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Faculty Award

Faculty Award for Distinction in Mentoring Undergraduates in Research


The Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Research have developed a procedure to better recognize, reward and encourage faculty members who mentor undergraduate students in research, which includes creative endeavors (i.e., scholarship). Nominations for the 2021 are being accepted now through February 12, 2021.

Nominations are accepted from any source - WVU College Deans, Department Chairs, faculty colleagues, and student researchers, including self-nomination. Nomination of a faculty member from several sources (e.g., multiple students, faculty colleagues or a combination thereof) tend to enhance the nomination. Outstanding nominees will be invited to submit supporting documentation . Awards will be announced publicly in spring. Awardees will be recognized by the President and Provost at the annual faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House.

What do we mean by "research"?

Mentoring undergraduates in research and creative endeavors (i.e., scholarship) is different than mentoring students in their academic pursuits (i.e., academic advising). As defined by the Council on Undergraduate Research, undergraduate research is " an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline". This process begins with discovery of disciplinary scholarship, is followed by scholarly inquiry (e.g., articulating questions and engaging in the process and practices) and culminates in creation of scholarship (e.g., creating an original scholarly project, communicating about the project)


Students, staff, faculty, alumni and the public are invited to nominate faculty who exhibit the qualities of excellent research mentorship, including but not limited to:

  • Establishing a strong professional mentoring relationship with their undergraduate research student(s)
  • Acting as a role model for methods of inquiry or artistic expression in the chosen field of study and for the responsible and ethical conduct of research or creative activity
  • Demonstrating an ability to inspire students to pursue research or scholarly activities
  • Supporting the dissemination of student work through recognized professional outlets
  • Engaging students in all aspects of scholarship (discovery, inquiry and creation)


Any full-time tenure or non-tenure track West Virginia University faculty member who has not received this award in the past five (5) years.

  • Committee: Nominations will be reviewed and outstanding nominees will be invited to submit supporting documentation.
  • Award: Winner will receive a plaque and a small grant to be used for continued support of undergraduate research. A maximum of 4 awards may be awarded, one each, in the categories of Physical Sciences & Technology, Humanities & the Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences, and Biosciences & Health Sciences.
  • More Information? Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research at
  • Nominations: All eligible nominations will be considered. Nominations must include a description of why the person should receive the award. For example, how has the nominee gone beyond his/her normal job responsibilities (beyond regular coursework/teaching responsibilities) to include undergraduates in research/creative work? How has inclusion of undergraduates in research impacted the students, department and/or the institution?
Submit your nomination here:

Nominate a Faculty Mentor

2020 Award Winners

Dr. Cole Vonder Haar, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Daniel PanaccioneDavis-Michael Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Dr. Travis Stimeling, Associate Professor of Musicology in the College of Creative Arts
Dr. Jessica Hoover, Associate Professor of Chemistry in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

2019 Award Winners

Dr.  Sadie Bergeron, Assistant Professor of Biology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Dr.  Cerasela Dinu, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resouces
Dr.  Cheryl McNeil , Professor of Psychology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Dr.  Geah Pressgrove, Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations, Reed College of Media

2018 Award Winners

Dr. Fernando Lima, Department of Chemical Engineering, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Dr. Edward Sabolsky, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

2017 Award Winners

Dr. Kirk Hazen, Department of English, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Natalie Shook, no longer part of West Virginia University. 

2016 Award Winner

Dr. James E. Smith, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources