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.


2018 Awardee

Erica Hamilton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Literacy and Technology

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2014

With a scholarly agenda informed by her background as a K-12 educator, much of Erica Hamilton’s research is conducted in the field, providing important insights in to preservice teacher education, literacy, and technology. A highly collaborative scholar, Hamilton and two colleagues published the first peer-reviewed analysis and critique of the Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition model, widely used in many K-12 contexts, and ground breaking in educational technology. Undergraduate and graduate students routinely praise Hamilton’s excellence in teaching; and a colleague stated that her work “ranks in the top 10 percent of all our faculty.”


2018 Awardee

Kimberly McKee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2014

Kimberly McKee’s innovative scholarship exists at the intersection of women, gender, and sexuality studies; Asian American studies; and adoption studies. Perhaps most notable about McKee’s scholarship is her active and ongoing work in the adoption community. Her philosophy as a scholar emphasizes that adoption research should be accessible and relevant to those living the adoption experience. National recognition for McKee’s scholarship is best evidenced by her prolific publication of more than 25 peer reviewed papers; she also regularly serves as a media consultant to HuffPost Live, Chicago Public Radio and other prominent media outlets.


2018 Awardee

Christopher Shaffer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Joined Grand Valley State University in 2014

Christopher Shaffer’s scholarship is exceptional for the way it integrates methods and theory from anthropology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. As director of a project located in the Konashen Community-owned Conservation Area in Guyana, Schaffer collaborates with indigenous Waiwai people on long-term and multifaceted studies of human-wildlife interactions and sustainable research management, with the goals of preventing zoonotic disease, promoting health, and modeling conservation efforts in indigenous reserves. Shaffer has been awarded highly prestigious grants, including grants from the National Geographic Society.

Page last modified March 2, 2018