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Exemplary teaching awards to be given

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 22 - March 2, 1995

The Faculty Rewards Project at Virginia Tech includes the establishment of major annual awards for departments and/or academic programs that maintain exemplary teaching and learning environments for students and faculty. Most of our university level awards recognize the outstanding achievement of remarkable individuals in teaching, research, or service. But as an institution we do not often publicly honor the collaborative efforts and successes of a group of dedicated colleagues -- actively performing work that is essential for sustaining a truly excellent academic environment for faculty and students alike. The Exemplary Departments and Programs Awards will be given in recognition that the academic excellence of individuals -- whether of faculty members or of students -- is achieved within distinctive working/learning environments to which many individuals contribute in essential ways.

Three awards between $10,000 and $20,000 each will be given annually. The award -- winning departments will be publicly honored by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Visitors. These programs will be identified by special recognition in university publications for a period of five years after receiving the award. Articles about the programs will be produced for the press and for internal publication.

Each year, the awards program will have a theme or focus. For 1994-95, the theme is: Fulfilling stated departmental or program missions through the effective and creative use of faculty time and talent.

While the focus of this theme is on faculty time and talent, the collaboration to create effective teaching and learning environments includes staff, students, and other supportive individuals. Nominations are encouraged to speak to this fuller complement of important individuals.

The nomination may be initiated by anyone knowledgeable about how a particular department or program has exemplified the theme. Applications from departments or programs are welcome, as are nominations by individuals or groups outside the particular program. Nomination letters, two to four pages long, should give evidence and support for the nomination in view of this year's theme. Specifically, the letter should provide:

* a brief description of the department or program being nominated;

* a description of the activities that fulfill the theme;

* discussion of accomplishments in the theme.

The scope of accomplishments listed may vary from personal impacts--for example, in the case of a nomination from a student or alumnus--to a systematic collection of data, in the case of nomination by colleagues within a department or program.

Upon receipt of letters, the nominated department or program will be notified and asked to provide the information below if they wish to pursue the nomination, and if the information has not already been included:

* A statement of the departmental or program missions, and a narration of their relationship to college and university goals;

* Evidence of accomplishments in this theme of departmental collaboration toward fulfilling stated missions.

The deadline for receipt of initial nomination letters is March 22, 1995. Letters should be sent to the Office of the Provost, attention Susan Brooker Gross, 201 Burruss Hall, CAMPUS 0132.

Additional information may be sought from the nominated departments. Finalists will be selected before the end of the semester. An award presentation will be held for the campus community in early fall.

Themes for coming years are:

1996: Developing and sustaining innovative and effective departmental approaches to introductory courses, graduate or undergraduate levels.

1997: Maintaining a high quality of advising both at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

1998: Working collaboratively across departmental boundaries to fulfill common or complementary goals.

1999: Effectively linking research with teaching, with particular concentration on innovative undergraduate programs.

The 1995 Exemplary Departments and Program Awards Selection Committee members are: William Newton, biochemistry and anaerobic microbiology; Max Stephenson, urban affairs and planning; Herman Doswald, foreign languages and literatures; Janet Keith, marketing; Nevin Frantz, vocational and technical education; Ira Jacobs, electrical engineering; Fred Kamke, wood science and forest products; Rosemary Blieszner, family and child development; Anne Zajac, pathobiology; Dana Sally, library.