Texas Tech University

Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award

The application is now closed. Please check back Fall 2024 for the online application form.

The Teaching Academy Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award is presented in recognition of a department or comparable academic unit that has made unique and significant contributions to the teaching mission of the University and has esprit de corps in its dedication to the education of students at the undergraduate, graduate, and/or professional level. The Award, given as merited, carries a $25,000 prize, to be used for the enhancement of teaching in any way the department determines. The general criterion for the Award is the existence of a "teaching culture," which reflects commitment to students, makes teaching a high departmental priority, and facilitates teaching excellence throughout the department.

Questions regarding eligibility concerns should be directed to the Chair of the Teaching Academy for discussion by the Executive Council two months before the application due date. Units not officially designated as "department" or "school" in their title, must clearly articulate why and how they are considered "equivalent." 


The following criteria are intended as guidelines to assist departments in preparing applications. Although the list is "generic," it is recognized that not all criteria are appropriate to every department or academic unit and criteria relevant for some departments may have been omitted. Any evidence of teaching excellence that is related to the teaching mission of the department may be included in the application:

  1. What effort does the department make to improve teaching (e.g., colloquia, mentoring, graduate teaching assistant supervision and development, grant support, incentives, conferences, student development, etc.)?
  2. What contribution does the department make to scholarship on teaching (e.g., conducting research, authoring textbooks)? What is the impact of these contributions? How does the department keep current on teaching research and apply those findings? What is the impact of these applications?
  3. How does the department make use of a variety of teaching pedagogies? How does the department contribute to interdisciplinary courses or other collaborative teaching efforts that cut across departmental lines? What is the impact of these contributions? How are part-time faculty, adjunct faculty, teaching assistants, and non-tenure track instructors integrated into the "teaching culture" of the department?
  4. What is the quality of the various program(s) (undergraduate and graduate) or majors managed by the department? This may be assessed through accreditation reviews, performance on standardized tests, placement of graduates (employment or graduate/professional school), alumni surveys, student evaluations, external reviews, etc. Are these the courses in these programs taught by experienced faculty?
  5. Describe in some detail the planned use for the award money, specifically with regard to its application in improving learning outcomes or with regard to questions 1-4 above.

Application Materials

A department to be considered for the Teaching Academy Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award will submit the following materials:

  1. Cover sheet (automatically generated by online application). Cover sheet is not included in page limit.
  2. Supporting Documents (to be uploaded):

Supporting Documents to be uploaded in the application process:

1. Narrative (not to exceed 10 typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point pages). The narrative will include:

  • Description of department's role and mission
  • Evidence of teaching excellence as related to award criteria during the past five years
  • Criterion 5 must be addressed in the narrative

2. Appendix A : List of tenured and tenure-track faculty and other full-time and part-time faculty who contribute substantially to the teaching efforts of the department (teaching assistants may be included). List by name and rank. The following information for the current academic year (not to exceed 5 pages):

  • Number of FTE faculty
  • Number of graduate teaching assistants
  • Number of undergraduate majors
  • Total undergraduate enrollment
  • Number of graduate or professional majors
  • Total graduate or professional enrollment

3. Appendix B: Other supporting materials (not to exceed 10 pages)

The total application and supporting materials shall not exceed 25 pages.

Past Application Examples



DETA Information Session

The Teaching Academy offers a virtual informational session for potential applicants each year. Please check back Fall 2024 for details about the next opportunity.



2023-2024 Committee Members

Jeffrey Harper (Chair)
Courtney Meyers
Ron Milam
Lauren Griffith
Ryan Huston
Grant Jackson
Chijuan Hu
Scott Burris
Kristi Gaines
Alyson Outenreath
Narissra Punyanunt Carter
Carla Cash
Sylvia Niehuis


For questions about this award, please contact the committee chair, Jeffrey Harper. For questions about the online application, please contact Kerri Pike.

Past Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients


Teaching Academy

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