Distinguished Teaching Award
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 teaching, at UCLA. 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, and highlights best practices.
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 Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT) began sponsorship of awards to teaching assistants.
Non-Senate Members: In spring of 1985, CAT 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.
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 2020. All recipients will be honored and receive their awards at the annual Andrea L. Rich Night to Honor Teaching Ceremony in Fall 2020.
- Nominees may teach at the graduate or undergraduate level
- All nominees must be actively teaching during the 2019-20 academic year, or have done so during the 2018-19 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.
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
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.
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 signed 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. The letter should include, examples on the nominee's teaching pedagogy, innovation, inclusiveness, outreach activities and areas where diversity is fostered. 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 are included (see 6) they can be addressed in the cover letter. Joint nominations should include letters from each nominating unit.
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.
Keep in mind that impactful cover letters contain some information from the chair that cannot be found anywhere else in the application.
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. Please include the nominee's email address, personal and office phone numbers.
If evaluation scores are available, the list of scores must be included in the template provided. Please include all the courses taught onto the template. If the nominee has taught for more than 15 years, please include the most recent 15 years. Do not append individual evaluation forms.
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 should describe their teaching philosophy. They should also explain their scholarly approach to teaching.
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 for the Senate and Non- Senate Distinguished Teaching Awards must include the following:
- One letter from a current faculty member who is different from the nominator.
- Three letters written by current/former undergraduate/graduate students. At least two of these letters must be from students who took a course with the nominee. The third letter could be from someone who was mentored solely in research.
- One additional letter from whomever the nominee chooses. Note that these letters could be written by an alumnus, 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. This letter could additionally come from faculty, teaching assistants, academic deans, and anyone else in the community or in his or her profession who supports the nomination.
- The letters for the Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award must include the following:
- Two letters from current faculty members who have taught classes in which the student was a teaching assistant. These faculty members must be different from the nominator.
- Two letters written by current/former undergraduates/ graduates. These letters must be from students who took a course with the nominee.
- One additional letter from whomever the nominee chooses. Note that this letter could be written by alumnus. This letter could additionally come from faculty, teaching assistants, academic deans and anyone else in the community or in his or her profession who supports the nomination.
For all teaching awards, the letters should discuss the instructor's success in the 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. COURSE SYLLABI
Course syllabi (maximum three). Each syllabus should be exactly the same as the most recent syllabus provided to students in their class.
Note that no other materials should be submitted as supporting evidence.
All nominations are submitted online via the Academic Senate’s Web Portal: https://dms.senate.ucla.edu/. Due dates for online submissions are:
February 7, 2020 - Senate Faculty
March 6, 2020 - Teaching Assistants
April 3, 2020 - Non-Senate Faculty
A Department, Interdisciplinary Program ( IDP), Center for Interdisciplinary Instruction (CII), or other Academic unit offering regular undergraduate, graduate, or professional instruction may submit no more than two nominations per category for this award.
If you have any questions about this program or need assistance regarding your nomination, kindly contact Renee Rouzan-Kay in the Academic Senate Office ([email protected])
Self-nominations will not be accepted