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University Awards

Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching

Created in 1994 to encourage, identify, reward, recognize, and support excellence in teaching within the university. A cash award of $12,500 and a bronze medallion created especially for the award are given to seventeen recipients, one from each institution in the UNC System.

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Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award

The most prestigious on-campus award, and recognizes superior teaching and meritorious performance. Nominees are selected by a combined vote of students and faculty. This annual honor includes a $5,000 cash award.

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Star Staff Award

Given to an SHRA or EHRA non-faculty employee. Award winners demonstrate consistent, exceptional service to Western Carolina University students, and help energize and enhance staff spirit and morale. This honor includes a $2,000 cash award.

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Bright Idea Staff Award

This award is given to an SHRA or EHRA non-faculty employee who suggests an idea, procedure or program that helps improve University operations. Not only does the winner propose the improvement, but they are instrumental in its' development, implementation and operation. This honor includes a $2,000 cash award. 

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Judy H. Dowell Outstanding Support Staff Award

Judy H. Dowell earned a reputation for providing outstanding service to Western Carolina University and was a dedicated advocate for the university's support staff during her 30-year career as a professor, faculty leader, and administrator. She served as assistant to the chancellor for 17 years, working alongside three former chancellors. Dowell retired in December 2002. This award is presented annually to a non-exempt SHRA employee for exemplary service to Western Carolina University. The winner of the $2,000 cash award demonstrated dependability, cooperation, and institutional loyalty.

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Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award

Serving twice as president of Western Carolina University from 1949 until 1956, and again from 1957 through 1968, his time as head of the institution was marked by huge enrollment growth and a major expansion of the university's facilities. These awards, which come with cash prizes of $5,000, were established by Reid in 1978 to recognize distinguished service by a faculty member and by a member of the administrative staff. 

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University Scholar Award

This award is designed to recognize research and creative activities. It is given to a faculty member who has achieved a position of prominence in his or her discipline through creative research activities. Examples of distinguished achievements include research, publications, grant receipts, art exhibitions, works of art, fine arts performances, and literary works.  This honor includes a $5,000 cash award.

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Excellence in Teaching Liberal Studies Award

The Excellence in Teaching Liberal Studies Award was established more than ten years ago, to recognize a faculty member for excellence in promoting significant student learning in liberal studies courses on a regular basis. This award includes a cash prize of $2,000.


Innovative Scholarship Award

The Innovative Scholarship Award is designed to formally recognize unique scholarship of integration, engagement, or teaching and learning that is innovative in the type (per the Boyer model), form, or dissemination processes. The award includes a cash prize of $2,000.


Excellence in Community Engagement Award

Founded in the 2013-14 academic year, the Western Carolina University Award for Excellence in Community Service recognizes a Western Carolina University faculty member who demonstrates a "sustained, distinguished, and superb achievement in university public service and outreach, and contributions to improving the quality of life of others." This award includes a $2,000 cash prize.


Student Nominated Faculty of the Year Award

The Student Nominated Faculty of the Year Award (previously known as the 'Last Lecture Award') is given annually to a professor who exhibits passion and excellence in teaching. In the fall semester, the Student Government Association will host a ceremony, titled The 'Last Lecture' where the award recipient will then give an inspiring lecture on the question: What would you tell your audience if you had but one lecture to give - your last lecture on earth? The 'Last Lecture' is based on a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, who was asked to give a lecture since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. This award is based on his legacy providing an opportunity for students to praise worthy professors.The greatest factor about this award, is that it is the only student nominated faculty award on campus. 


Program of Excellence Awards

The academic and administrative program of excellence awards are separate $10,000 awards which are presented to an academic department/unit and an administrative or support department/unit to recognize established records of excellence.


Honorary Doctorate

From time to time Universities choose to recognize outstanding achievement by awarding honorary degrees.

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