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Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level

The Committee on the Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level invites nominations for the 2019 SCS Award for Excellence in Teaching. In order to give special and public expression to the Society’s commitment to honor and foster excellence in the teaching of Classics we welcome nominations of faculty teaching Classics in all sorts of departments, whether public or private, in large institutions or small. Please note carefully the deadlines and procedures described below.

One to three awards for excellence in the teaching of Classics will be given to college and university teachers from the United States and Canada. Thanks to a very generous gift to the Society’s Gatekeeper to Gateway Campaign for the Future of Classics from Daniel and Joanna Rose each winner will receive a certificate of award and a cash prize of $500. In addition, each winner’s institution will receive $200 to purchase educational resources selected by the winner. The awards will be presented at the Plenary Session of the Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in January 2020.

Click here for the list of previous winners.

New nomination process for 2019: In order to simplify the nomination process, increase the number of nominations, and encourage the submission of comparable information for each candidate, a new nomination process is being piloted for 2019 (see below). Feedback on changes is welcome and may be sent to the Executive Director. Dossiers submitted in 2017 and 2018 may, but need not, be updated with the new format or just the addition of student questionnaires.

Eligibility: Any member of the SCS with a minimum of five years of experience teaching subject matter that is "classical" in the widest sense (i.e., Greek and Latin language, literature, culture, art, archaeology, history, reception, etc.) prior to nomination is eligible for this award. By action of the SCS Board of Directors, only individuals may be considered for these awards. No previous winner of this award is eligible to apply for it a second time. Nominees will be eligible for consideration for two consecutive years.

Nomination: The nomination packet should be sent to helen.cullyer@nyu.edu, and should consist of the following components:

1) A letter of nomination. Nominators, who do not need to be SCS members, may be administrators, chairpersons, departmental colleagues or faculty in other departments or institutions. Nomination letters should indicate how the candidate demonstrates excellence according to at least six indicators from three or more of the categories listed below. While a letter of self-nomination may be necessary in exceptional cases, a letter of nomination is preferred. It is desirable, but not required, for the nominator to have observed the candidate’s teaching.

2) The candidate's current curriculum vitae.

3) A statement of teaching philosophy in which the candidate explains his or her achievements in terms of vision, strategies, and methods.

(4) Two syllabi and two or three associated assignments that show the candidate’s strengths and breadth as a teacher. Candidates are welcome to annotate syllabi and assignments with further explanation or information that might be provided orally in class.

(5) Two to four questionnaires completed by either current students or alumni within six years of graduation. In cases where letters have already been collected (as for a previous award), these may be submitted in lieu of one or more questionnaires. Please understand that these may put the candidate at a disadvantage if they do not include at least some of the information requested in the questionnaire.

(6) Complete sets of student evaluations for three courses, preferably those for which syllabi are also submitted. Student comments, where available, are extremely helpful to the selection committee. It is also helpful for nominators to contextualize evaluations in terms of departmental or institutional norms. In exceptional cases, where student evaluations are unavailable, additional student questionnaires may be submitted instead.

Award winners are selected by the Teaching Excellence Awards Committee. September 27, 2019 is the deadline for the receipt of complete nomination packets. Questions about the competition may be directed to the Executive Director. Every effort will be made to inform winners in a timely manner to allow for travel arrangements.

The SCS will retain for consideration for two additional years the full dossiers of candidates who do not receive an award in the year of nomination. In the two succeeding years, the nominators of these applicants need only submit basic updates for consideration by subsequent Committees (with the exception for 2017 and 2018, noted above). 

Indicators of Excellence in Teaching

(a) Design/Planning

This instructor’s courses have:

1. Clear goals that are shared with students from the beginning of the course and that go beyond specific knowledge and skills to include higher order abilities, such as understanding how knowledge is created in the field, learning to make judgments, weigh evidence or challenge one’s own thinking and developing the ability to evaluate competing theories or models. Evidence might include information from course syllabi and assignments, student evaluations, and student questionnaires.

2. Carefully chosen or created materials that are structured to align with course goals. Evidence might include information from course syllabi and assignments, student evaluations, and student questionnaires.

3. Varied assessments that both measure student progress in attaining course goals and foster further development toward those goals. Evidence might include information from course syllabi and assignments, student evaluations, and student questionnaires.

(b) Implementation/Delivery

1.  The instructor engages students and generates interest and even excitement about the material, presenting it in a clear and organized way. Evidence might include student evaluations, observations where available, and student questionnaires.

2. The instructor differentiates classroom instruction, activities, and assessments in order to accommodate the widest possible variety of learning needs. Evidence might include information from course syllabi and assignments, student evaluations, the instructor’s teaching philosophy, and observations where available.

3. The instructor’s pedagogy is innovative in choice of teaching methods, materials, types of classroom activities, course assignments, and/or use of technology. The instructor is active in seeking opportunities to enrich students’ education. Evidence might include information from course syllabi and assignments, student evaluations, the instructor’s teaching philosophy, or CV items such as field trips, service learning projects, instruction-related grants, or creative use of instructional technologies, social media or other available resources.

4. The instructor sets a standard within the classroom that makes it a safe space, where differences are honored and every voice is heard. The instructor demonstrates confidence in students’ ability to learn and offers effective support for students to take on personal challenges. Evidence might include student evaluations, student questionnaires, and the instructor’s teaching philosophy.

(c) Reflection/Revision

1. The instructor regularly reflects on the effectiveness of assignments/assessments/classroom activities/lectures and routinely revises to strengthen teaching practice, both during the course and between semesters. Evidence might include the instructor’s teaching philosophy, annotated assignments, revised syllabi, student evaluations, and student questionnaires.

2. The instructor routinely solicits and responds to student feedback by restructuring course elements when need is indicated. Evidence might include the instructor’s teaching philosophy, annotated assignments, revised syllabi, student evaluations, and student questionnaires.

3. The instructor engages in ongoing professional development for greater knowledge of both subject area(s) and pedagogy. The instructor incorporates new research into course content or contributes to research related to teaching. Evidence might include the CV, the instructor’s teaching philosophy, publications, collaborations, and participation in relevant mentoring programs, workshops, seminars, conferences, excavations, conventicula or other special programs, including receiving grants or other funding for these activities or for the educational enrichment of students.

(d) Outcomes

1. Students show significant improvement in developing the skills, attitudes, and content knowledge described in the syllabus under “Course Goals.” Where possible, for language courses, it is desirable to show student progress according to national standards, such as meeting or exceeding goals in the Classical Language Learning Standards. For culture courses assessments should demonstrate measurable student progress in the development of critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. Evidence might include initial diagnostic/final exam results, performance on competitive exams, and portfolio evaluations.

2. The instructor creates interest in Classical languages and culture that extends beyond the class. Evidence might include increased course enrollments, students opting for additional courses with the instructor, an increase in students declaring majors or minors, student evaluations, and student questionnaires.

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