On behalf of the Board of Regents, the UW System Office of Academic Affairs invites nominations for the 2005 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards. Two $5,000 awards will be given to faculty and academic staff members at UW System institutions in recognition of outstanding career achievement in teaching. In addition, one $5,000 award will be given to an academic department, program or other academic unit. This award aims to recognize an academic department or program that demonstrates exceptional commitment to and effectiveness in teaching; we expect that funds from this award will be used for further program enhancements, such as professional development or teaching-related supplies and expenses. Award winners will be honored at a Board of Regents meeting. Winners and other nominees will be invited to contribute to System-sponsored programs focused on teaching excellence.


Current members of the teaching faculty and teaching academic staff at UW System institutions are eligible for individual awards. Academic departments, programs and other academic units are eligible for the group award (hereafter called the "department/program award"). Each institution is invited to submit one nomination for an individual award and one nomination for a department/program award. Campus nomination procedures should be determined by each individual institution.

Ten complete sets of nomination materials should be submitted to the Office of Professional and Instructional Development, 1666 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706.



A special Regents committee will select award recipients.



The award committee will seek evidence that nominees:

1. Are strongly committed to teaching and learning. This commitment might be demonstrated through activities meant to advance the quality and practice of teaching and learning in the individual classroom, in the department, across the curriculum or discipline, or college - and institution-wide;

2. Use extremely effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning, including (but by no means limited to) innovative uses of technology, active learning, learning communities, student portfolios, assessment;

3. Have a significant impact on students' intellectual development, helping students to develop, for example, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and/or global and multicultural understanding.

Please note that the individual Regents Teaching Excellence Award is not intended as a "teacher of the year" award; rather, it recognizes career achievements in teaching. Nominees should thus have spent a significant period of time (perhaps 10 years) in the UW System.


1. A one- or two-page reflective statement by the nominee on his or her teaching and learning philosophy, strategies and objectives, and on how these have evolved over time.

2. A condensed curriculum vitae of the nominee.

3. Two or three letters of support from current and/or past students. At least one letter should be from a student with recent or current contact with the candidate.

4. Two or three letters of support from colleagues qualified to comment on the candidate's teaching. (One should be from the department chair/program administrator.)

5. A well-organized small set of items (no more than ten pages) that document the excellence of the candidate's teaching (e.g., course syllabi, handouts, descriptions of evaluation methods, examinations, grants received for teaching/course development, videotapes, etc.). These items should be accompanied by a brief explanation of why they were included in the dossier, i.e., how they document the excellence of the nominee's teaching.

6. Evidence of the success of the candidate's teaching (no more than three pages), which may include a summary of student evaluations for each course taught over the past two years, a list of awards for teaching, invitations to speak at teaching improvement meetings, and other relevant material.



For each item below, we have given examples of the kinds of evidence that might be appropriate. Please note that this is still a relatively new program, and that our suggestions are preliminary, meant to help nominated departments/programs as they assemble material and to give selection committee members some sense of what to look for. We do not expect any single department or program to include all of the kinds of evidence suggested here. Every department and program is distinct and will need to document its accomplishments in a unique way. We encourage you to be both concise and creative in your selection.

The award committee will seek evidence that nominated departments or programs:

1. Recognize and foster excellence in teaching. Examples of documentation might include evidence of:

  • Teaching-focused orientation of new faculty;
  • Department- or program-based awards; consideration of teaching in merit pay, promotion and tenure decisions; or other incentives or rewards for outstanding teaching;
  • Active support for innovative instruction, for a diversity of teaching models and approaches, and for continuous improvement in teaching and learning;
  • Where applicable, attention to the development of graduate students and/or part-time instructors as effective teachers;
  • Effective use of technology to enhance teaching and learning; collaborative efforts to integrate appropriate use of technology across programs and curricula;
  • Recognition of teaching-related research, publication, software, and other work that advances the practice of teaching and learning;
  • Clear articulation of how quality is defined, promoted and assessed by the department or program.

2. Approach teaching as a public, collaborative activity. Examples of documentation might include evidence of:

  • Mentoring programs;
  • Formal or informal teaching discussion groups;
  • Support for faculty visiting one another's classrooms;
  • Team and interdisciplinary teaching;
  • Encouragement of faculty to develop and share teaching portfolios;
  • Support for and evidence of faculty engagement in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

3. Have thoughtfully constructed and effective curricula for academic programs ranging from general education to graduate degree programs, as applicable. Examples of documentation might include evidence of:

  • Curricular goals that are well-defined, assessed, and effectively communicated to faculty and students;
  • Curricular goals that promote global, civic, and multicultural understanding;
  • Thoughtfully and coherently structured curricula;
  • Consideration of the way the curriculum relates to students' broader education;
  • Consideration of the way the curriculum serves a variety of student needs;
  • A well-defined, effective and ongoing process for developing, reviewing and changing curricula;
  • Opportunities for faculty and undergraduate student research;
  • Opportunities for service learning effectively integrated into academic programs.

4. Create a positive climate for learning and demonstrate significant impact on student learning Examples of documentation might include evidence of:

  • Recruitment and retention of majors, minors, graduate students, etc., as applicable;
  • Non-majors enrolled in department/program courses as electives;
  • Thoughtful, constructive, and effective advising of students shared by all or most department/program members;
  • Creation of and support for learning communities;
  • Opportunities for interaction and dialogue among students;
  • Department- or program-sponsored co-curricular activities for students;
  • Consideration of obstacles the curriculum presents to underrepresented groups of students and steps taken to remove those obstacles;
  • Positive student evaluations of courses;
  • Assessment of student learning (beyond assigning course grades); results of such assessment; use of assessment results to measure and ensure quality and plan further program improvements.


1. Nomination letter from vice chancellor or chancellor.

2. A narrative statement of up to five pages from the department or program discussing its philosophy as a community of teacher-scholars, its goals and strategies, and how these have evolved over time. This section should convey a sense of the discipline being taught by the department and/or the program's goals for and assessment of student learning and development.

3. A one-page fact profile of the department or program.

4. Up to five letters of support from current and/or past students.

5. A well-organized small set of items (no more than 10 pages) that document the excellence of the department/program's teaching and its students' learning, its commitment to working together as a community of teacher-scholars, and its curriculum. Some of these items (and/or part of #2, the department/program's statement) might focus on identifying a particular teaching problem or issue and documenting how the department/program as a unit addressed the issue.

Examples of items: course syllabi; annotated descriptions of academic programs/curricula; descriptions of methods for evaluating faculty and students and of evaluation results and impact on program; selections from curriculum planning and/or program review documents; description of mentoring programs; grants received for teaching/course/curriculum development; teaching awards, etc.

These items should include an explanation of why they were included in the dossier.

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The Office of Professional and Instructional Development is part of the Office of Academic and Student Services, University of Wisconsin System. UWS logo

This page can be reached at: http://www.uwsa.edu/opid/awards/regcall.htm. It was last updated on February 3, 2005 .