Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline
In 1982 Grand Valley State University instituted awards to recognize distinguished contributions in a discipline. This award is given to a member of the faculty whose performance in scholarly or creative activities, or whose contributions through service to professional organizations, is clearly outstanding. The basis for this award is demonstrated research, scholarly, or creative accomplishment or service through professional organizations, i.e., significant contribution to one's discipline, that is documented as exceptional by professional peers or public acclaim according to one of the following specific criteria: publication in professional media; professional awards, prizes, or honors; unsolicited reviews by critics or peers; support received through competitive applications to funding agencies, or impact on others in the discipline. The award may recognize a single, clearly exceptional accomplishment or a continued record of achievement. The award will be based primarily on accomplishments while a member of the GVSU faculty.
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All tenured and tenure-track faculty members.
The Committee requires strong and substantial evidence for nominees. Each dossier must contain all of the following. Dossiers with missing items will be returned unread.
- Completed Declaration Page
- A statement from the nominee, one or two pages in length, of that person's professional accomplishments deemed most significant
- Chair's letter (unless chair is the candidate): Must provide specific and detailed evidence on the quality and impact of the nominee's research. Examples of evidence supporting the candidate’s accomplishments should include information about the scope, longevity and effect of his/her efforts
- A current curriculum vitae.
- Four letters of support from peers in a position to evaluate the nominee's work. At least two of the four letters of support must come from outside of GVSU, and all should be mailed directly to the chair of the nominee's department as listed on the letter of support. The Research and Development Committee recognizes that there is a significant diversity of disciplines and recognized scholarly activities. To ensure that nominations from all disciplines are given a fair evaluation for the Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award, letters of nomination should address key categories and concepts for assessment of scholarly activity and research, as recognized within the candidate's discipline.
- Other supplementary materials may be submitted as part of the PDF but are not required
**Please note: ONLY the above stated documents, combined into a single PDF, will be accepted as a completed nomination packet. No additional documents will be accepted. Please submit electronically to: email@example.com
To download a Declaration Page please CLICK HERE
To download a Letter of Support Template please CLICK HERE
Process and Timeline
- Each year the Faculty Research and Development Committee will request nominations. Each nomination, which may or may not be solicited by the candidate, must be supported in signature by three peers within or outside GVSU and the Dean’s signature. Members of the Faculty Research and Development Committee may not nominate candidates for this award. A faculty member may be nominated by his/her unit, a faculty member inside or outside his/her unit, or by any student or alumni with knowledge of the nominee’s qualifications for the award.
- A complete dossier must be received by the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence no later than November 1. The nominee’s unit is responsible for obtaining pertinent data and providing the required information. Please check with your Dean for any deadline requiring you to submit to the Dean's office for review and signatures prior to being sent to CSCE by November 1.
- The Faculty Research and Development Committee will review all candidates and make appropriate recommendations to the Provost by December 15.
- The Provost will inform the Research and Development Committee and the awardee of her decision. The awards need not be made each year if, in the opinion of the Provost and/or the Committee, there are no suitable candidates.
- The award, consisting of a plaque plus a cash payment, is presented by the Provost at the Faculty Awards Convocation, held on the first Thursday in February.
To view all past award winners CLICK HERE
William Ryan, D.M.A.
Professor of Music and Dance
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2005
William Ryan’s creative activity includes both his work as a composer and a conductor. As an admiring colleague writes, “Ryan’s contributions to the discipline are simply put, truly extraordinary.” Ryan founded Grand Valley’s New Music Ensemble, whose successes are nationally and internationally praised. This ensemble released three critically acclaimed, best-selling CDs, two of which were named among the “Ten Best Classical Recordings of the Year” by The New York Times. As a composer, his works have been performed by some of the most important new music ensembles and solo performers, including Vicky Chow, So Percussion, and Third Coast Percussion. Ryan has garnered numerous awards, including a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts grant and the 2009 American Composers Forum’s Champion of New Music Award. His colleagues assert that “his contributions exemplify the absolute highest pinnacle of success in his discipline and for a composer today.