The 2022-2023 student awards — chosen by their respective departments — were announced May 8, demonstrating student achievements and acknowledging excellence in various areas.
Student awards are given by faculty for various disciplines and majors. Qualifications may depend on different traits or experiences students might have.
Jody Hirschy, associate dean of Business and Leadership, said business department awards are selected and affirmed by faculty in the department.
“The criteria used to select those awards are based on academic achievement, based on effort [and] based on contributions to the department and the larger community as a whole,” Hirschy said.
Faculty’s role in the selection process is generally the same across each department across campus.
Sometimes an award may have a tie — in such a case, both students would be awarded.
Jeff Groeling, department chair and professor of communication, said their department awards are designated by major. However, not every department operates in this fashion.
Derek Thompson, department chair and associate professor of mathematics, said for math majors, it can be particularly difficult to do just that. Their award designation is different.
While departments could designate awards based on GPA, Thompson said there’s more to it.
“Our first student goal, unlike our broad department goals for our students, is that they see themselves as professionals and scholars,” Thompson said. “We want them to be TA’ing, integrating and working with us, and [working] hard and using internships.”
Patricia Stan, department chair and associate professor of chemistry, said two of their departmental awards recognize achievements in research and chemistry.
The Outstanding Research Student Award is based on involvement that a student has in that field and the attitude they approach it with. Some of those qualities, Stan said, may include an aptitude for problem solving, passion for the topic, tenacity and not being easily discouraged.
“We're also looking for that mindset of a positive attitude and learning from what they're doing,” Stan said.
Awards can be a reminder to students of their good work, she said.
Groeling said that it is also important to note the meaning of the awards.
“While recognition is important, it shouldn't be the goal,” Groeling said.
Not all student awards are given to seniors — while certain awards may be exclusive to graduating students, some are extended to students outside of that pool.
Jamie Miles, department co-chair and assistant professor of art, said work ethic, student involvement and active presence in the department are important factors for student art awards.
“There's often vigorous discussion among the faculty for the process,” Miles said. “The criteria we look for would be sustained excellence of skill, craft, vision [and] execution. I think [for] that one, ‘sustained’ is the operating term that a student can repeatedly hit a high mark.”
He said awards can help set expectations for students advancing in their field as well as demonstrate faculty’s investment in their students in a way other than grades.
These honors can also be added to resumes to benefit students in job searches after graduation.
“It’s a celebration of excellence,” Miles said.
Despite the benefits and excitement behind awards, Stan wants to recognize that faculty see excellence in students beyond the awards — there are more than just two students they feel deserve to be honored.