Descriptions of Pioneering Spirit Awards

The following awards offer departments an opportunity to highlight students for their outstanding work as graduate students:

The Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. This award recognizes the contributions of a graduate student to teaching and learning at TWU. This is a tremendously important award as it honors outstanding graduate students, reminds the campus that teaching is a central part of the university’s mission, and can inspire students and professors to give increased attention to the educational process.

The Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award. This award recognizes a graduate student who has served in positions of administrative and educational support to other faculty and staff members. This award pays tribute to the behind-the-scenes efforts of an exceptional individual and her/his contributions to the undergraduate learning community here at TWU.

The Outstanding Graduate Research Assistant Award. This award recognizes a student for outstanding contributions to the research community here at TWU. The award focuses on both the student’s independent research experience and collaborative research projects. The novelty and implications of research performed are also considered.

The Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. This award honors an exceptional doctoral student for their significant contributions and accomplishments in the experiential learning of a doctoral program here at TWU. This award confers honor upon individuals who, by their contributions to their field and the community, have brought recognition to themselves and the university.

The Outstanding Master’s Student Award. This award recognizes a distinguished Master’s student for their scholastic aptitude, creative contributions beyond the degree or departmental requirements, and commitment to igniting potential, purpose and a pioneering spirit. This award bestows honor upon a scholar who intentionally develops the learning community at TWU in such areas as cohort leadership and community citizenship.


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The following awards offer graduate students an opportunity to highlight faculty, staff, and departments for outstanding support of our educations at TWU and beyond:

The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. This award honors an outstanding faculty member for extraordinary teaching and contributions to graduate education. Mentorship is foundational to the mission of TWU and is of great consideration in this award. Faculty distinguished by this award display a devotion to graduate students that marks the utmost dedication to our educational community.

The Distinguished Staff Supporting Graduate Students Award. This award recognizes support staff members who help create the behind-the-scenes foundation of our learning community. This is distinguished through excellence in job performance, a positive, supportive attitude, and other contributions made to enable TWU to fulfill its educational mission.

The Distinguished Department Supporting Graduate Students Award. This award recognizes a department for overall contributions to the support of graduate students. These contributions might include excellence in teaching, availability of research opportunities for students, TWU community relations, graduate mentoring, outreach and professional development, administration, and staff support.

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