Distinguished Teaching Award

James NewtonPurpose

The goal of the UCLA Academic Senate Teaching Award is to increase awareness of UCLA's leadership in teaching and public service by honoring individuals who bring respect and admiration to the scholarship of teaching. By recognizing teachers for their achievements, the award gives UCLA an opportunity to demonstrate to the community, alumni, students, parents, donors, and others what makes UCLA "a beacon of excellence in higher education." These awards are an effective way to boost morale on campus and provide role models for faculty and students.

History

Senate Members: The UCLA Alumni Association first presented the Distinguished Teaching Awards in 1961 to Academic Senate members. Traditionally, five teaching awards have been presented to Senate members by the Alumni Association. One of these five Senate winners is cited for Distinction in Teaching at the Graduate Level and another is designated to receive the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching. In 2004, a sixth award for Distinction in Undergraduate Research Mentorship was implemented to honor an Academic Senate faculty member who has provided superb mentorship to undergraduate students engaged in research and/or creative, scholarly projects. The new award was recommended by the Joint Taskforce on Undergraduate Education in Research Context.

Teaching Assistants: In 1975, the UCLA Office of Instructional Development (OID) began sponsorship of awards to teaching assistants.

Non-Senate Members: In spring of 1985, OID sponsored three more awards given to instructors who are not Senate members. This category includes lecturers, adjunct professors, and clinical faculty members. The Committee on Teaching selects all of the award recipients.

Award Categories

Because great teachers come from all academic ranks we encourage your department to nominate anyone who teaches graduate or undergraduate students and meets the program's criteria.

The Academic Senate Committee on Teaching will name six members of the Senate, three non-Senate faculty, and five teaching assistants to receive awards in the following categories:

  • Distinguished Teaching Award: Senate Faculty (6 Senate Members)
  • Distinguished Teaching Award: Non-Senate Faculty (3 Non-Senate Faculty)
  • Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award (5 Teaching Assistants)

Each recipient will receive a cash award as part of their recognition. The Senate winners will receive $6,000, non-Senate winners $6,000, and teaching assistant recipients will receive $2,500. A $20,000 Dissertation Fellowship Award from the UCLA Graduate Division will also be given to teaching assistants who are eligible. In addition, the recipients will each receive a certificate of recognition and UCLA media exposure.

The names of the winners in all three categories will be announced publicly at the Spring Legislative Assembly meeting in June 2018. All recipients will be honored and receive their awards at the annual Andrea L. Rich Night to Honor Teaching Ceremony in Fall 2018

Eligibility

  • Nominees may teach at the graduate or undergraduate level
  • All nominees must be actively teaching during the 2017-18 academic year, or have done so during the 2016-17 academic year.

Distinguished Teaching Award: Senate Faculty

Must be Academic Senate members (members of the Professional series, Professor in Residence series, and Professor of Clinical (e.g. Medicine) series, Acting Professors, Acting Associate Professors, full time Lecturers with Security of Employment, full time Senior Lecturers with Security of Employment) at the time they are nominated by the department.

Distinguished Teaching Award: Non-Senate Faculty

Must be non-Senate Faculty (faculty in the Adjunct series, Clinical compensated series, Visiting Professors, Acting Assistant Professors, Lecturers without the security of employment) at the time they are nominated by the department.

Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award

Must be continuing UCLA graduate students who teach and serve an apprenticeship under the tutelage and supervision of regular faculty at the time they are nominated by the department.

Criteria

In evaluating "distinguished teaching" the Committee on Teaching will take into account a variety of elements. Among the factors that will be considered are:

  • Impact on students (e.g., had a role in the eventual success of the students, helped change students’ majors or career plans, or significantly influenced students’ lives)
  • Efforts to create a learning environment in which diverse students can succeed
  • Scholarly approach to teaching (e.g., the use of innovative teaching methods in the classroom; programmatic innovations in curriculum and the impact such innovations might have at the local or national level)
  • Size, number, and diversity of classes taught
  • Involvement in community outreach activities
  • Teaching ratings

Criteria for Mentorship in Undergraduate Research Award

  • Evidence of mentoring undergraduates. This section of the dossier should provide factual evidence for mentorship, including, but not limited to, the following:
    • List of students mentored in entry-level research, such as the Student Research Program (SRP) course
    • Advanced seminars, laboratories or studio classes in which each student must complete a directed research project
    • List of students mentored in independent studies courses (i.e., 199); include titles of papers or projects
    • List of students mentored in honors research (i.e., 198, formally 199H) or senior projects in the performing arts or engineering design; include titles of papers or projects
    • List of publications in which a mentored undergraduate student was a co-author or sole author; student's name should be listed in bold type and underlined
    • List of presentations (e.g., science abstracts/posters) or performances (e.g., concerts, poetry readers, theater, film, etc.) given by mentored undergraduate students

The Judging Process

The Committee on Teaching comprised of nine Senate faculty and at least one student (a graduate and/or undergraduate representative) will assess the nominees based on the program's criteria. All nominees will be evaluated in three cycles of four to six weeks duration between January 1 and May 31. Members of the Committee will read all the files and rate each candidate within each award category. The final decisions will be made in three separate meetings of the Committee. Senate Faculty winners will be chosen in March, Teaching Assistants in April, and non-Senate Faculty in May.

Entry Steps

apply for distinguished teaching award

NOTE THAT FAILURE TO ADHERE TO THE REQUIREMENTS BELOW MAY BE GROUNDS FOR REJECTION OF THE APPLICATION.

 

1. COVER LETTER FROM THE NOMINATING DEPARTMENT (NO MORE THAN TWO PAGES—SINGLE SIDED)

This letter must be written by the department chair and is critical. It should describe as completely as possible what it is that makes the candidate’s teaching distinguished as opposed to good or merely adequate. To be most effective, the letter should serve as a guide or index to the subsequent dossier, alerting the reader to the most important elements (specific comments, letters and abstracted phrases). If negative comments are included (see 6) they can be addressed in the cover letter.

If appropriate, the letter should describe why a candidate is to be considered for the undergraduate mentorship award or for a citation for distinction in graduate teaching or the art of teaching.

TOPICS TO COVER: An example of topics, which can be conveniently arranged under subheadings include teaching evaluations, number and types of courses taught, impact on students (personal and academic), contributions to teaching, teaching innovations, and community outreach.

Since normal teaching loads vary by department, the letter should include an explanation of how the candidate's teaching load compares to the department norm.

2. A TWO-PAGE CURRICULUM VITAE

The judges need a concise presentation of the nominee’s education, teaching experience, other teaching awards, publications, service, and other significant contributions. If you choose to, you may summarize this information using a biographical format. Please include the nominee’s home and office phone numbers.

3. A LIST OF COURSES THE NOMINEE HAS TAUGHT

Must include the course titles, whether the courses were primarily for major or non-majors, required or not, course enrollments, the number of student evaluations received, and the average student evaluation scores. The department score averages must also be included as well as the relevant teaching score averages for the Academic Unit in which the particular courses were offered. For those wishing to be considered for the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award, this section should also include factual evidence of outstanding mentorship as outlined in the section on criteria.

4. A TEACHING STATEMENT. EACH NOMINEE MUST WRITE A BRIEF (NO MORE THAN TWO PAGES) STATEMENT OF TEACHING DESCRIBING CONTRIBUTIONS MADE AS A TEACHER

Nominees may describe their scholarly approach to teaching through such examples as:

• Innovative techniques developed to evaluate student learning and to provide feedback
• A course created or a curriculum he or she revised
• Examples of effective advising and mentoring techniques
• Innovative teaching techniques shared with other teachers
• How the learning process extends beyond the classroom
• Creative ways that research or public service has been used to illuminate teaching
• Any projects or grants related to instruction, in which the nominee has been involved
• Efforts to promote inclusivity in the classroom                                                                     

5. A LIST OF WRITTEN COMMENTS FROM STUDENT EVALUATION FORMS (NO MORE THAN TWO PAGES)

Only include the written comments that clearly contain important information not adequately presented elsewhere in the dossier.

6. NO MORE THAN FIVE LETTERS OF SUPPORT (ONE TO TWO PAGES EACH)

- The letters must include the following

  1. One letter from a current faculty member who is different from the nominator
  2. Two letters written by current/former undergraduate/graduate students
  3. Two additional letters from whomever the nominee chooses. Note that these letters could be written by alumni as alumni have the advantage of seeing the nominee’s teaching through a greater time span and from the perspective of a different stage of life. Letters could additionally come from colleagues, such as faculty, teaching assistants, academic deans, other associates and also may come from anyone else in the community or in his or her profession who supports the nomination.

- Letters should discuss the instructor’s success in and dedication to teaching and give specific examples of how the instructor fulfills the program’s criteria. Letters of support should be addressed to the Academic Senate Committee on Teaching but sent to the nominating faculty member.

7. OTHER SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

- Course syllabi (maximum three)

- Textbook authored or co-authored by the nominee (Optional: Forward hard copy of textbook to Renee Rouzan-Kay, Academic Senate, Box 951408, 3125 Murphy Hall)

- Note that no other materials should be submitted as supporting evidence.

Entry Instructions

All nominations are submitted online via the Academic Senate’s Web Portal: https://dms.senate.ucla.edu/. Due dates for online submissions are:

February 9, 2018 - Senate Faculty
March 9, 2018 - Teaching Assistants
April 6, 2018 - Non-Senate Faculty

 

Self-nominations will not be accepted