Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award


The Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence is pleased to sponsor an award designed to honor the practice of mentoring undergraduate scholarly activity. The award is intended to recognize demonstrated excellence in mentoring undergraduate researchers, to encourage mentoring relationships with undergraduate students, and to convey the campus' high regard for such contributions made by the faculty of the academic and research community. In addition to the honor of being designated a CSCE Distinguished Faculty Mentor, recipients of the Award are given an award of $500.  Nominations for the Award are solicited from deans, department chairs, faculty colleagues, alumni, and current research students.

2023 Recipients


Richard Lord, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2012

Richard Lord is a computational inorganic chemist and during his time at Grand Valley has developed an approach to make his research accessible and meaningful to students. As a mentor, he cultivates a team environment where students learn and practice critical communication skills. They develop computational chemistry projects and disseminate their research in the larger scientific community. Lord is a dedicated and effective undergraduate student mentor evident in the vibrant and productive research group he leads. One of the most rewarding aspects of mentoring for him is to “see students spread their wings.” This is clearly demonstrated, as many of his student mentees are pursuing advanced degrees in STEM and medicine.

Leifa Mayers, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2015

Leifa Mayers specializes in critical feminist policy and legal studies, inequality, and human rights. Since joining Grand Valley, she has cultivated student success by encouraging students to develop, in tandem, research and writing skills alongside perseverance and self-efficacy. Her mentees have pursued positions as diverse as their interests, including graduate programs in education, social work, and law, as well as employment in harm reduction and social service programs. Mayers’ support of undergraduate students’ excellence is evidenced in the ways they model that excellence in their own careers. As one student articulated, “When developing my supervision style, I consider the impact that Dr. Mayers had on my undergraduate experience and [like Dr. Mayers] I strive to push and challenge those whom I supervise.”

Application Materials

Information to be included with the nominations:

  • Completed Declaration Page
  • Statement of mentoring philosophy from nominee in regards to undergraduate research and creative practice.
  • Three letters of support from colleagues who have knowledge of the nominee’s ability as a teacher/scholar.  One letter of support shall be from the department chair of the nominee’s unit, one shall be from a recent research student and the third may be from a faculty colleague, advanced degree alumnus or other individual who can comment on the nominee’s qualifications.
  • Listing of mentored undergraduatesname, project, publications (designating as peer or non-peer reviewed) and current position of student.
  • 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: [email protected] 

Evaluation Criteria

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

  • Significant contribution to advancing undergraduate research and scholarship on at GVSU
  • Demonstrated commitment to undergraduate research through specific examples such as peer-reviewed publications involving undergraduates; student presentations, showings, or performances
  • Evidence for the continuing success of mentored students in the research/creative endeavor (where the students are now)

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 candidate’s dean’s office must submit the electronic copy (pdf) of this form and all supporting materials to the CSCE office by November 1. Please submit to: [email protected] 

Procedures for Administering the CSCE Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award

Each college may nominate a faculty member for this University-wide award. The recipient will be recognized as a distinguished mentor. 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 3 years are eligible.

Only one award will be made each year. The recipient will receive $500. 

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

The recipient is selected by the Research and Development Committee with representation from the Undergraduate Research Council.

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. 


All tenured and tenure-track faculty members 

Declaration Page

Download a Declaration Page

Page last modified March 23, 2023