Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nominations for 2012 Teaching Innovation Prizes due Feb. 1

The 2012 Provost's Teaching Innovation Prizes of $5,000 will be presented to up to five faculty members this spring, with the current call for proposals due Feb. 1.


Click here for more information on the Teaching Innovation Prize nomination and selection processes.

This prize differs from other teaching prizes in that it honors original, specific innovations to improve student learning, not instructors' overall teaching excellence. Faculty members who develop the most original approaches to teaching are considered for the prizes, which honor and encourage creativity in the classroom. The awards also advocate the dissemination of these innovations by more broadly sharing them with faculty colleagues.

Students, faculty, graduate student instructors, department chairs, directors, deans and staff members are invited to submit nominations. Faculty self-nominations also are welcome.

"Our faculty are innovative educators who find remarkable ways to enhance student learning through new technologies, entrepreneurial experiences, global engagement and service to others," Provost Phil Hanlon says. "It will be exciting to learn about the projects that are nominated this year."

Ann Arbor faculty who are tenured, tenure-track, clinical instructional or lecturers who have continuing appointments are eligible. This is the fourth year the prizes are being awarded.

Award criteria include originality, significant impact on teaching effectiveness, student learning and/or retention, potential for widespread use within or across disciplines, and the potential for scalability.

"Each year, we have been delighted by the number of students and others who have taken time to nominate excellent, innovative projects," says Constance Cook, associate vice provost and executive director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT).

While the awards recognize innovative pedagogy, students are the ultimate winners as they benefit long term from the fresh approaches to learning that the annual prizes encourage.

Students who took the 2011 prize-winning course Ethics and Information Technology, taught by Paul Conway, associate professor of information, School of Information, gained direct experience of the ethical challenges of anonymous collaborative writing and what personal identity means in virtual environments.

As one of his students said, "I learned the majority of the course's contents through this active communal interaction, and I feel that I did so in a way that far surpassed more traditional methods of learning (e.g., reading essays and memorizing the facts and ideas expressed therein)."

Another 2011 winning project, ZOOM: Teaching Time, Space, and Approaches to Knowledge, taught by Douglas Northrop, associate professor of Near Eastern studies and associate professor of history, LSA, engages students in learning the history of the universe and humanity more broadly and deeply.

Students in this class collaborated on assignments that encouraged them to connect knowledge in an interdisciplinary manner. One said, "Never before was it clear to me that we can use the techniques and knowledge gained from multiple disciplines to tell the story of human history within the context of the universe."

A faculty committee will judge the nominations and recommend the winners to the provost. The awards will be announced May 7 at the annual, campuswide technology conference, Enriching Scholarship.