Texas Tech University

Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award

The Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award online application is currently closed. Please check back Spring 2022.

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.


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.


2020-2021 Committee Members

Michael Orth (Chair)
Erin Collopy
William Wenthe
Kirsten Cook
Fanni Coward
Stephen Ekwaro-Osire
Aliza Wong
Mitzi Ziegner
Gerry Beyer
Robert Peaslee
Blair Williams

Past Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients 


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

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