Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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Presidential Teacher Award seeking nominations

On Wednesday, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis announced that nominations for the Presidential Teacher Award are now being accepted from faculty, students and alumni.

The window for nominations will close Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. The selection process will take place over fall and winter quarter with winners named in spring quarter.

At the Faculty and Staff Convocation earlier this month, McDavis announced he was reinstating the Presidential Teacher Award, one of the highest honors bestowed on tenured faculty at OHIO.

In an e-mail message sent out to faculty, students and alumni, McDavis explained the award’s significance.

“This award historically provided a unique opportunity to celebrate inspired teaching by those who demonstrate mastery at connecting student learning with the development of knowledge and creativity,” he wrote. And McDavis continued, “Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit strongly recommended the renewal of this prestigious, competitive award to lift up inspired teaching, which is at the heart of every transformative learning community.”

Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Martin Tuck serves as a nonvoting member of the Presidential Teacher Award selection committee and was instrumental in assembling this year’s committee and determining the new incarnation of the award’s direction.

“The Presidential Teacher Award was created by an endowment by Mrs. Paul Stocker of $250,000 in 2001,” said Tuck. “It is only awarded to tenured faculty, and it really represents the faculty member who is the total package.”

In his e-mail, McDavis echoed Tuck’s comments.
“The Presidential Teacher Award recognizes full-time tenured faculty who consistently inspire students and colleagues through academic excellence inside and outside the classroom, their teaching practices and innovations, influences on curriculum, student mentoring, colleague mentoring, and scholarship with respect to teaching,” he said.

Faculty members are nominated by faculty, students or alumni, and, after Tuck’s office determines their eligibility, are invited to submit a teaching portfolio.

“The portfolio is a big project, typically averaging about 20 pages,” said Tuck. “Faculty work on the portfolio over winter break, and, at the deadline in January, the committee typically receives between 20 and 25 portfolios.”

From those applicants, finalists are chosen. Selection committee members sit in on finalists’ classes and the entire committee interviews the candidates and their chair or director.

“You can see where it is a very involved process,” said Tuck. “Because of the work involved, I feel that it is a great honor to be named a finalist, even if you aren’t given the Presidential Teacher Award.”

Each award recipient holds the title of Presidential Teacher for three years and receives $1,000 annually ($3,000 total) for that same period. 

“I encourage you to nominate exemplary full-time tenured faculty from any Ohio University campus,” McDavis said in his e-mail. “The brief nomination form, application portfolio requirements, gallery of past winners, and information about the Selection Committee are available at: www.ohio.edu/apaa/ptaindexpage.cfm.”

The distribution of the award highlights Ohio University’s commitment to excellence in instruction and education, but it also highlights the departments and the sense of community among OHIO’s faculty.

“This shows that the department values teaching,” said Tuck. “The people who win this award were most likely mentored, themselves. You’re not just born a good teacher; you have to work at it and have the encouragement of your colleagues.”