The Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes a faculty member for demonstrated support of college unions and campus community building.

2020 Recipient
Lawrence Baden, Webster University, is the associate professor in the School of Communications, and he knows there is a critical connection between academics and student development. He is described as a community builder who understands that advancing campus community occurs inside and outside the classroom. Baden's enthusiasm for learning and seeing others learn is contagious. In addition to teaching, he advises student organizations, collaborates on the development of residential learning communities, and serves as a faculty NCAA liaison. Baden is seen in the University Center almost every day, meeting with one or more students to review a class assignment, a newspaper article, or material for an upcoming test.
Lawrence Baden
Past Recipients
  • 2019: Danielle DeSawal – Indiana University–Bloomington
  • 2018: Chris Laws – University of Washington


The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. The nominee must:

  • Demonstrate evidence of including the college union idea in coursework.
  • Conduct or support research relevant to advancing campus community.
  • Foster relationships that promote the college union and demonstrate participation outside of their position as a faculty member.


Individuals with ACUI membership and whose full-time role is as a faculty member are eligible for this award. Nominations will be considered for five years, provided the nominee still holds a full-time faculty role. Nominees do not need to be tenured or tenure-track.


Submission materials must include the following:

  1. Name, institution, and contact information of the nominee.
  2. Name, institution, and contact information of the nominator.
  3. Two to three letters in support of the applicant to receive the award written by individuals such as direct supervisors/advisors, peers/colleagues, students, faculty members, etc., addressing:
  • The achievements of the nominee in the profession.
  • The demonstrated commitment of the nominee to the criteria identified for this specific award.
  • A summary of the nominee’s background to provide evidence that they meet the criteria identified for this specific award, including information related to professional experience and volunteer service—providing a current resume or curriculum vitae for the nominee is optional.

The nomination deadline is December 11.

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Electronic notification will be sent to confirm award submissions have been received. A confidential Individuals Awards and Scholarships Committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review materials to make the selection. One recipient will be chosen, unless otherwise noted for the specific award. One physical award will be given to the recipient, who will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.