn Edwards
    • 2013—Holly J. Nibert, Paul R. Solomon, Sarah E. Summy
    • 2012—Jon R. Adams, Richard Malott
    • 2011—Donald F. Cooney, Karen M. Lancendorfer, Maureen Mickus
    • 2010—Grace C. Tiffany, Philip G. Walcott, Stephen W. Wolfinbarger
    • 2009—Chad Edwards, Peter E. Parker
    • 2008—Mary Z. Anderson
    • 2007—Richard Gershon, Trent Kynaston, Jennifer Palthe
    • 2006—Irma M. Lopez, Suhashni "Sushi" Datta-Sandhu


    WMU Alumni Association Teaching Excellence recipients

    • 2001—Mary L. Dawson, Carolyn J. Harris
    • 2000—Alyce M. Dickinson, Alexander J. Enyedi
    • 1999—Ronald B. Chase, Frank M. Gambino
    • 1998—E. Thomas Lawson, Greg Roehrick
    • 1997—Jorge M. Febles, Katherine Joslin
    • 1996—Yousef Alavi, Wendy L. Cornish
    • 1995—Elwood Ehrle, Robert Griffin
    • 1994—Joseph Buckley, Bob White
    • 1993—David Karsten, Edward Mayo, Cecil McIntire
    • 1992—Susan Caringella-MacDonald, Richard Cooper, Lyda Stillwell
    • 1991—Constantine Gianakaris, Gerald Hardie, Harold Ray
    • 1990—Arnold Johnston, Richard Keaveny
    • 1989—Alan Brown, Robert Felkel, Leo Stevenson
    • 1988—James Burns, Zahir Quraeshi, Arthur White
    • 1987—Max Benne, Gary Chartrand, Meshulam Groper
    • 1986—John Fisher, Gilbert Hutchings, Roy Olton, Shirley Scott
    • 1985—Betty Deshler, Alonzo Hannaford, Alan Isaak, Larry Oppliger, Ernest Stech
    • 1984—Raymond Alie, Clara Gamble, Jack Michael, Steven Rhodes, David Rozelle
    • 1983—Mary Ann Bush, Elizabeth Giedeman, Gilda Greenberg, A.D. Issa, Uldis Smidchens
    • 1982—Ralph Chandler, M. Joanne Mohr, Richard Pippen, Visho Sharma, Kathleen Sinning
    • 1981—Ronald Kramer, Andrew Powell, George Robeck, Nancy Steinhaus, Roger Wallace
    • 1980—Lowell Crow, Jack Humbert, Louis Junker, Phyllis Rappeport, Archie Watson
    • 1979—Shirley Bach, Thomas Deckard, Linda Delene, Oscar Horst, Robert Neubig
    • 1978—Thomas Carey, Stanley Derby, Dale King, Charles Smith, Michael Swords
    • 1977—Harold Bate, Sherwood Cordier, Harry Hefner
    • 1976—Zane Cannon, Martin Cohen, Cameron Lambe, Fred Orlofsky, Shirley VanHoeven
    • 1975—Wade Adams, Lee Baker, Paul Friday, Gale Newell, David Rozelle
    • 1974—Thomas Gossman, Paul Maier, Lurette McCray, George Stegman, Jess Walker
    • 1973—Lewis Carlson, Raymond Deur, James Daniels, Charles Houston, Mary Lous Stewart
    • 1972—Gene Booker, Edward Heinig, Herb Jones, Alice Lewis, Dorothy McGinnis, Leo VanderBeek
    • 1971—Robert Barstow, Dorothy Bladt, William Buys, James Casey, Jean Malmstrom, Lewis Walker
    • 1970—Donald Bouma, Jean Friedel, Darrell Jones, Richard Pippen, Rudolf Siebert, Dean Tyndall
    • 1969—Clara Chiara, Edwin Grossnickle, Howard Mowen
    • 1968—Willis Dunbar, Ken Macrorie, Herman Rothfuss
    • 1967—David Adams, Charles Brown, Margaret Macmillan
    • 1966—William Morrison