Faculty Awards

Grand Valley State University honors our excellent faculty in a range of areas of accomplishment: faculty who teach in and outside of the classroom, contribute significant scholarship that advances their profession and enriches their teaching, offer inspired mentoring to our students, and provide dedicated service to the campus and community. Click on the award name below for further information and criteria for each award.  Links are provided for a list of previous recipients.

University Awards for Excellence

Glenn A. Niemeyer Award
Faculty selected are honored for their excellence, enthusiasm and loyalty to teaching., scholarship and service. Nominees should have a superior student-centered approach to teaching with continued development of excellence in the classroom that instills students with a love of learning.  They create new knowledge and explore its applications through scholarly activity. They also contribute their expertise and service to the University, professional organizations, and/or the community.
Criteria Recipients

Robert Adams Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

D. Robert Adams, Ph.D.
Professor of Computing and Information Systems
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1998

Is the Death Star™ a key to student retention? While it may seem unorthodox, the LEGO® Death Star on Robert Adams’ desk attracts students, stimulates conversations, and exemplifies his approach to teaching. For more than 20 years, Adams has focused his teaching and research on providing students with the personal attention needed to be successful. While guiding students through their Capstone projects, often with industry or international collaborators, he intervenes where necessary while leaving space for them to find their way to the final product. As the graduate program director, Adams has participated in 71 masters theses and projects. Adams has served the university in numerous ways, most notably as Chair of the University Curriculum Committee and Chair of the Online Education Council. His prior recognitions include Grand Valley’s Outstanding University Service Award and a Fulbright Scholarship.

University Outstanding Teacher Award
Faculty members honored must use multiple approaches in classroom/laboratory instruction and evaluation; stimulate intellectual curiosity in students; show evidence of being current in field/disciple; demonstrate commitment to student learning as instructor, role model, or positive influence on career development of students; and reflect on past teaching experience to improve current practice.  In addition, faculty must demonstrate characteristics of outstanding teaching by demonstrating that course expectations have consistently high standards and designing pedagogies to maximize students' engagement in their learning and provide exemplary support so that all students can be successful.
Criteria Recipients

Susan Strouse Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

Susan Strouse, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2013

Susan Strouse embodies the best of Grand Valley’s ethos regarding teaching excellence and ensuring students succeed in nursing practice. The structure of her courses scaffold learning aimed beyond application of knowledge to critical analysis. She embraces deep learning through guided development, including study abroad coursework in Ghana. Most recently she co-authored and published an online educational resource titled Innovative Lesson Plans for Active Learning: Teaching Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice, demonstrating her pedagogical proficiency and collaborative, collegial nature. Her mastery extends to online education, disaster management, and award-winning work with persons with disabilities. Most importantly are student reports signifying the inspiration, support, and transformation they experienced in studying with her.

Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award 
Award honors a faculty member whose performance in scholarly or creative activities, or whose contributions through service to professional organizations, is clearly outstanding. The award may recognize a single, clearly exceptional accomplishment or a continued record of achievement.
Criteria Recipients

Craig Benjamin Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

Craig Benjamin, Ph.D.
Professor of History, Frederik Meijer Honors College
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2003

Craig Benjamin is an influential and talented historian whose work on world history is at the cutting edge of the field. He has a long list of important contributions to the area of his expertise, including the fields of ancient central Asian history, ancient world history, and big history. Since arriving at Grand Valley, he has published three books, edited three volumes, and written 27 peer-reviewed articles. His research productivity is matched by an enthusiasm to collaborate with others and to make world history relevant to both scholars and students. Benjamin’s approach is recognized for the way it reaches across disciplines and raises important and controversial questions about the future possibilities for the human species during the next century and beyond. He is admired worldwide for his acute intelligence, rigorous scholarship, extraordinary energy, and commitment to education and teaching.

Outstanding University Service Award
Faculty member committed to service to the university.
Criteria Recipients

Brian Johnson Guikema Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

Brian Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor of Criminal Justice
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1994

Brian Johnson has served as the undergraduate program coordinator, internship coordinator, and coordinator of unit compliance during the 2019 visit from the Higher Learning Commission for the College of Community and Public Service (CCPS). In addition, he has served as the Chair of the CCPS College Advisory Committee and, given his extensive background in public and private security, was selected by the Dean’s Office to serve as the emergency coordinator. Johnson has chaired the provost’s Ad Hoc Grievance Committee and the Safe and Sustainable Communities Committee. His service on the University Research Council, University Assessment Committee, University Writing Skills Committee, and University Academic Integrity Task Force brings immeasurable benefits that make a direct impact at all levels within the academic arena. Most notable is Johnson’s service to students, which is evident in his long-standing presence and participation at freshman orientation each year, as well as his ongoing customized training program for hospitality students participating in international travel.

Outstanding Community Service Award 
Faculty member committed to community service that uses the faculty member's professional expertise.
Criteria Recipients

Richard Rediske Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

Richard Rediske, Ph.D.
Professor of Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1994

Richard Rediske’s community service has been well documented by local news organizations and endorsed by legislators over the past several years. His work within the local community has resulted in new legislation and provided local citizens and large corporations with understandable and fact-based information about chemical contamination. His work has been featured in authoritative and scientific journals, which resulted in community awareness and proactive efforts in support of water quality. In 2013, Professor Rediske led a study abroad trip to Ghana and founded ISHEW: International Sustainability Health, Education, and Water, a nonprofit organization. His leadership and sharing of lab equipment allowed the organization to analyze water samples in rural villages. Rediske’s research has provided valuable data to our understanding of water quality and has demonstrated a successful model for interdepartmental collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

Outstanding Academic Advising & Student Services Award
One faculty member and one AP staff member who consistently demonstrate outstanding academic advising and service to students.
Criteria Recipients

Feryal Alayont Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

Feryal Alayont, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2006

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Feryal Alayont serves as the Mathematics Advising and Engagement Coordinator and, as such, is the advisor to all students interested in mathematics at Grand Valley. She has long been a strong and tireless advocate for students. Her colleagues describe her as having “superhuman” advising skills with exceptional depth and personal knowledge of her students’ needs. Alayont organizes job and graduate school application preparation workshops, maintains connections with alumni and local companies, and collaborates with other Grand Valley units in an effort to provide holistic support for students pursuing their career goals. Her students recognize that she makes a special effort to care for and support them. The significant impact she has made with Grand Valley mathematics students is sure to be long lasting.

Internationalization Award
Award honors a  faculty member for significant service, teaching, program development, international projects, and other contributions to the internationalization of the University and campus community. It recognizes the achievements of tenured, tenure-track, or affiliate faculty members who advance international education and the global learning mission at GVSU.
Criteria Recipients

Anne Caillaud Professional Photo

2020 Recipient

Anne Caillaud, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1990

Anne Caillaud has served in numerous roles to advance international education and the global learning mission at Grand Valley for 29 years. During this time, she has been involved in developing and leading several faculty-led programs to France, and she has served as an advisor to study abroad students, to students pursuing internship opportunities abroad, and to the French Club. She also has served as a mentor for the Padnos International Center’s Fit the Mitt program. Caillaud has traveled abroad to international program sites to evaluate their suitability for study abroad opportunities for our students and has played key roles on university-wide committees such as the International Affairs Advisory Committee and the Internationalization Taskforce.

Pew Awards for Excellence

The Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center presents several awards that honor excellent teaching in the classroom.

     Pew Teaching Excellence Award
     (Previous Recipients)

     Pew Teaching with Technology Award
     (Previous Recipients)

     Pew Excellence Award for Library Faculty
     (Previous Recipients)

     Pew Teaching Excellence Award for Part-Time Faculty
     (Previous Recipients)

     Burch, Jacobs, and Moore Diversity Teaching Excellence
     (Previous Recipients)

CSCE Awards for Scholarly and Creative Excellence

The Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence presents several awards that honor excellent scholarship.

     Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award 
     (Previous Recipients)

     Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award 
     (Previous Recipients)

     Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award
     (Previous Recipients)


Outstanding Educator Award
Faculty member who has had the most significant impact on the careers of alumni. Presented by the Alumni Association.
(Previous Recipients)

Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year - Michigan Association of State Universities
The Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year program recognizes the outstanding contributions made by the faculty from Michigan's public universities to the education of undergraduate students.
(Previous Recipients)

Michigan Association of Governing Boards Award
no longer presented
(Previous Recipients)

State Excellence in Teaching Award
no longer presented
(Previous Recipients)