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

Wendy Reffeor

2022 Recipient

Wendy Reffeor, Ph.D.
Professor of Engineering
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2010

Need to keep your prime parking spot? Ask Wendy Reffeor’s students and they’ll design a catapult with the appropriate spring tension and proper release point to repel any parking invaders. A previous winner of the Pew Teaching Excellence Award, Reffeor has spent 26 years personalizing routine classroom exercises to engage her students in their education and make them better engineers. She infuses her industry experience in coursework through the design-model-build-test format of her class projects. Her decades of work with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers student design competition have been recognized with their Dedicated Service Award. She spearheaded diversity efforts that led to GVSU being part of an inaugural group recognized by the American Society of Engineering Educators’ Diversity Recognition Program. Reffeor serves as the mechanical engineering program chair, co-directed the first STEPS camp, and puts students first in all her teaching, research, and service activities.

Amy Schelling

Amy Schelling, Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2007

Amy Schelling’s colleagues share that she is a student advocate in every sense of the word. She is not only student-centered in her teaching and leadership; she is, first and foremost, relationship centered. Each student’s education, and every faculty member’s growth, matters to her. She has served on numerous university committees and as a student organization faculty advisor. Her professional service includes serving on two Michigan Department of Education advisory committees, as a auditor for the Council for Exceptional Children Program, and as Camp Sunshine board member. Schelling is published in the Field Experience Journal, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, and the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. In 2018, Schelling was selected by the university to attend the HERS Institute of Leadership Development for Women in Higher Education. She exemplifies servant leadership, a commitment to student advocacy, and maintains a clear vision for the future of teacher preparation.

Medar Serrata

Medar Serrata, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2009

Whether he is driving a van full of Spanish Club students to Chicago every year to meet Latinx communities, or teaching dozens of immigrants so they can pass their exams and become U.S. citizens, or leading the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy’s Academic Success Institute, or having his poetry honored by a street being named after him in Santo Domingo International Book Fair 2014 by the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Culture, Serrata blends the teaching, engagement, and civic pride in a way that is quietly spectacular. His democratic approach to teaching may have been engendered by his important scholarship on dictatorship. His colleagues call him beyond deserving of GVSU’s highest faculty honor, and his students note how much he cares for not only his subject matter but also his students. Not only is he passionate about Spanish language, literature, and culture, he also ignites that passion in his students.

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

Barbara Hooper

2022 Recipient

Barbara Hooper, D.N.P.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2008

Barbara Hooper’s portfolio is celebrated for many reasons by her faculty colleagues in the Kirkhof College of Nursing, but her work to create engaging inclusive curriculum is a central feature, impacting students and faculty alike. A reflective nursing educator and active scholar, other highlights within her work include a focus on leadership, including disciplinary knowledge, health policy, and evidence-based practices both clinically and in teaching. Using stories, technology, simulation, and purposeful instruction in her teaching and mentoring of GVSU students, nursing practice is elevated in West Michigan. Hooper serves as a role model providing support, guidance, and assistance in the classroom, as well as to struggling former students beginning their careers. “Hooper manifests success everywhere she goes and she truly is the gold standard,” said a GVSU nursing student.

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

Corey Anton

2022 Recipient

Corey Anton, Ph.D.
Professor of Communications
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1998

Corey Anton is a leading contemporary scholar in the fields of communication theory, semiotics and general semantics, the philosophy of communication, and media ecology. His productivity has been remarkable, and his research output over 20 years has consistently been followed by high honors from colleagues and professional associations. Anton has published seven books, 35 articles, and 25 book chapters. A few of the many professional awards Anton has won for his scholarship include: the Outstanding Book Award from the National Communication Association (2021), Edmund S. Carpenter Award for Career Achievement from the Media Ecology Association (2021), and numerous Best Paper awards at professional conferences. In 2020, he was selected to deliver the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, an annual honor that highlights superstars in the field of general semantics. In summary, Anton is a highly respected scholar on the international stage. He embodies the highest accomplishments that one can expect in the academic world.

Bopi Biddanda

Bopi Biddanda, Ph.D.
Professor of Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2002

Bopi Biddanda is an internationally recognized expert in the field of microbial ecology and carbon biogeochemistry, particularly in the Great Lakes. In 2009, he was awarded the Chandler-Misener Award by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, for a GVSU-NOAA collaboration that elucidated the effects of river inflow and sediments on plankton in the Great Lakes. His publication record is remarkable and highly cited, including nearly 80 publications, with an average of almost 50 citations per article. The vast majority of his publications include student authors. Biddanda attracts significant and continuing external funding for his research (from e.g., the EPA, NSF, NOAA, and NASA) totaling 1.5 million in just the past 10 years. This year, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship (Spain, 2022) to study “lakes as sentinels of change”. In addition, he serves on the board of two journals, operates the Muskegon Lake Observatory, and serves as the GVSU coordinator for the NASA Michigan Space Grant Program. Biddanda’s activities, attitude, and productivity have brought distinction and recognition to GVSU.

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

David Huizen

2022 Recipient

David Huizen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Occupational Safety and Health
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2009

Dave Huizen’s service includes a variety of roles that impact GVSU students, faculty, and the university. He has connected with incoming and new students through service roles, such as Awards of Distinction and Laker Days. He has served on search committees, the University Curriculum Committee, and the University Academic Senate. However, his most notable service is his participation and leadership on the Virus Action Team during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this role, he has used his background in occupational health and safety to impact every student, faculty, and staff member in the GVSU community, working diligently and efficiently to ensure the safest possible learning and working environment. He has done this not only through his technical knowledge of industrial hygiene, but also through his understanding of how to make cultural changes that incorporate the most effective disease-prevention strategies.

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

Lihong Heidi Jiao

2022 Recipient

Lihong (Heidi) Jiao, Ph.D.
Professor of Engineering
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2004

Heidi Jiao’s community service extends from local schools and businesses in the greater Grand Rapids area to health care in Africa. She has successfully promoted STEM education among high school and college students through a variety of community opportunities, and she has established community partnerships that include the Van Andel Institute, Gentex, and Steelcase. This has helped to create a pipeline of STEM students and promoted GVSU in the community. One of her most notable achievements is a collaborative project that uses solar power to provide emergency backup systems to health care facilities in Malawi. Jiao mentored her students to design, build, and install multiple portable solar power units allowing uninterrupted electricity and life-saving support for several hospital units, including the maternity unit, where many lives were regularly at risk due to a lack of power.

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

Adrienne Wallace

2022 Recipient

Adrienne Wallace, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Communications
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2016

Adrienne Wallace, associate professor in the School of Communications, not only advises and mentors students one-on-one, but also coordinates internships, advises multiple student organization, participates as a student success network mentor, serves incoming students through first-year advising and registration, and incorporates advising and mentoring into her professional and scholarly publications and presentations. Her colleagues and students describe her as a superstar and powerhouse advisor, who offers authentic engagement, long-term support, and deep care for her students. Wallace is praised by colleagues and students for her availability, collegiality, support for student professional development, and willingness to support students through challenging circumstances academically and personally.

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

Steeve Buckridge

2022 Recipient

Steeve Buckridge, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1998

Since he began in 1998, Steeve Buckridge has been a leader in advancing internationalization at Grand Valley. He has been involved in developing and leading two faculty-led programs, served as the inaugural director of area and global studies, has been instrumental in initiating multiple international partnerships, led the Faculty/Staff Partnership Delegation to Jamaica, and has hosted many international colleagues over the years. Buckridge has conducted research in Africa and the Caribbean that has led to the creation of new courses, visiting scholar opportunities, and a recent Fulbright Scholar award. His leadership on events such as Remembering the Crossings lecture series has had a significant impact on students, GVSU colleagues, and the wider community.

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)

Page last modified February 10, 2022