Graduate and Professional Student Association

Excellence Awards

Photo of the 2017-18 GPSA Excellence Award Winners


The Graduate and Professional Student Association conducts the GPSA Excellence Awards each year. The GPSA Excellence awards are broken up into six different categories; Graduate Assistant, Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Graduate Student Instructor, Academic Advisor, and Registered Student Organization. Nominations are accepted from students, peers, and advisors in the fall, and spring with winners being recognized during our spring awards banquet.

Applications close February 15th at 11:59 pm!

2017 - 2018 Excellence Award Recipients


Teaching Assistant Academic Advisor Graduate Assistant Research Assistant Graduate Student Instructor Registered Student Organization
Parastoo Alinia Ting Chi
Candace Chappelle
Negar Beheshti Pour
Ralph Chikhany
Anthropology Graduate Organization
Meagan Stotts Noel Schulz Rebecca Weed Adekunle Adesanya Amber Morczek Food Engineering Club


Excellence Award Categories

1. Academic Advisor

An excellent advisor is someone who is actively involved on campus with not only their own job but also multiple extracurricular activities and clubs.  An excellent advisor is also someone who is always willing to help students and others in times of difficulty.  Excellent advisors are also always continuously improving by attending conferences and releasing publications.  An excellent advisor is most importantly someone who goes above and beyond their requirements as a faculty member.

Academic Advisor Rubric Here

2. Graduate Staff Assistant

A Graduate Staff Assistant provides administrative and academic support as academic advising, program planning or assisting with the administration of student services offices. An excellent GA should have outstanding work ethics like outstanding integrity, emphasis on quality, outstanding punctuality and outstanding cooperation. An excellent GA would show excellent commitment to a project during difficulties, should have good grasp of relevant work and outstanding ability to think and work both in a group and independently.

Graduate Assistant Rubric Here

3. Graduate Research Assistant

An excellent RA is the recipient of numerous awards in regards to their research, or has greatly contributed to any awards that their advisor may have been awarded. The RA displays a work ethic that goes above and beyond what is expected, they are rarely found to be slacking off during laboratory hours and spend a majority of the working day gathering, interpreting, and analyzing data. The excellent RA has the utmost commitment to their project, displayed by regularly clearing hurdles that are in their way as well as displaying a diverse array of research methods and practices and the completion of multiple research projects. They have also displayed an expert’s knowledge of relevant literature and knowledge in their respective field and they have tailor made their research plans along the gaps in the knowledge-base with little to no help from their advisor. The RA has a history of presentations both in their home department as well as a strong presence at conferences. While poster presentations are applauded, an excellent RA will likely have given a talk at a conference during their tenure in their lab. They also have a history of contributing to both publications and grants, although first author publications, and active proposal writing adds additional separation from their peers. They also have a tendency to do the extra work that may be needed in certain situations, and regularly meet deadlines that have been given to them.

Research Assistant Rubric Here

4. Graduate Teaching Assistant

An excellent Teaching Assistant (TA) goes above and beyond meeting the minimum job requirements for their position. Excellence is defined by the following criteria: Attending all class meetings; serving as a liaison between students and the course instructor; holding office hours every week and ensuring that students know when office hours are held; helping struggling students by clarifying course material; grading assignments in a timely manner and including helpful, detailed recommendations and comments; genuinely caring about students’ success; communicating with students and ensuring that students are aware of who they are; hosting review sessions (when applicable); responding to students’ e-mails in a professional, helpful, and punctual manner; demonstrating knowledge of course material and sharing that knowledge with students; assisting the course’s instructor with teaching responsibilities (when applicable). Excellent TAs demonstrate a strong commitment to students by performing well in the aforementioned areas and go out of their way to ensure that academic success is achieved by students.

Teaching Assistant Rubric Here

5. Graduate Student Instructor

An ‘excellent’ Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is one that is consistently prepared for class and has prepared lecture and/or discussion material that is able to last the entire class period. The GSI also should demonstrate knowledge on the subject being taught, as seen in the content of the lectures and/or discussions, as well as knowledge of questions posed by the students. An ‘excellent’ GSI should also demonstrate an active interest in the success of his/her students by the availability of office hours, responsiveness to student emails, fair and timely grading of exams and/or assignments, and outreach to students who are struggling in the course. The ‘excellent’ GSI should also be rated as an outstanding instructor by other faculty and students alike.

Graduate Student Instructor Rubric Here

6. Registered Student Organization

An ‘excellent’ RSO is one that organizes various events throughout the year to spread out their objective to not only to their members but also to the non-members of the community. They should collaborate with other RSOs to demonstrate their good accessibility. An ‘excellent’ RSO should exhibit their impact on University and students. An ‘excellent’ RSO should also raise enough fund to perform their activities and spend the fund efficiently.

Registered Student Organization Rubric Here

*For these nomination forms, TA's are considered graduate or professional students that aid an instructor/professor with managing coursework. Graduate Student Instructors are graduate or professional students that create coursework, instruct and direct the outcome of the class they teach