Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline

The CSCE Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline recognizes outstanding tenured/tenure-track faculty for their work in scholarly or creative activities, or their contributions through service to professional organizations.

2024 Recipient

Rachel Powers, Ph.D., Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award

Rachel Powers, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2006

Rachel Powers is an internationally recognized scholar specializing in the X-ray crystallography of proteins. Her research program focuses on trying to understand how bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, and using that insight to develop next-generation inhibitors to improve health outcomes. Powers has published 21 peer-reviewed articles in top journals including Accounts of Chemical Research and Biochemistry, spoken at international conferences, and organized regional conferences. She is a Fulbright U.S. Scholar, a Cottrell College Science Scholar, and has consistently received external funding (totaling more than $1.5 million) from various sources including the National Institutes of Health. In addition, Powers has mentored 39 students in undergraduate research. Her former students are now research scientists or technicians at Merck, Arbor Assays, Perrigo, and Argonne National Labs. Powers is recognized for her top-quality research, significant disciplinary contributions, and extraordinary impact on students.

About the Award

In 1982, Grand Valley State University instituted awards to recognize distinguished contributions in a discipline. This award is given to a tenured/tenure-track 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.

All tenured and tenure-track faculty members.

How to Nominate

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 their unit, a faculty member inside or outside their unit, or by any student or alumni with knowledge of the nominee’s qualifications for the award.

The Committee requires strong and substantial evidence for nominees.  Each nomination packet must contain all of the following. Packets with missing items will not be reviewed.

  1. Completed Declaration Page
  2. A statement from the nominee, one or two pages in length, of that person's professional accomplishments deemed most significant.
  3. 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 the candidate's efforts.
  4. A current Curriculum Vitae.
  5. 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. Download a Letter of Support Template
  6. 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.

Yearly on November 1st. 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 1st.

The Faculty Research and Development Committee will review all candidates and make appropriate recommendations to the Provost by December 15th. The Provost's Office will communicate the Provost's decision to the nominee and the Faculty Research and Development Committee. The award, consisting of a plaque and a cash payment, is presented by the Provost at the Faculty Awards Convocation, held in February. If, in the opinion of the Provost and/or the Faculty R&D Committee, the year has no suitable candidates, awards may not be granted.

Page last modified February 16, 2024