The department’s Academic Awards of Excellence are funded through the generosity and support of our alumni and friends. Each year, Communication faculty and staff select undergraduate and graduate students to receive these honors. Each award has a story behind it – whether created by friends of the Department to celebrate a prestigious professor, recognize a prized alum, or remember a fallen journalist who left behind a legacy. To learn more about each award, click the (+) next to its name:

These awards honor the research, mentoring, and service of Barbara Warnick, whose leadership in Communication Studies broadly, and in rhetorical scholarship especially, produced knowledge about public argument that has inspired many colleagues and students. The Barbara Warnick Research Endowment provides financial support for insightful, creative scholarly research by M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Communication.

Alumnus Peter Clarke is a world-renowned professor and researcher in health communication who has invested in our graduate and undergraduate students in all kinds of ways. Clarke and the Department of Communication created the Faculty Awards for Outstanding Completed Research to provide support and honor students who have completed research projects. This set of awards includes four categories: awards for an outstanding undergraduate honors thesis, M.A. thesis, M.C. project, and Ph.D. dissertation.

Frederick E. Baker was a successful advertising and public relations practitioner in Seattle and beyond, influencing political and civic affairs in the state and in the nation’s capital. The Fred Baker Ethics Award was established in recognition of his accomplishments and quality of caring, and is awarded to students who embody this long-time Seattle advertising executive’s commitment to ethical practice, leadership, and civic engagement.

The Deborah Kaplan Awards for Narrative Journalism were created to honor the work and legacy of Communication professor Deborah Kaplan, who passed unexpectedly in 2006. Kaplan was an innovative journalist and educator who had a long history of writing about social issues. In both of her careers, as a journalist and as a university professor, she used in-depth interviews, immersion reporting, and field work to document and detail the human condition. The Deborah Kaplan Awards are given annually to support outstanding undergraduate work in narrative journalism.

This award supports an outstanding completed research paper by a graduate student with a focus on communication and difference.

Jody Deering Nyquist is Associate Dean Emerita of the UW Graduate School and an emerita member of the graduate faculty of the UW Department of Communication. Having received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the UW, Nyquist has been a faculty member since 1969. In 2005, Nyquist was inducted into the inaugural class of the Department of Communication’s Alumni Hall of Fame, and in 2014 was selected the Department’s Distinguished Alumna. Nyquist and the University of Washington Department of Speech Communication (now part of the Department of Communication), established this annual award for undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence in the study of communication and original research.

To acknowledge the outstanding teaching of our graduate students, the UW Department of Communication Professional Development Committee, and the Graduate Committee, created a new award in 2020. Candidates are required to exemplify most, if not all of, the following qualities: extraordinary effectiveness as a UW instructor; extensive knowledge and mastery of the subject matter; effectiveness at engaging students and supporting student success; innovation in course and/or curriculum design; ability to inspire, guide, and mentor students through independent and creative thinking; service as a mentor, collaborator and/or consultant to other teaching assistants and instructors of record; and contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

The Pioneer News Group is a multimedia company committed to advancing and empowering the communities it serves by providing essential information and services as a trusted and indispensable public resource. In partnership with the Pioneer News Group and the Hearst Endowment, Department faculty give annual awards in multiple journalism categories.