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Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement Office of the Provost

Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching

Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching is given to recognize outstanding teaching by faculty in Washington State University’s “University Common Requirements” (UCORE) program. All eligible instructors are welcome to apply. Applications are due in spring. The newest recipient of the Law Award is recognized in spring by the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA), of which UCORE is a part.

About the Award

Honoring Dr. Richard Law’s service to the university as Director of General Education from 1990 to 2009, the award values the important role played by general education faculty across the university in helping undergraduates attain the WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes, especially outside their major area of study. Recognizing that effective leaders in all areas need to draw on a breadth of knowledge and skills from a variety of disciplinary fields, faculty receiving this award inspire curiosity and understanding of an area of study. Their classes encourage development of the lifelong learning skills of integrating and synthesizing concepts in order to solve real problems.

Past winners of the Law Award include inaugural recipient Theresa Jordan (History) in 2013; Clif Stratton (History) and Richard Zack (Entomology) in 2014; Jeanette Clayton Martin (Mathematics) in 2015; Ken Faunce (History) in 2016; Robert J. Cooper (Human Development) in 2017; Katherine Banks (Politics, Philosophy, Public Affairs at WSU Tri-Cities) in 2018; Kara M. Whitman (Environment) in 2019; Kate Watts (English) in 2020; and Allyson Beall King (Environment) in 2021.


This award is open to all instructors of record (instructors and career-track faculty as well as tenure-track faculty) on all WSU campuses whose teaching has included at least one UCORE class in the past three academic years; gaps due to sabbatical leaves do not affect eligibility.

Want to suggest the name of an applicant?

If you know an instructor who would be a great candidate to apply for a Law Award, please send an email to the Law Award Committee about this person!

In your email, please briefly describe the person’s contributions to WSU undergraduate education in light of the Law Award criteria described on this page. A committee member will reach out to the person to ask if they would like to prepare and submit application materials. They may choose to ask you to write a letter of recommendation, one of the application requirements.

Application Process

Applicants will use the online submission form below to provide the Law Award Committee with the following materials:

  1. Basic personal and contact information as well as the upload of a 3-to-5-page application statement document that explains how the applicant addresses the Law Award criteria (shown below).
  2. One additional support document (e.g. syllabus, assignment prompt, results of assessment of teaching and learning) that speaks to the applicant’s approach to or effectiveness of teaching.
  3. Contact details for two to three people that will separately provide letters of support for the applicant. These people should be colleagues, alumni, former students, or community partners — ideally, at least one letter should be from a former student.

Award Criteria

Application materials must speak to a strong commitment to the values of general education, including the following qualities of instruction:

  1. Clear focus on student development and enhancement of the skills embedded in the WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes in courses taught, especially for nonmajors.
  2. Emphasis on a student-centered classroom, with components that actively engage students with course materials.
  3. Excellent rapport with and mentoring of students, evidencing a robust commitment to kindling their desire for lifelong learning.
  4. Evidence of desire to become a more effective instructor through use of ongoing classroom assessment and/or professional development.
  5. Evidence of strong student evaluations and program-level evaluations (when available) of UCORE course(s) taught.

A strong application may also include:

  1. Evidence of outstanding work with UCORE learning outcomes assessment projects/program for the betterment of WSU undergraduate education (for example, leadership in aligning one or more courses to meet the learning goals of a UCORE designation, or departmental work with developing learning outcomes or outcomes assessment).
  2. Demonstrated ability to be an effective teacher in UCORE classes with large enrollment.
  3. Demonstrated ability to effectively work with the particular needs of students transitioning into university work (100-level courses) or professional situations (capstones).
  4. Effective use of technology in the curriculum and/or delivery of the course, including but not limited to virtual learning.

Application Form for a Law Award

The period for applying for Law Awards is now closed. The applications that were submitted are now being reviewed. Awards will be announced in mid to late April 2021.