WMU Flag in front of Miller Fountain

MASU Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award


Sponsored by the


Chief Academic Affairs Officers of the State Universities of Michigan

A central mission of all 15 Michigan public universities is the provision of high quality undergraduate education. The Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year recognition program recognizes outstanding faculty contributions to undergraduate instruction.



Eligibility Criteria

The award is intended for outstanding full-time faculty members who demonstrate sustained commitment to undergraduate instruction and who are nominated by their institutions for excellence in fulfillment of the selection criteria.

Selection Criteria

Each institution will nominate one faculty member in a given year for the award even if the institution's nominee received the award the previous year. The nominating institution is asked to submit a package of materials of no more than 8 pages (including appendices) that includes:

  1. letter of endorsement from the provost,
  2. a statement of teaching philosophy, and
  3. a narrative that highlights the contributions of the nominee to undergraduate education at the home institution and beyond (no other letters of endorsement are encouraged).

In assessing the criteria established for the Professor of the Year Award, the selection committee strives to recommend the most outstanding candidates nominated, while also seeking to recognize a group of awardees that represent the breadth of disciplines and diversity across the 15 public universities in Michigan. The selection criteria upon which each candidate will be evaluated include the following:

  • Impact on and involvement with undergraduate students (25%)
    Faculty members' interactions with undergraduates in all venues comprise the core activities that facilitate students' acquisition of knowledge, enhancement of skills, and advancement toward their chosen occupational paths. Whether through classroom instruction, academic advising or engagement on a wide range of activities that foster student learning and personal and professional growth, the extent of faculty interaction and involvement with students is a testament to their dedication to excellence in undergraduate education. To what extent has this professor demonstrated involvement with students in a manner that fosters educational, professional and personal growth?
  • Individualized and experiential learning (25%)
    Students learn in a variety of ways and increasingly desire learning opportunities that connect faculty instruction to the external world in which they operate. How has the professor explored ways to infuse "real life" experiences into their curricula? Likewise, individual learning opportunities, including undergraduate research and creative activity, personalized instruction, and unique field studies, can provide students with a strong foundation that bolsters their understanding of a discipline and their capacity for intellectual inquiry. How extensively has the professor integrated applied learning experiences and undergraduate research into his or her instructional endeavors?
  • Scholarship and innovation in teaching and learning (25%)
    Scholarship is consistently valued in the context of faculty promotion and tenure. Less commonly considered are scholarly contributions to the advancement of teaching and to the creation and transfer of new knowledge. Likewise, harnessing new knowledge, new technology, and new pedagogical approaches can greatly enrich students' undergraduate experiences. To what extent has the professor been engaged in scholarly endeavors that have contributed to the advancement of knowledge in a discipline and to the advancement of student learning? And to what extent has the professor exhibited an innovative orientation as it involves instructional delivery?
  • Contributions to undergraduate education at the institution, in the community and in the profession/discipline (25%)
    The impact of our state universities' most distinguished faculty reaches well beyond the classroom. These professors consistently demonstrate a high level of commitment to enhancing student success beyond their academic departments, seeking to contribute to enhancing the broader mission of the institution. They seek opportunities to harness their—and their students'—knowledge and talents to the betterment of their local communities, and even communities far away. These distinguished faculty are also deeply engaged in advancing their disciplines, their associated professions, and the teaching and learning enterprise in its totality. How has this professor demonstrated a deep commitment to the world outside the classroom?

Award Distribution and Recognition

The Michigan Association of State Universities annually hosts an awards ceremony in Lansing to recognize all nominated faculty and announce the three Michigan Distinguished Professors of the Year. All nominees will be recognized at the luncheon with a gift, and the three winners will receive $3,000, a commemorative award, and the opportunity to speak for about five minutes at the ceremony.