Teaching Awards: Departmental Nominations

Begin Your Nomination

The School of Arts and Sciences invites departments to help identify and recognize outstanding faculty members.

  • Submit nominations from December 13, 2017 to January 8, 2018 and dossiers by February 7, 2018.
  • Direct all questions to teaching@sas.upenn.edu.
  • Award winners will be notified in late March. The awards ceremony will take place in late April.
  • Please note: Faculty and graduate students may not receive the same award more than once.

The Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching for Faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences seeks to recognize teaching that is intellectually rigorous and exceptionally coherent and that leads to an informed understanding of a discipline. Recipients of the Ira Abrams Memorial Award are expected to embody high standards of integrity and fairness, to have a strong commitment to learning, and to be open to new ideas. As the School of Arts and Sciences' highest teaching honor, the Abrams Award recognizes faculty who have sustained records of teaching excellence. Only tenured professors are eligible for this award.

Up to two awards are made each year. Tenured members of the standing faculty are eligible.

The Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching

Up to two $10,000 awards will be given to SAS tenured standing faculty members.

  • Curriculum vitae of the nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the department chair
  • At least two letters of support from faculty members
  • At least four letters from undergraduate students and at least two letters from graduate students (no more than ten letters total) who have taken courses with, or have studied under the direction of, the nominee
  • Letters from the teaching assistants who have been associated with the courses taught by the nominee during the last four years

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.

This award is given to assistant professors who show unusual promise as teachers/scholars. Nominees may not be in their tenure-review year.

Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor

One $5,000 award will be given to an SAS assistant professor who is not in the tenure-review year.

  • Curriculum vitae of nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the department chair
  • Two letters of support from faculty
  • Three to ten letters from undergraduate / graduate students

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.

This award is presented annually to SAS standing faculty members who have made use of innovative teaching techniques in the service of outstanding teaching. Exceptional innovation here means using teaching strategies other than those typical in the department in order to enhance student learning. Award winners may have adapted teaching practices used elsewhere or may have pioneered entirely new approaches to teaching.

Dennis M. DeTurck Award for Innovation in Teaching

One $5,000 award will be given to an SAS standing faculty member.

  • Curriculum vitae of nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the department chair
  • Two letters of support from faculty
  • Three to ten letters from undergraduate / graduate students

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.

This award is presented to SAS standing faculty members for meaningful engagement of undergraduate students in research due to exceptional nurturing and facilitating by faculty.

Dean's Award for Mentorship of Undergraduate Research

Up to two $5,000 award will be given to an SAS adjunct professor or lecturer.

  • Curriculum vitae of nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the undergraduate chair or program director
  • Two letters of support from faculty
  • Three to ten letters from undergraduate / graduate students

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.

This award is presented annually in recognition of the contribution to undergraduate education made by the School's adjunct professors and lecturers. The award honors teaching that is intellectually rigorous, exceptionally coherent, and stimulates active and interactive student engagement in the learning process. Candidates nominated must have taught in at least one undergraduate course in the School of Arts and Sciences during the current academic year and at least three courses overall.

Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by Affiliated Faculty

Up to two $5,000 award will be given to an SAS adjunct professor or lecturer.

  • Curriculum vitae of nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the undergraduate chair or program director
  • Two letters of support from faculty
  • Three to ten letters from undergraduate / graduate students

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.

Presented annually to graduate students in the arts and sciences in recognition of their contributions to undergraduate teaching. In general, the Dean's Award seeks to recognize teaching that is intellectually rigorous, exceptionally coherent, and that has considerable impact upon students. Recipients of the Dean's Award are expected to embody unusually high standards of integrity, fairness and commitment to learning.

Up to ten awards will be given. Awards may be for either teaching assistants or graduate students teaching their own courses. Candidates nominated must have taught in at least three undergraduate courses in the School of Arts Sciences, and the department must support the nomination. Each department or graduate group may nominate up to four students for this award. When more than one nomination is submitted by a department, though, the candidates must be rank-ordered. Graduate students should be proposed without their knowledge, if at all possible.

Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students

Up to ten $600 awards will be given to graduate students for independent teaching as well as for graduate students acting as teaching assistants in Arts and Sciences whose teaching has had considerable impact upon students.

  • Curriculum vitae of the nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the chair or program director. When more than one nomination is being submitted by a department, the candidates must be rank-ordered.
  • Two letters of support from faculty
  • Three to ten letters from undergraduate students who have taken courses with the nominee
  • A listing of all courses taught by the nominee. Please note for which courses the student is a teaching assistant and for which the sole instructor, how many students were enrolled, and how many evaluations were collected

This award is presented for exceptional teaching in the graduate programs in Liberal and Professional Studies (MES, MSAG, MLA, MAPP, MMP, MCS, MSOD, MPA and Executive MPA plus graduate certificate programs). Nominees must demonstrate the ability to engage professional graduate students actively in the learning process through teaching that is intellectually rigorous and innovative, and supports professional and academic learning outcomes for these programs. Nominees must have taught at least three times in Liberal and Professional Studies at the graduate level.

Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Professional Graduate Programs

One $2,500 award will be given to an affiliated or standing faculty member who has taught at least three courses in a graduate degree program in Liberal and Professional Studies (MES, MSAG, MLA, MSOD, MMP, MCS, MAPP, full-time MPA, Executive MPA).

  • Curriculum vitae of nominee
  • A letter of nomination from the LPS Program Director
  • A letter of support from a department chair
  • At least three letters from undergraduate or graduate students taught by the nominee

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.

This award is presented for exceptional teaching in undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs in Liberal and Professional Studies (BA, BFA, Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health, Post-Baccalaureate Classical Studies and General Post-Baccalaureate Studies). Nominees must demonstrate the ability to engage LPS undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students actively in the learning process through teaching that is intellectually rigorous and innovative, and supports learning outcomes for these programs. Nominees must have taught at least three times in Liberal and Professional Studies at the undergraduate or post-baccalaureate level.

Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Programs

One $2,500 award will be given to an affiliated or standing faculty member who has taught at least three courses in an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate program in Liberal and Professional Studies (BA, BFA, Post-Baccalaureate Classical Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Health and General Post-Baccalaureate Studies).

  • Curriculum vitae of nominee
    • A letter of nomination from the LPS Program Director
    • A letter of support from a department chair
    • At least three letters from undergraduate or graduate students taught by the nominee

Note: The College Office will provide the selection committee with a listing of courses taught during the past 10 years and a summary of teaching evaluations.