Provost's Award for Meritorious Departmental Achievement in Undergraduate Instruction


The University of Arizona Executive Vice President and Provost


To recognize and reward departments/programs which have made unique and significant contributions to the teaching efforts of the university and to the education of students.


The award is $25,000 per year for 3 consecutive years. Funds should be used for the betterment of the departmental program (e.g., to support travel to conferences of a pedagogical nature, to purchase instructional equipment, or to improve the physical surroundings of a classroom or student resource center).


The main body of the nominating document must be limited to ten pages maximum. In addition, supporting materials must be kept to a minimum. A letter of recommendation from the Dean of the College for the submitting department is required. Although there is no formal prescribed format for the body of the nomination document, each nominated unit should include its history, role/mission, future, plans, strengths, and evidence supporting the appropriate questions on the checklists.

The general criterion should be the "instructional culture" for education fostered by the nominated department. "Instructional culture" means a positive environment toward teaching throughout the department/program. This can be reflected in many ways, including the regular program review process, outcome assessment data, and the program’s reputation outside the institution. Instructional quality should be emphasized. Data such as student credit hours per full-time equivalent are not encouraged, except insofar as these show that high quality is maintained in such a milieu.

Some key criteria to be considered in applications are provided below. There is no intention that every criterion will be appropriate to every unit. The questions are intended to assist departments in preparing applications and defining their instructional cultures.

  1. What is the quality of the major or program? This may be described through accreditation programs, performance on national tests, graduate or professional school placement, employment, alumni surveys, student ratings, external reviews, etc.
  2. What is the quality of the department’s program for non-majors? Are experienced faculty involved? Are faculty rewarded for this work? Is there an adequate number of courses? Is the curriculum well planned? What reputation does the department have with other departments? What are the results of student ratings, external reviews, etc.?
  3. Do the research, scholarship and/or creative endeavors of the faculty inform instruction in creative and effective ways?
  4. What is the quality of teaching in “outreach” programs or other off-campus activities that may be part of the unit’s instructional mission?
  5. What efforts are made to develop good teaching (colloquia, teaching circles, mentoring, graduate teaching assistant training, etc.)?
  6. What contributions are made to scholarship on instruction (research, textbooks, etc.)? What is the impact of these contributions?
  7. If part-time faculty, graduate teaching assistants, non-tenure-track instructors, etc. play a role in the department’s teaching, how are they integrated within the instructional culture?
  8. What support is provided for students (advising, mentoring, honors programs, student associations, internships, etc.)?
  9. Is effective use made of new technologies or methods in the classroom?
  10. How does the department/program use incentives (promotion and tenure, salary increases, teaching awards, etc.) to encourage teaching excellence?


Awards will be given to departments/programs which provide a high quality broad-based instructional program. The winner of this award will not be eligible to compete again. However, a unit who does not win may roll over its application for the following three years. If the unit elects to resubmit its application, then updated materials including a new cover letter and information on recent accomplishments is required for each resubmission.


The original plus five copies of the nomination materials should each be stapled, held together with a sturdy clip or placed into a two-pronged cardboard binder with tabs or paper separations for each section. Do not use loose leaf notebooks or three-ring binders. Additional materials, such as books, reprints, CDs, DVDs or videotapes cannot be accepted.

Make sure that all of the required material is accurately submitted. Packets that are incomplete may be delayed.

Please submit the nomination cover sheet (PDF) that identifies one person on the nomination team/committee to whom correspondence and/or questions may be directed.


Nominations (original plus 5 copies) should be sent to respective deans. Deans will submit ranked proposals from their colleges for review by a university-wide committee with representatives from the faculty and student body.

Notification of the award winners will be sent to the individual, the Dean of the College and the nomination contact person in early March. Notification of nominations that were not selected will be sent to the Dean of the College and the contact person or an appropriate senior member of the nominating team.


Winners will be recognized at the annual Awards of Distinction Ceremony held in April 2009 at the Student Union Memorial Center to honor recipients of the University of Arizona highest faculty teaching honors.


Departmental submissions sent to the Dean by Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Ranked nominations will be accepted until 4:00 PM on Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Send completed packets to:
Anne Marx, Special Assistant to the Provost
Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
PO Box 210066, 512 Administration Building


Please contact: Anne Marx, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, 626-8121.