Early Career Scholar Award


The Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award honors remarkable investigators at Grand Valley State University who began their independent scholarship within the past six years. These scholars demonstrate mastery in their field and show significant potential for continued success. The award recipients have made major contributions to theory, research and creative practice, and they have earned national recognition for their outstanding achievements. In addition to the honor of being designated a CSCE Distinguished Early Career Scholar, recipients of the Award are given an award of $500.  Nominations for the Award are solicited from deans, department chairs, and faculty colleagues.


All tenured and tenure-track faculty members who began their independent scholarship within the past six years. 

Application Materials

Data to be included with the nominations:

  • Completed Declaration Page
  • A statement from the nominee, one or two pages in length, of that person's professional accomplishments deemed most significant
  • Two letters of support from faculty colleagues who have knowledge of the nominee’s ability as a scholar and who are not committee members. The letters should address the criteria for the award.
  • Curriculum Vitae

** 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: csce@gvsu.edu 

Declaration Page

Download a Declaration Page

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria are used in nominations and evaluations of nominees:

  • Potential to develop a national reputation  
  • Major contributions to theory, research, and/or creative practice
  • Highest standards of professionalism 


Process and Timeline


Nominators: Each college sets its own internal deadline for the initial review. The CSCE is not involved in this part of the process. Contact your dean’s office to inquire about internal deadlines for nominations and materials to be submitted to the college dean’s office for review.

Dean’s Office: The applicant’s dean’s office must submit the electronic copy (pdf) of this form (Declaration Page) and all supporting materials, as a single PDF, to the CSCE office by November 1. Submit electronically to: csce@gvsu.edu 



Procedures for Administering the CSCE Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award

Each college may nominate a faculty member for one of the four University wide awards. Recipients will be recognized as distinguished scholars. The award selection procedure is as follows:

The Faculty Award Committee for each college will select one faculty member (except CLAS, which selects up to seven, and Seidman College of Business, which selects up to two) to be considered for the award. Committee members will be selected by the dean. Committee membership will be a minimum of three faculty:

Nominations for the award may come from college dean, department chair, and faculty colleagues. Self-nominations are not accepted.

All full-time faculty members who have been employed at GVSU a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 6 years are eligible.

Up to four awards will be made each year. Each recipient will receive $500. 

An individual faculty member may not receive the award more than once.

Recipients are selected by the Research and Development Committee. 

The CSCE will forward the names of recipients to the provost and relevant dean by December 15. The dean will inform the recipient of his or her selection. The CSCE will inform nominees who are not selected.


2017 Awardee

Paul Cook, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2013

Upon joining Grand Valley, Paul Cook established an active research program focusing on the enzymes in bacteria that contribute to antibiotic resistance. Cook led or was closely associated with research that determined 31 enzymes that were deposited in the Protein Data Bank. Since Cook joined Grand Valley, three of these enzymes were determined — “an amazing feat” according to his chemistry colleagues. This work resulted in two publications in Biochemistry, the highly regarded journal. His 2015 paper was singled out by the editors as a “Rapid Report,” a designation reserved for “short, timely papers on topics of unusual importance or interest.” He continues to expand the university’s reputation, having recently received the Academic Research Enhancement Award from the National Institutes of Health. Cook exhibits a tireless commitment to the pursuit of excellence in his field.



2017 Awardee

Daniel Graser, D.M.A.

Assistant Professor of Music and Dance

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2014

Through his work as the soprano saxophone chair of the Donald Sinta Quartet, Daniel Graser has been featured internationally as a soloist and chamber musician. With performances in Japan, France, Greece, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including a Carnegie Hall debut in 2014, Graser and his quartet are serving as advocates for the saxophone quartet at a very high level. As winners of the 2013 Concert Artist Guild International Competition, his was the first saxophone quartet to win what is considered the country’s most esteemed performance award. Outside of the quartet, Graser has performed at the Kennedy Center, as well as with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the Grand Rapids Symphony. Graser’s artistic and creative endeavors have been far-reaching in content, international in scope, and at the top level of artistry. His contributions exemplify the finest ideals in creativity and scholarship, serving as a model for faculty and students.


2017 Awardee

Danielle Lake, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2011

As a public philosopher, engaged researcher, and deliberative facilitator, Danielle Lake’s research focuses on studying and enacting collaborative engagement practices that intentionally foster and utilize student and community expertise. Since her 2014 tenure-track appointment, Lake’s research has led to nine academic articles and more than 25 peer-reviewed regional, national, and international conference presentations. She has also received grants from Michigan Campus Compact, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and Matrix Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences. The relevance of Lake’s scholarship is perhaps best evidenced by the national awards she has received, including the 2014 Jane Addams Prize from the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy and the 2016 John Lachs Award for Public Philosophy. A colleague stated, “Suffice it to say, Lake is one of the most promising early-career scholars in the academy today.”


2017 Awardee

Melissa Tallman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2012

Melissa Tallman gained the respect of her biomedical sciences colleagues with her dedication to both her students and her groundbreaking research. Tallman’s primary area of research is postcranial functional morphology (the anatomy of the limbs and trunk) of human ancestors and nonhuman primates. She uses a novel approach of three-dimensional  modeling of bones to better understand the anatomy and, by extension, the locomotor patterns of these extinct beings. She has been published in a wide range of highly esteemed journals, such as PLoS One and the Journal of Human Evolution. Tallman also serves as a co-director, with her collaborator from John Hopkins University, at the 13-million-year-old site of La Venta in Colombia.

Page last modified July 17, 2017