Skip Navigation

Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Award

Our faculty awards recognize outstanding experienced and new faculty at the graduate and undergraduate levels who demonstrate teaching excellence, as well as leadership and scholarship in their discipline.

The recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year award will be selected from the year's Excellence in Teaching Award recipients. 

  • Top Candidates are presented to the Academic Awards Committee
  • The University Provost grants final approval
  • The award may, but will not necessarily, be awarded annually to one faculty member per academic school
  • Open to part-time and full-time faculty members
  • Award recipients will be honored during Commencement weekend, and should we have an in-person celebration, one night accommodations and individual travel expenses to attend Commencement will be paid for by the University
  • Award recipients receive a crystal trophy 
  • Award recipients are not required to travel to Commencement to accept the award

Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year Recipient

Ms. Kristen Kostelnik 

Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, School of STEM

Professor Kristen Kostelnik joined APUS over ten years ago as an adjunct faculty member in Environmental Science, with the goals of designing two new botany courses to be offered in the Science curriculum and teaching core courses such as soil science. Since that time, she has joined the team as a full-time Assistant Professor in Environmental Science. Kristen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and a Master of Science in Botany from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. She has been broadly trained as an ecologist and conservation biologist with research focusing on rare, threatened, and endangered plant species and their associated plant communities. That training, combined with prior research in education and policy, has resulted in a current focus on teaching ecology at various scales, conservation biology, soil science, and environmental management.

Kristen is the lead instructor and primary professor for many of the required upper-level Environmental Science courses. This means most of our students have her as an instructor at least once, sometimes multiple times during their degree. Her desire to bring her authentic self and personal passion to the subject matter in the context of the safest, most inclusive community of learners that possible is what motivates her. This passion is combined with a commitment to "serving those who serve" not just from the military perspective but a global community perspective. She measures her success by forging real connections with students, ensuring that they leave APUS knowing and caring about nature. Along with this, a confidence that they belong in our community of scholars and, by extension, able to work in some aspect of Environmental Science.


The submission deadline is now closed. Please stay tuned in Fall 2022 for additional information and contact the University Awards Committee if you have questions.