Excellence in Teaching Award

Purpose of the Award

The excellence awards serve the following major purposes:

  1. To signal the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching.
  2. To reward faculty excellence in teaching.
  3. To thereby promote excellence in teaching among other faculty.

Nature and Number of Awards

Up to four awards may be given in any one year for excellence in teaching by faculty and up to two awards for excellence in teaching by graduate students. The committee does not give the maximum number of awards unless there are enough truly excellent candidates to justify such action that year.

  • Faculty each receive $5,000. Funds for the teaching awards for faculty come from the Offices of the President and Provost. A brick inscribed with the recipient’s name is also placed in Mentor’s Circle.
  • Graduate students each receive $1,500. Funds for the teaching awards for graduate students come from the Offices of the President and Provost.

Criteria of Excellence

Please nominate individuals who demonstrate the following qualities:

Intellectually demanding and rigorous

  • is thought-provoking and intellectually demanding
  • relates course material to other fields, contemporary issues, student experiences

Deeply committed to teaching and students

  • is enthusiastic about teaching
  • is conscientious, organized, and well-prepared for class
  • is concerned about individual students and their development
  • is readily available to students

Communication with students and relaying of course content

  • provides clear expectations, relevant assignments, and ample feedback
  • presents material clearly, asks good questions, and adjusts strategies as necessary to facilitate understanding
  • engages students and stimulates participation
  • is open-minded, fair, and respectful of differences among students

Has positive and lasting impact on students

  • inspires students to excel
  • promotes critical reading, thinking, and writing
  • produces more learning than in other courses
  • affects students’ educational and career goals and achievements

Rules of Eligibility for the Award

  1. Person nominated must be a full-time UD faculty member or a currently enrolled full-time graduate student who has full responsibility for teaching a course or laboratory section. (“Faculty” refers to having either a primary or secondary appointment as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or full professor.) The nominee may teach either undergraduate or graduate students, or both.
  2. Person has not won this award in the last ten years.
  3. The nominee himself/herself has NOT solicited this nomination in any manner.
  4. Your nomination of this particular person is entirely voluntary. That is, you are NOT submitting it because you felt pressure from someone in authority over you to do so (advisor, current instructor or TA, department chair, etc.).

Retention of Nominations

Nominations are not discarded. They are saved for the next year so that evidence can build up for individuals who are re-nominated.

Deadline for Submissions: Feb 1.

Nominations received after this date will be considered in the following year.

Selection Procedures

Awardees are selected by the University Faculty Senate’s Committee on Student and Faculty Honors.

The Committee compares the evidence provided in the nominations against pre-established criteria for excellence in teaching. It pays particular attention to nominations from current and past students. Number of nominations cannot substitute for evidence of truly outstanding teaching.

The committee will require the following additional information from semi-finalists.

For Faculty:

In order to best evaluate the nominees, the committee will assemble a list of faculty semi-finalists by February 15.  The chair will contact each semi-finalist to request a one-page (maximum) teaching philosophy. Faculty candidates who wish to be considered for the award must submit this teaching philosophy to the committee by March 1.

For Graduate Students:

In order to best evaluate the nominees, the committee will assemble a list of graduate student semi-finalists by February 15.  The chair will contact each graduate student semi-finalist to request the name of their faculty advisor/supervisor.  The faculty advisor/supervisor will be asked to submit a letter outlining the graduate student’s teaching responsibilities and their pedagogical accomplishments. This letter must be submitted to the committee by March 1.