The Shirley Hanson Roberts (`56) and Richard D. Roberts Endowment for Faculty Excellence Award is given to two full-time instructional faculty members. Each recipient receives $12,500.

Criteria for Award

Selection for the awards will be based on criteria expressed by the donors as well as those established by the Academic Council.

Donor Wishes

A nominee must possess a record of excellence in any of the following:

  • Mentorship and nurturing of undergraduate students
  • Strong collaboration and support for students in and out of the classroom
  • A deep engagement that has helped transformed the student through experiences involving high impact practices
  • Helping to transform the culture of the learning experience and to improve the academic unit 
  • Modeling an approach that has transformed the unit

According to the Roberts, the award recipient must “be known as a caring, knowledgeable and collaborative partner in learning with students, and, through partnering, inspire students to believe in themselves, to take risks, to question and to enjoy the process of learning, growth and self-discovery.”

Academic Council Guidelines

At the time of nomination, applicants must:

  • be full-time instructional faculty, either tenured, tenure-track or RTA
  • hold the rank of associate professor or professor
  • be in at least their third year of employment at JMU (hired fall 2018 or prior)

Candidates who have not received a high-level award ($5,000+) in their college within the last three years will be given preference.

In addition to a salary supplement or to support instruction or research, this award may also be used as support for student mentorship.


  • Colleges are invited to make one nomination. Nominations must be made through the dean and supported by the nominee’s academic unit. 
  • Completed packets are submitted to the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Effectiveness and Evaluation by January 31, 2022 by email to 

 Nomination Materials

  • Nomination letter of no more than three pages from the academic unit head or unit PAC addressing the nominee’s record of achievement related to the criteria set forth by the donor
  • A personal statement of no more than three pages addressing the nominee’s accomplishments and contributions related to the award criteria
  • Faculty member’s current CV
  • A letter of support from the dean of the college to which the faculty member is assigned

Nomination Letter and Personal Statement Guidelines

  • The nominee must possess a record of consistently engaging with their students (having excellent student-faculty interaction).
  • The faculty member receiving this award must demonstrate a sustained record of engagement with undergraduate students over time.


  • A selection committee makes a recommendation to the Provost, who selects the award recipient. The selection committee includes the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Effectiveness and Evaluation (chair/non-voting), a Faculty Senate representative, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, the Mengebier Professorship recipient and two members from Academic Council appointed by the Provost.
  • Recipients will be announced at the award luncheon will be held April 28, 2022.


Nominations must be submitted to the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Effectiveness and Evaluation by January 31, 2022 by email to


Roberts Endowment for Faculty Excellence Recipients


Dr. Monica Reis-Bergan
Professor, Psychology

Dr. Joi Merritt
Associate Professor, Early, Elementary and Reading Education


Dr. Klebert Feitosa
Associate Professor, Physics

Dr. Timothy Fitzgerald
Associate Professor, History


Dr. Melissa Alemán
Professor, Communication Studies

Dr. Kristen St. John
Professor, Geology and Environmental Sciences

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