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2021 Sears Helgoth Distinguished Teaching Award

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April 8, 2021

The Sears Helgoth Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes UNC's commitment to high-quality and innovative teaching along with the historical importance of the teaching mission at UNC by rewarding faculty members (tenured, tenure-track, contract renewable) who have made outstanding contributions to teaching and learning that result in the enhancement of the intellectual development and lives of students.

The award, supported by the generosity of Kathleen Sears and Jim Helgoth and administered by the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences (CEBS), is given annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated a record of excellence in instruction at UNC. The recipient will receive a plaque, recognition at Convocation and a monetary award (currently $6,000).

Applications for the Sears Helgoth Distinguished Teaching Award will be accepted via Digital Measures through 11:59 p.m. April 19. The total submission should not be more than 25 pages as well as ensuring that a 12-point font and one-inch margins are used throughout, including in supporting materials.

Applications will be reviewed and the awardee selected by a committee of assistant/associate deans, one from each academic college and previous award recipients. Acting CEBS Dean Robyn Hess chairs the committee.

The committee recognizes all instructional activity in an applicant's career. That is, we interpret teaching broadly (unscheduled teaching, community teaching, grant-related teaching). In spite of the complexities of judging between the various disciplines and delivery methods, the committee has the pleasure of selecting the most distinguished teacher among many.

To apply for this award, please email Hess (robyn.hess@unco.edu) of your interest so that you can be entered into the DM Workflow. Submit the following materials via Digital Measures (hard copies will not be accepted):

  1. Application letter (no more than three pages) that addresses the scoring rubric and includes attention to the following topics:
    1. Teaching philosophy
    2. Discussion of student learning outcomes
    3. Outline of assessment practices
    4. Evidence of innovative pedagogy, especially as related to the transition to an online environment due to COVID-19
    5. Provide a brief summary of strengths and areas for growth based on student evaluations
    6. Evidence of continuous growth/reflective practice in teaching (e.g., peer review/observation, response to student evaluations, teaching journal)
  1. Sample syllabi and course materials (consider using excerpts)
  2. Assessments, e.g., examinations, project requirements, scoring rubrics
  3. Peer/supervisor evaluations of teaching (if available)
  4. Letter of support from chair/director commenting on individual’s teaching and responsiveness to students
  5. (Abridged) Vita that highlights teaching accomplishments
  6. Any additional relevant documentation to support your application (e.g., unscheduled teaching, community work)

The committee will give consideration in the review process to documentation that reflects excellence in instruction, including the teaching philosophy statement, assessments and feedback to students, reflective practice and the use of innovative pedagogy. The scoring rubric used by the committee includes: teaching philosophy, assessment information, student outcomes, evidence of reflective practice, innovative pedagogy and overall impression.

The deadline for receipt of completed application materials is by 11:59 p.m. April 19. All materials must be submitted via Digital Measures. Please contact robyn.hess@unco.edu if you have questions as well as if you plan on applying so that a workflow for applicants can be launched.


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