Nominations open for student and faculty awards

Every year students and faculty members are recognized with awards, for which they are nominated by other members of the Case Western Reserve University community. Now, as the semester is underway, nominations are open for several awards covering a wide range of student and teacher accomplishments.

For the Dr. Dorothy Pijan Student Leadership Awards, given to students each spring, online nominations will be accepted through Feb. 21. These are awarded each year and encompass more than 20 different honors for students, student organizations and programs.

According to Colleen Barker-Williamson, director of Student Activities & Leadership, the yearly awards given to undergraduate students send an important message.

“Engaging in the academic experience of a CWRU student is a significant thing, something each student here should be so proud of,” said Barker-Williamson. “[However] balancing the curricular with additional student engagement and activity is simply amazing. Students who give of themselves to enhance the experience that every other student has—whether through programming, advocating, celebrating culture or engaging through various media—should be recognized and … honored.”

There are also several awards for faculty members. The Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching is given to two teachers each year, and the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, also awarded to two faculty or staff members each year, recognizes those who have a profound impact on their students. Both of these are open for nominations online until March 7.

For professors who teach or mentor graduate students, the John S. Diekhoff Teaching and Mentoring Awards are given to four full-time faculty members each year. Nominations for these awards are open until Feb. 15.

Elizabeth Banks, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement & Learning and leading member of the Division of Student Affairs Leadership, thinks that it is far too easy to “take for granted the impact [faculty or staff members have] had on you.”

“Nominating [faculty and staff members who have impacted you] for an award is a great way to say ‘thank you’ for the work they’re doing and the meaningful contribution they are making to the CWRU community,” said Banks.

In 2010, Susan Hinze, associate professor of sociology, was given the Diekhoff Award.

“We [professors] do so much behind the scenes, mentoring and nurturing the students, and it’s just gratifying to know that it’s appreciated,” said Hinze. “And I think in general, that [all] of the faculty spend a lot of time and effort to develop our identity as teachers.”

Lynn Singer, deputy provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, feels that staff awards have a greater impact when students can nominate the staff members who have impacted them.

“Awards are not the reason for the deep commitment and impact that the winners demonstrate, but [they] are a welcome and much appreciated validation of their dedication, expertise and excellence,” said Singer.