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 6) 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.

The dossier for Distinguished Teaching Awards should not exceed 80-100 pages and contain the following material:

1. 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.

2. Teaching Philosophy and Self-analysis statement

This statement of self-reflection is of central importance, and the committee gives it much weight in its deliberations. Candidates should keep in mind that the committee is concerned with the candidate's rigor as a teacher. 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 is to be between five and eight pages, double-spaced.

3. Curriculum vitae

Include an up-to-date teaching focused CV.

4. Courses taught

The committee considers the breadth of courses taught at IU 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), as well as modality of delivery (seated, hybrid, and/or online).

5. Student support

The dossier must include a summary of the candidate’s student course evaluations for the last three years, and these should be comprehensive rather than selected. 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. Following, candidates provide brief reflections on how they utilize these evaluations in their own professional growth without duplicating information provided in the teaching philosophy and self-analysis statement (reflections should not exceed 3 pages).

6. 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.

7. Research and publications related to teaching

Briefly annotated list of publications and disseminated works that are specifically related to teaching. Include any public dissemination of teaching materials and methods. Do not submit research products unrelated to teaching. Do not include copies of the publications.

8. Academic student counseling and mentoring

Describe both the breadth of student mentoring and any unusual or particularly time-intensive activities, including evidence of teaching beyond the traditional classroom.

9. Other letters of support

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

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 be submitted online (log in with your IU username and pass phrase) in .pdf format on or before October 15, 2018.

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