DePaul University Academic Affairs > Faculty Resources > Scholarship > University Research Council > Spirit of Inquiry Awards

Spirit of Inquiry Awards


In support of the University's belief that the quest for knowledge is the foundation upon which the idea of a university rests, and the purpose that unites both teacher and student, the University Research Council (URC) makes annual DePaul University Spirit of Inquiry awards. The awards honor specific research, scholarly or creative achievements that exhibit commitment to that spirit of creative inquiry, which we endeavor to inspire in our students.  Each Spirit of Inquiry award includes the following items:

  • An honorarium of $1,500 (pre-tax), available no sooner than July 1 of the year the award is made;
  • An inscribed plaque; and
  • Acknowledgement in University publications.

The awards are announced at Convocation each autumn and the awardees' names are added to a roster of Spirit of Inquiry award winners in the Executive Offices. The URC encourages the recipients of a Spirit of Inquiry award to share their research with DePaul colleagues.  Awardees may be asked to participate in a lecture, forum or discussion group.


Faculty who have completed research, scholarly, or creative projects are eligible. At the time of the award (the autumn following the nomination) faculty members must have completed three full years of teaching at DePaul, and must be full-time faculty.

The council will bestow a maximum number of eight awards each year, but may choose to make fewer awards, depending on the pool of nominees. Every attempt should be made to distribute awards among the colleges and schools; however, there is no set quota per unit, and the council may choose to award more than one nominee in a unit. Academic units that do not wish to nominate faculty are not required to participate in this program. Academic units that wish to suggest alternative approaches to recognizing excellence in research or scholarly activities for their faculty are most welcome to do so by writing to the council at

A faculty member who receives a Spirit of Inquiry award from the council may not be selected again in the five years immediately following. Faculty members may receive research awards from their colleges simultaneously with the URC award.

Criteria for Selection

The award should recognize activities that demonstrate a significant contribution through creative, innovative, or solid, substantive work. Awards should not be made on the basis of high visibility or the amount of funding of the project, but rather should recognize research, scholarly, or creative activities of quality, rigor, and originality, and which result in important contributions to their field. The URC will weigh both the impact of the particular contribution on its discipline, field, or profession and the impact of the scholarship on the DePaul intellectual community in making their selection.

Awards may honor an individual's body of work, but in certain circumstances may honor the specific contributions of a faculty member.  Examples of specific work to be recognized might include a book, computer program, article, or musical composition, a contribution to a theatre production (directing, design, acting), a sculpture, or a poem.

Nominations Materials

The nominations package must be submitted electronically (via e-mail at and be received by the Council Chair by May 1st.

Although the colleges and schools are urged to create mechanisms for nominating possible awardees, any dean, department chair, program director, or member of the faculty can make a nomination directly to the URC, and self-nominations are possible. Unsuccessful nominations are urged to be resubmitted for future years. All nominations should include the following:

  • Letters of Support — At least three, but no more than five, support letters, including one from DePaul faculty and two from external scholars. Nominees are discouraged from including co-authors and junior faculty in their department.
  • Current Vita — A copy of each nominee's curriculum vitae or other biographical summary.
  • Documentation of Accomplishments — The documentation of accomplishments is an overview (up to three pages) provided by the nominee of his/her body of work. Typically it is organized thematically and briefly characterizes the content of the work, its noteworthy significance, and the nominee's own evaluation of his contribution to his field or to a broader societal audience.


May 1: Faculty members' nominations are received electronically (via email) by the Chair of URC, including all support materials.

May 25th: Award Notifications

September: Awardees are honored at Convocation.​​