Two Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Awards are presented each year in honor of outstanding research or creative activity of national or international significance conducted by individual full-time faculty members at the University of Nebraska. Faculty members receiving the ORCA have sustained records of excellent accomplishment in their respective fields.

2015 Call for Nomination Information
Past Recipients

For more information on University of Nebraska awards, contact Angela Dibbert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (402) 472-5242.

2014 Award Winners


Susan Sheridan, Ph.D., George Holmes University Professor and Willa Cather Emeritus Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at UNL and director of the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools.
Sheridan has produced dozens of research articles and scholarly books related to children’s positive adaptation, learning and development. Her body of work is distinct in its clear focus and mission: translating research to practice in order to make a difference in the lives of children and families at risk. Sheridan’s research is internationally recognized and many of her findings have been applied effectively in schools and community programs. Sheridan is the founding director of CYFS, which engages faculty from across NU and has become one of the most successful, innovative and impactful research enterprises across the university, leveraging $20 in federal research funds for every $1 invested by UNL. In all, interdisciplinary teams led by Sheridan have brought in more than $32 million in grants from federal agencies.

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Donald Weeks, Ph.D., Maxcy Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources in the Department of Biochemistry at UNL.
Weeks’ scientific contributions have earned him international stature and will have a significant impact on biological sciences, agriculture and the biofuels industry well into the future. At UNL, Weeks has served as the director of the Center for Biotechnology, growing the university’s molecular biology program at a time when it had been lagging in expertise. He also was founding director of the Nebraska EPSCoR program, which has attracted well over $100 million in research and infrastructure to Nebraska campuses. Weeks also served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry, providing leadership that grew the department into one of the university’s most prestigious. Weeks’ research recently resulted in the major breakthrough of engineering dicamba resistance in crop plants, offering farmers a powerful new weed control option.

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