Guidelines for the Valparaiso University Teaching Award

Nomination Process:

The campus community will be informed about the award and nomination process via an article in the Campus Chronicle, a campus-wide email, or the Torch. Individual faculty members or academic units may be nominated. Nominations may be made by any member of the University community (students, faculty, staff, and administrators) by notifying the dean of the appropriate college by JANUARY 24, 2014. Note: Self-nominations are encouraged. Nominators should submit a one-page nomination letter, maximum 300 words, citing the area of particular excellence (course development, pedagogy, or mentoring/advising) and concisely arguing for the faculty member’s or unit’s selection.

Documentation Requirements:

The dean of each college contacts the nominees and requests that they submit a one-page (front only) pedagogically-oriented CV, a recommendation letter, a narrative supporting their finalist status, and attachments of up to six pages (one-sided) of supporting evidence. In the case of academic unit finalists, no CV is necessary. 

  • The pedagogically-oriented CV should include articles published, presentations given, workshops attended, etc. that are related to teaching and learning. This is not necessary in the case that an academic unit is a finalist.
  • The recommendation letter can be written by anyone who is familiar with the nominee's teaching. This could be a colleague, department chair, or dean.
  • The narrative, maximum 1,000 words, should address ONE of these relevant questions: 
    • Course Development - What is your image of an excellent course? How are the elements you see as essential to an excellent course grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning and reflected in your teaching?
    • Pedagogy - What is your image of excellent teaching? How are the characteristics you see as essential to excellent teaching grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning and reflected in your teaching?
    • Mentoring/Advising - What is your image of an excellent mentor or advisor? How are these elements grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning and reflected in your interactions with students?
  • The narrative should provide concrete evidence to support the nominee's case. The narrative could include evidence from, for example: syllabi, course assignments, course assessments, student correspondence, student evaluations, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. The narrative should also address the criteria on the relevant rubric and any relevant university-wide student learning objectives. Nominees should describe the formative process used to improve his or her teaching.
  • The attachments should include supporting evidence such as syllabi, course assignments, course assessments, student correspondence, student evaluations, etc. Note that when including syllabi or student evaluations, be selective and only include those parts that are relevant to the application.

Screening Process:

The dean of each college chooses, after consultation with the relevant screening committee, a finalist or finalists (in the case of Arts and Sciences).  The names and nomination packet are forwarded to the Provost’s Office. One finalist will be submitted from the colleges of Business, Christ College, Engineering, and Nursing. The College of Arts and Sciences may submit up to six finalists. The Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching will select the award recipients from the list of finalists.

Each screening committee will be composed of three full-time faculty members and two student members.  The faculty-student committee selection process is not defined by the Committee to Enhance Learning and Teaching.  Colleges with small faculty numbers may elect to request faculty who serve an adjunct role within that unit to serve as members of the screening committee.

Each college screening committee may choose to have the finalist(s) not selected to receive the award for teaching excellence, automatically resubmitted as a finalist during the next two successive years.  After that time, however, the committee must reconsider this candidate(s) along with other new nominations.