Caterpillar Award General Information

The Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching is charged with the administration of the Caterpillar Award for Excellence in Teaching.  The Caterpillar Foundation provides funding for the award which recognizes an outstanding teacher for commitment to and effectiveness in teaching.

Each year a member of the undergraduate faculty is selected for the $1,000 award.  An additional $1,000 is made available to the recipient for campus activities intended to promote excellence in teaching on the Valparaiso University campus.

Nominations may be made by any member of the University community (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) by notifying the dean of the appropriate college.  The deadline for submission of nominations is January 15.  The award is announced at a reception on Reading Day in May and presented at the December commencement ceremony of the following academic year.

Nominators should consider a candidate's effectiveness as a teacher which should involve competence in subject matter and the ability to impart knowledge in fresh and meaningful ways.  However, the specific focus of the award will be on one or more of the following three areas of distinction:

  1. Proven excellence in engaging students in the enterprise of learning so that they are empowered to become active participants and self-learners.
  2. Proven excellence in ensuring innovative methods of teaching.
  3. Proven excellence in enhancing the personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth of the students.

Under the direction of its dean, each undergraduate college will form a faculty-student committee which will screen nominees and prepare a supporting case for each finalist.  One finalist will be selected from the colleges of Business, Christ College, Engineering, and Nursing.  The College of Arts and Sciences may submit up to six finalists.  From these candidates, the Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching will select the award recipient.

All full-time faculty with at least five years of service to the University may be nominated for this award.  This award is not to be confused with the Valparaiso University Alumni Association's Distinguished Teaching Award