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Teaching Excellence at OHIO

Teaching Excellence at OHIO

Ohio University is committed to excellence in teaching through evidence-based, inclusive pedagogies that foster the intellectual and personal development of students. The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) supports the operationalization of teaching excellence through programs and services.

How Is Teaching Excellence Defined at OHIO?

Ohio University defines teaching excellence as outstanding performance in the role of an educator inside and outside the classroom setting. Additionally, Ohio University defines excellent teachers as prepared, engaged, inclusive subject matter and pedagogical experts who prioritize student achievement of learning.

Approved by the Ohio University Faculty Senate in December 2022, this definition allows academic units to flexibly consider teaching excellence based on disciplinary expectations, expertise, context and student populations served and acknowledges variations among disciplines and considering teaching context, expectations and/or assignments.

The CTLA focuses on six descriptors that serve as the underlying framework for recognizing and celebrating teaching excellence. Excellent teaching at Ohio University is:

  • well-designed
  • well-delivered
  • inclusive
  • learner-focused
  • reflective
  • evolving

Teaching Excellence Criteria

The six descriptors of excellent teaching at OHIO are put into action using eight criteria. Instructors develop, maintain and refine each over time and throughout the course of a career.

  • Preparation

    The ability to plan for teaching

  • Engagement

    The ability to deliver content and manage the student learning process.

  • Inclusion

    The ability to serve the learning needs of all students

  • Subject Expertise

    The ability to maintain and/or develop expert subject knowledge

  • Pedagogical Competence

    The ability to maintain and/or develop timely knowledge and skills in the theories and practice of teaching and learning

  • Outcome

    The ability to achieve desired teaching results

  • Improvement

    The ability to revise teaching practices

  • Adaptability & Innovation

    The ability to navigate the evolving nature of teaching.

Demonstrating Teaching Excellence

While there are many ways to demonstrate teaching excellence, the CTLA has outlined eight criteria or characteristics for how teaching excellence shows up in OHIO's classrooms and learning contexts.

The weight given to each criterion may vary by discipline, context, expectations, stage of faculty/curriculum development and/or teaching assignments. Academic units are encouraged to refine each criterion based on disciplinary expectations, expertise, context and student populations served.


An educator’s efforts to plan for teaching such as effectively:

  • Learning teaching tools, techniques or methods
  • Learning theory-driven teaching practices
  • Creating learning outcomes
  • Creating syllabi meeting department, school, college and/or University standards for compliance, content and rigor
  • Designing course(s) including schedule, organization and content
  • Developing content, structures, activities, etc.
  • Preparing to adjust teaching/learning as needed


An educator’s teaching process such as effectively:

  • Delivering courses and content
  • Integrating high-impact experiences such as active learning, experiential learning, serving learning, etc.
  • Communicating with learners
  • Adapting flexibility to learner needs
  • Enabling peer-to-peer teaching and learning
  • Developing/enabling community engagement
  • Advising/mentoring students inside and outside the classroom


An educator’s ability to serve the needs of all students such as effectively:

  • Creating a welcoming, productive class environment
  • Offering multiple ways to learn
  • Providing support for all learners
  • Integrating diverse examples
  • Limiting biased language
  • Promoting respectful and empathetic interactions among students and between the student and educator

Subject Expertise

An educator’s subject knowledge such as successfully:

  • Publishing subject-related peer-reviewed research, case studies, chapters/texts, essays, blogs, etc.
  • Training or professional development in subject-related field
  • Having current knowledge about the latest research in the subject-related field
  • Achieving or maintaining professional certifications
  • Subject-related awards, honors, grants or recognition

Pedagogical Expertise

An educator’s pedagogical knowledge such as successfully:

  • Publishing teaching-related peer-reviewed research, case studies, chapters/texts, essays, blogs, etc.
  • Presenting teaching-related research, insights
  • Mentoring peers
  • Participating and sharing knowledge as a peer reviewer of teaching
  • Earning teaching awards from department, college, university or external organizations
  • Creating a teaching philosophy or portfolio
  • Being recognized in a published article, podcast, blog, etc. for teaching
  • Teaching-related awards, honors, grants or recognition


An educator’s ability to achieve desired results such as effectively:

  • Assessing student achievement of learning outcomes
  • Achieving desired course learning outcomes
  • Achieving desired course outcomes (e.g., retention rates, DFW rates, preparation for subsequent courses, instructor evaluation ratings, etc.)
  • Achieving a desired level of student engagement metrics (e.g., participation, use of materials, etc.)
  • Contributing to desired program outcomes (e.g., learning outcomes, licensure rates, placement, reported curiosity, continued learning, etc.)
  • Reducing opportunity or achievement equity gaps


An educator’s efforts to develop or innovate teaching such as successfully:

  • Using outcome data, peer evaluations, student evaluations, etc. to revise curriculum, courses, modules, and/or lessons
  • Innovating teaching practices through experimentation
  • Reflecting on teaching, learning, and/or assessment
  • Demonstrating improvements in the quality of instruction
  • Collaborating with peers
  • Participating in teaching-related conferences, workshops, training, etc.

Recognizing Teaching Excellence at OHIO

OHIO annually recognizes instructors who reflect teaching excellence through several formal awards administered by CTLA and the Office of the Vice President and Provost.

Awards and Recognition