Criteria & Categories

The GPSA Excellence Awards are broken up into ten categories.  See below for each category. Nominations are accepted from students, peers, and advisors. Winners are announced in the Spring and recognized at our Spring awards banquet. The award for each category, graduate students and RSOs, is $500.

Award Eligibility Criteria to be Nominated

  • The nominees should be Pullman based and student nominees should be a WSU Graduate and Professional Student who pays Pullman Service and Activity (S&A) fees.
  • The nominee should not be a previous GPSA Excellence Awardee.
  • Each person can be nominated more than once by peers. students, advisors, or themselves.
  • Self-nomination is accepted and encouraged.
  • Members of the GPSA are eligible, however may not be involved in the review process.

Evaluation process

Evaluation of each award will be done based on the Rubric by different people including GPSA Awards and Scholarship Committee, GPSA Executive Office, and Dean of Graduate School to avoid any conflict of interest.


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. If you have trouble accessing the form(s) for nomination, the Coug Presence platform form does not work with certain web browsers. It works best with Chrome. If you have any additional comments, questions, or concerns please contact the Chair of GPSA Awards and Scholarship Committee, Amir Hossein Moadab at

Award Categories and Applications

For more information about the scoring criteria, please see the Excellence Award Rubrics. For more information about the scoring criteria of the Leadership Award, please see the Leadership Award Rubric

Academic Advisor

An excellent advisor is someone who is actively involved on campus with not only his or her job but also multiple extracurricular activities and clubs. An excellent advisor is also always willing to help students and others in times of difficulty. Excellent advisors are also always continuously encouraging and setting examples for their students to excel in their respective areas. GPSA would like to take the honor of the faculty members who are exemplary in terms of guiding, helping, and encouraging their students, not based on their research excellence.

Nominate an Academic Advisor for the Excellence Award

Graduate Staff Assistant

An excellent Graduate Staff Assistant and Graduate Staff Intern should have outstanding work ethics like outstanding integrity, emphasis on quality, outstanding punctuality, and outstanding cooperation. An excellent SA and GSI would show excellent commitment to a project during difficulties, should have a good grasp of relevant work and outstanding ability to think and work both in a group and independently.

Nominate a Graduate Staff Assistant for the Excellence Award 

Graduate Research Assistant

An excellent RA receives numerous awards regarding their research or has contributed significantly to any awards 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 most 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, displaying a diverse array of research methods and practices, and completing multiple research projects. They have also displayed an expert 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 and 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.

Nominate a Graduate Research Assistant for the Excellence Award

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 promptly 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 going out of their way to ensure that students achieve academic success.

Nominate a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Excellence Award.

Graduate Student Instructor

An ‘excellent’ Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is one who is consistently prepared for class and has prepared lecture and/or discussion material that can 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 through 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.

Nominate a Graduate Student Instructor

Registered Student Organization

An excellent RSO is one that organizes various events and activities that not only relate to their objective, but also support their members and non-members in the community. An excellent RSO is one that is collaborative, and willing to work effectively with other organizations to enhance the WSU community. An excellent RSO has a record of impact, or should be able to demonstrate their impact on the University and its students, faculty and/or staff. An excellent RSO can efficiently raise funds to produce their events and activities, and has demonstrated effective management of funds to continue their service to members.

Nominate a Registered Student Organization for the Excellences Award

Community Engagement

An excellent Community Engagement candidate goes above and beyond to help build and support the WSU-Pullman community. Excellence is defined by the following criteria: working with a diverse group of people; furthering WSU and Pullman values and goals; serving as a liaison between graduate students and the Pullman community; addressing a need or providing a valuable service to the community; enhanced their research by engaging with the community; and acting as a leader and role model in the community. Excellent candidates for this award demonstrate a strong commitment to improving the WSU-Pullman community through research, outreach, and/or service.

Nominate a person for the Community Engagement Excellence Award 

The Worthy, DePauw & Wang Service Leadership Award

Mr. Wang is an alum of WSU and the first international student to be president of GPSA. The Worthy, DePauw & Wang Leadership Award recognizes exceptional graduate student leaders whose work seeks to improve the lives of fellow graduate students meaningfully. A Graduate Student Leader should exemplify service and advocacy: their leadership may have been through GPSA, an RSO, within their department, or through state wide or nation leadership. Regardless of the mechanism through which they engage in Leadership, this award seeks to recognize those who stand out in their work to bolster the lives and experiences of their fellow graduate and professional students.

Nominate a person for the Worthy, DePauw, & Wang Service Leadership Award

Senators of the Year

The executive board will decide the recipient for two senators of the Year excellence awardee based on their committee works and fulfilling the responsibilities towards the senates.

College Representative of the Year

Executive Chairs will decide the recipient of the representative of the year based on their contributions towards GPSA as an Executive member.