Professor Geeta Patel with students in classroom

Teaching Awards

Teaching awards at the University of Virginia annually recognize the most dedicated, passionate, creative, and equity-minded instructors who significantly and meaningfully contribute to the University’s teaching mission.

Exceptional candidates are identified through a nomination process and selected by a representative committee. Nominating one’s professor or colleague for a UVA teaching or public service award is not only a noble act, but one that redounds to the benefit of the department, as well as the individual. Anyone—faculty, student, or staff—may make a nomination. The nominee must be a salaried member of the faculty; faculty wage employees are not eligible. Questions about the awards process or dossier materials should be addressed to Sherri Barker.

Nominees will be considered for any of the teaching awards for which they are eligible.

Completed nomination packets are due by 5:00 p.m. on January 8, 2024.

Nomination Packets


Nominations should be compiled principally by the nominator with support from the nominee. To guide the nomination process and help the Awards Committee conduct an equitable selection process, we ask that all nomination packets (aka dossiers) conform to the following requirements. The committee will not consider any dossiers that do not.

  1. Keep within stated page limits for each supporting element. The entire document should not exceed 30 pages.
  2. Use a 12-point sans-serif font (e.g., Calibri) for the entire dossier.
  3. Set margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  4. Create a single PDF with all supporting documents in the following order:
    1. Cover Page (download MS Word template):  The cover page includes contact information for the nominator(s), nominee, and signature lines, including the endorsement from the nominees’ dean, chair, or direct supervisor, as appropriate.
    2. Nomination Letter (limit: 2 pages). The letter should identify the main reasons for the nomination and summarize the nominee’s teaching strengths and talents. More than simply a summary of the components in the dossier, the most compelling statements make a clear, persuasive case for why the nominee is deserving of a University-level teaching award based on personal knowledge of the nominee’s teaching.
    3. Nominee’s Reflective Teaching Statement (limit: 2 pages). In the reflective teaching statement, nominees should articulate their beliefs about and commitment to teaching and learning. The statement should describe the nominee’s overall goals for student learning, how the nominee assesses learning, and how the nominee engages students in and out of the classroom. The most compelling statements provide clear examples supporting these aspects of their teaching.
    4. Statement of Nominee’s Equitable and Inclusive Teaching Practices (limit: 1 page). Nominees should describe their practices that purposefully create equitable and inclusive learning environments, including data on outcomes, if available. This statement might describe, for example, how the nominee centers inclusivity and equity in their learning objectives; how their teaching activities meet the needs of diverse learners; how their course materials, such as readings, provide a full spectrum of perspectives on topics and how they are accessible to all students, including those with disabilities; how their course design provides flexibility to meet the learning opportunities that arise in the moment in the classroom.
    5. Nominee’s Curriculum Vitae (limit: 2 pages). This abbreviated CV should highlight the nominee’s teaching activities, including, for example, teaching responsibilities, mentoring and advising activities, curriculum development, relevant professional development activities, teaching-related publications and presentations, other teaching awards, or teaching-related committee work.
    6. Letters of Support (limit: 5, 1-page letters; at least 2 from faculty and 2 from students). Faculty letters supporting the nominee’s dossier should come from faculty colleagues familiar with the nominee’s teaching; student letters should be written by the nominee’s former students. The most compelling letters describe, using specific examples based on direct observation, the nominee’s teaching prowess, passion and creativity in the classroom, skill in mentoring students or other instructors, and/or their ability to connect with and engage students from diverse backgrounds.
    7. Representative Course Syllabus. Include one syllabus that best represents the nominee’s approach to syllabus and course design. The most compelling syllabi will further support the nominee’s approach to teaching described in their reflective teaching statement.
    8. Supporting Materials (limit: 5 pages). Nominees are invited to include materials that provide evidence of their teaching excellence and contributions to pedagogy. For example, they may include course material (e.g., project descriptions, assignments, course notes) to illustrate their pedagogical approaches, materials used to coach others (e.g., mentoring plans, instructions for TA), publication abstracts, etc.
    9. Student Evaluation Data (download MS Excel template). Student evaluation data—both quantitative ratings and qualitative comments—should provide an overview and comparison of students’ perceptions of the nominee’s teaching over time. The nominee should provide data for all UVA courses they have taught in the three most recent years. In order to make these data as equitably comparable across schools and departments as possible, the committee requires that nominators use the Teaching Awards Evaluation Data template, preferably using data from the University-wide on-line system. Detailed directions for summarizing both quantitative and qualitative data are provided inthe template (worksheets 1 and 2, respectively).
Evaluation Rubric
Evaluation Rubric used by the Teaching Awards Committee
CriteriaStandard and Potential Evidence Sources
Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness

Dossier includes evidence demonstrating the instructor's ability to consistently design and implement effective learning environments that encourage student engagement and learning. Evidence might include:

  • faculty and student comments specifically focused on behaviors consistent with high-quality teaching and learning
  • demonstrated use of evidence-based pedagogies (e.g., collaborative learning, peer-instruction and feedback, interactive lecturing, writing as inquiry, etc.)
  • data on student outcomes or references to or products of student learning (e.g., student publications, design projects, awards)
  • High student teaching evaluations (including quantitative and qualitative components) related to teaching and learning effectiveness
Evidence of Creativity, Passion, and Dedication to Students

Dossier includes evidence demonstrating the instructor's creativity and passion for teaching, for every instructional modality used, format, or academic level. The dossier also includes evidence demonstrating the instructor’s efforts to engage students meaningfully both in and out of the classroom.

Evidence might include:

  • creative course design elements (e.g., assignments, activities)
  • distinctive types of teaching or pedagogical strategies, especially if atypical for the instructor’s discipline (e.g., team-based learning, on-line/hybrid)
  • engagement with students outside of the classroom (e.g., community-engaged teaching; study abroad; mentoring)
  • advising independent studies/research projects
  • faculty and student comments specifically focused on creativity, passion, and dedication beyond the classroom
Commitment to teaching improvement

Dossier includes evidence demonstrating the instructor’s commitment to improving student learning and professional development of themselves and others as educators.

Evidence might include:

  • Actions taken to improve teaching based on feedback
  • Development activities to improve one's teaching (e.g., participation in teaching-related events, workshops symposia, courses, learning communities)
  • Activities to improve teaching practices of peers or trainees (e.g., mentoring, providing formative feedback, or leading communities of learning)
  • Contributions to pedagogy (e.g., participation in pedagogical conferences, publications or presentations related to the instructor's own studies on their teaching or students’ learning)
  • Continual improvement in student evals
Evidence of Equitable and Inclusive Practices

Dossier includes evidence demonstrating the instructor’s commitment to creating and supporting equitable and inclusive learning environments that recognize the contributions and inherent value of all students.

Evidence might include:

  • faculty and student comments specifically focused on equity and inclusion
  • advising or mentorship activities designed to promote inclusion of groups traditionally underrepresented in the discipline
  • development activities focused on equitable and inclusive teaching (e.g., attending or presenting at workshops, conferences, etc. focused on inclusive and equitable teaching)
  • course materials, including syllabi, that explicitly attend to equity and inclusion (e.g., diverse authors, accessible materials, discussion ground rules, support services, accessibility statements)
  • data on student outcomes, if available (e.g., equitable course performance across different groups of students, progression of diverse groups of students to the next course in the sequence, if applicable)

How to Develop a Winning Dossier


Click on each title for qualifications, eligibility, and monetary award details.

Open Award - All-University Teaching


Excellence in teaching emphasized; research and service accomplishments also considered.


Full-time faculty appointment at any rank, tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track. Previous winners of an award administered by the Teaching Awards Committee within the last five years are ineligible for an Open Award.

Award Information

$3,000 award for each recipient.
Awards are given for excellent undergraduate, graduate, or professional teaching.

Open Award - Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award


Outstanding teacher. Demonstrated commitment to student success. Contributed significantly to University life.


Member of the UVA faculty for at least ten years. Previous winners of an award administered by the Teaching Awards Committee within the last five years are ineligible for an Open Award. Tenure status is not a consideration for this award.

Award Information

$10,000 and lifetime membership in the Alumni Association.

Winners of this prestigious award are asked to share their teaching expertise with students and/or colleagues in one or more of these ways during the three years following their selection for this Award:

  • Work with the Center for Teaching Excellence to enhance teaching generally at the University by, for example, participating and/or presenting in teaching workshops; mentoring faculty colleagues on teaching issues; leading a faculty or TA reading group about teaching; organizing a departmental series of teaching workshops and/or panels
  • Advise one or more undergraduate students on a research project, such as those funded by the Harrison Research, Creative Arts, Double Hoo Awards; and by the Jefferson Public Citizens Program
  • Offer a special undergraduate course, such as an Academic Community Engagement (ACE) course, a University Seminar (USEM), a College Advising (COLA) Seminar, or a J-Term course.
Open Award - Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award


Outstanding teacher. Demonstrated commitment to student success.


Full-time assistant professors, untenured faculty on tenure-track. Assistant professors are ineligible during the year they are under review for tenure. Previous winners of an award administered by the Teaching Awards Committee within the last five years are ineligible for an Open Award.

Award Information

$7,000 award; one semester of research leave at full pay; $5,000 research award. Because this important award is available only to tenure-track assistant professors and because it includes an additional semester of research leave, chairs should nominate their assistant-professor colleagues with stellar teaching records before they are considered for tenure, even if the department nominates an associate or full professor the same year.

Excellence in Education Abroad Award


Excellent leadership in developing study abroad programs; excellent fostering of study abroad; and/or excellent teaching of study abroad courses. Additionally, faculty who develop or teach courses with a strong international component that fosters a student’s global engagement and promotes global imagination within the university community will also be considered.


Open to all UVA full-time faculty, tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track, whose work took place in a semester, summer-term, or January-term program.

Award Information

$3,000 award for the recipient.