Preparing a Distinguished Teaching Award Dossier

The Distinguished Teaching Awards Committee seeks nominations of truly distinguished, as opposed to simply excellent, teachers.  In making its determinations, the committee places special weight on the following:  1) evidence that the candidate has had a profound, life-changing influence on students; 2) a sustained impact on student learning; 3) innovative teaching; 4) a demonstrated leadership role in teaching (on the candidate’s campus, in the region, nationally and/or internationally); 5) breadth of courses taught; and 7) the ability to be highly reflective as a teacher in his or her self-analysis. While it is not expected that candidates will demonstrate distinguished records in all of these areas, candidates are expected to document what distinguishes them as a teacher.

In most cases, the dossier for Distinguished Teaching Awards should contain the following material:

Nomination letter

Each dossier should include one letter of nomination, preferably from the department chair or dean. The letter should make the case that the nominee meets or exceeds the standard of distinguished teaching, and it should substantiate this with references to specific teaching qualities and activities. There should be no more than one letter of nomination.

Curriculum vitae

An up-to-date CV of the nominee should be included.

Courses taught

The committee considers the breadth of courses taught to be important. It looks for a wide range of courses and abilities. Dates and enrollments should be included, along with an indication of level (lower-level undergraduate, upper-level undergraduate, graduate).

Self-analysis statement

This statement of self-reflection is of central importance, and the committee gives it much weight in its deliberations. In addition to including a teaching philosophy and how the philosophy is implemented, the statement should address the following:

  • How has the candidate enlarged the content or elevated the intellectual level of his or her courses, programs, departments, degrees, curricula, and students?
  • How has constructive feedback from student evaluations and peer reviews been used to improve teaching?
  • How have teaching activities contributed to the intellectual growth of the students, the candidate, and the unit?

The statement should be between five and eight pages, double-spaced.

Candidates should keep in mind that the committee is concerned with the candidate's rigor as a teacher. 

Student support

While the committee appreciates the opinions of a candidate's students, colleagues and supervisors, it usually values these opinions in direct proportion to their spontaneity. Thus, candidates should keep in mind that the committee finds the views of students most informative when the students are least aware that these views may affect their teachers’ chances of receiving an important award.

The dossier should include a summary of the candidate’s student course evaluations for the last three years, and these should be comprehensive rather than selected. Please do not include copies of the original student evaluations. Although the committee wishes to see all qualitative comments, it only wants a summary of the quantitative scores. This summary should include an analysis of the results as well as an explanation of how the evaluations were administered.

In addition, candidates may provide summary tables that show course-evaluation scores over a longer period of time; they may also provide reflections on how they utilize these evaluations in their own professional growth.

Peer reviews

One to three formal peer review letters from faculty members familiar with a nominee’s work should be included in the dossier. A peer review based on multiple observations of a candidate’s classroom teaching is essential and will be given significantly more weight than one based on the candidate’s general reputation. Candidates are encouraged to schedule reviews of their teaching that encompass several semesters.

The following items are optional and may be included in the candidate’s dossier when appropriate to support one’s case:

Other letters of support

The dossier may include up to five letters from students and five from external sources or community members. 

Research and publications related to teaching

List publications that are specifically related to teaching. Include any public dissemination of teaching materials and methods. Please do not submit research products unrelated to teaching.

Academic student counseling and mentoring

Describe both the breadth of student mentoring and any unusual or particularly time-consuming activities.

The dossier should be submitted online (log in with your IU username and pass phrase) in .pdf format on or before October 16, 2017.

Nominations that do not result in an award may be resubmitted in subsequent years. New supporting evidence may be included in resubmitted dossiers.