Michigan State University’s faculty and staff are a vital part of what makes us one of the top research universities in the world and nationally ranked in academics. This resource has been created in an effort to ensure that accomplishments of those in the College of Arts & Letters are brought to the attention of the University. MSU has a number of awards to recognize our outstanding faculty and academic staff; below are brief description all university-level awards. Please consider nominating yourself or a colleague for an award.

MSU Excellence-in-Teaching Citation

MSU Excellence-In-Teaching Citations are awarded to six graduate teaching assistants who have distinguished themselves by the care they have given and the skill they have shown in meeting their classroom responsibilities. The essential purpose of the citation is to bring university-wide recognition to the best of the graduate teaching assistants and by so doing to underline the qualitative contribution which they are making to the undergraduate program.

William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award

William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards (formerly the Distinguished Faculty Awards) are made each year to members of the regular faculty, i.e. tenure system faculty and librarians in the continuing appointment system, for outstanding total service to the University.  The nominations are based on teaching; advising; research; publications; art exhibitions; concert performances; committee work; public service including extension, outreach and work with government agencies and industry; or a combination of these activities. Administrative excellence and length of service may not be used as the sole criteria for nomination. However, nominees usually have at least five years of service at Michigan State University.

Donald F. Koch Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award

These awards recognize teachers who take pride in and are committed to quality undergraduate teaching and who demonstrate substantial continuing involvement in undergraduate education.  Nominations are based on commitment to and evidence of outstanding UNDERGRADUATE teaching including but not limited to 100- and 200-level courses. Nominees should demonstrate a combination of talent, creativity and enthusiasm for teaching reflected in their teaching style and student interactions. All current fixed term and tenure system faculty with at least three years of teaching experience at Michigan State University are eligible for nomination.

Submit a Nomination

President’s Distinguished Teaching Award 

The award is open to current MSU faculty members who have a sustained record (generally 3+ years) of substantial teaching responsibilities (generally 1 class/semester) for Michigan State University and who have implemented creative and engaging ways that foster student learning.

MSU Teacher–Scholar Award

Teacher–Scholar Awards are given to members of the tenure system faculty from the ranks of assistant professor and associate professor who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching. To be considered for an MSU Teacher–Scholar Award, a tenure system faculty member must hold the rank of assistant professor or associate professor and, at the beginning of the award period, must have served on the faculty for at least two semesters but no more than seven academic years at Michigan State University. In addition, nominees must not have more than ten years of employment experience of all kinds since receipt of the terminal degree applicable to their discipline. Years spent in “postdoc” appointments will not be counted in determining eligibility. Nominees for a Teacher–Scholar Award must be willing to permit a member of the awards committee to visit their classrooms.

Community Engagement Scholarship Award

The Community Engagement Scholarship Award provides University-wide recognition of exemplary community-engaged research, creative activity, teaching, and service collaborations that positively impact both the community and scholarship. Each year, one Community Engagement Scholarship Award is conferred upon an MSU faculty or academic staff member and her/his designated community partner. Each receives a stipend. The award co-recipients (scholar and community partner) are recognized at the University’s annual Awards Convocation.

MSU Distinguished Academic Staff Award

Distinguished Academic Staff Awards provide university-wide recognition and reward to outstanding individuals with careers demonstrating long-term excellence and exceptional contributions to Michigan State University. Eligibility for nomination requires a minimum of ten years of continuous MSU employment as an academic specialist or an MSU Extension academic staff member.

These awards recognize professionals who serve the University in advising, curriculum development, outreach, extension, research and teaching. Distinguished Academic Staff Awards are made to members of the academic staff who are appointed as Academic Specialists or Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) Academic Staff (faculty with extension supported appointments are not eligible for this award).

Submit a Nomination


Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership

The Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership is designed to recognize the commitment and dedication that MSU faculty, academic staff and support staff leaders demonstrate by their extraordinary and sustained efforts. The award was established in honor and recognition of Dr. Robert F. Banks for his 40 years of service to Michigan State University, including seven years as Dean of James Madison College and 28 years as Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Human Resources.

Simmons Chivukula Award for Academic Leadership

The Simmons Chivukula Award for Academic Leadership is generously sponsored by a gift from Dr. Elizabeth H. Simmons (Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UC San Diego; former MSU Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development and Dean of Lyman Briggs College) and Dr. R. Sekhar Chivukula (distinguished professor of Physics at UC San Diego, former MSU Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies).

The award is for exemplary work in academic leadership at the ranks of: department chair, school director, assistant dean, or associate dean (individuals must be currently holding one of these positions at the time of nomination). An individual will be selected annually on the basis of consistently demonstrated excellence in academic leadership, including the dimensions of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Nominations for this award are submitted directly to the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development through the link below.

Submit a Nomination

Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award

The Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award is presented annually to six university support staff members selected by the Distinguished Staff Awards Selection Committee from all nominations received. The award is named in honor of Jack Breslin, who served Michigan State University as a student leader, honored athlete, top administrator and steadfast advocate.

Clerical-Technical Recognition Award

The Clerical-Technical Recognition Award is presented annually to a Michigan State University support staff member performing clerical-technical duties. The recipient is selected from nominations received by the CT Recognition Award Selection Committee. The award is sponsored by the Thomas and Concettina Gliozzo Endowment Fund to recognize outstanding MSU clerical-technical employees.

Excellence in Diversity Awards

The Excellence in Diversity Awards selection team is looking for initiatives that are outstanding, exceptional, extraordinary, and innovative in areas such as teaching, research, programs, services, and community outreach. A number of categories are available with more details available at the link below.

Ruth Jameyson Above and Beyond Award

This annual award recognizes a support staff member who most closely exemplifies the contributions, personal characteristics, and commitment to MSU demonstrated by Ms. Jameyson, going “above and beyond” what is reasonably expected in supporting the mission of Michigan State University. In recognition of Ms. Jameyson’s own pursuit of a graduate degree while working at MSU, the award recipient must be pursuing a graduate degree at MSU or elsewhere concurrent with their employment at MSU.

Outstanding Supervisor Award

The Outstanding Supervisor Award honors Michigan State University supervisors who have consistently demonstrated work/life sensitivity and support of the professional/personal needs of the employees in their unit. By recognizing the “bosses” who do it well, we are setting an example of “what makes a good supervisor.” This will serve as a model for others to illustrate what it means to be “work/life and family sensitive” in hopes of positively impacting managerial practices across campus