Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Nature of the program

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes consistently superior teaching at the graduate, undergraduate, or professional level in keeping with the State University’s commitment to providing its students with instruction of the highest quality

Selection criteria

The primary criterion is skill in teaching. Additionally, consideration is also given to sound scholarship (usually demonstrated through publications or artistic productions), outstanding service to students, as well as service to the University and to the campus. The following criteria are to be used in selecting nominees for this award:

Teaching techniques and representative materials

There must be positive evidence that the candidate performs superbly in the classroom. The nominee must maintain a flexible instructional policy that adapts readily to student needs, interests and problems. Mastery of teaching techniques must be demonstrated and substantiated. Consideration is to be given to the number of substantially different courses taught, the number of students per course, and the different teaching techniques employed in the various courses.

Student evaluations (in the form of student questionnaires administered and compiled by persons other than the nominee) should be presented for several different courses over a period of several recent years to provide a clear idea of the nominee's impact on students.

Scholarship and professional growth

Candidates must be teachers/scholars who keep abreast of their own field and who use the relevant contemporary data from that field and related disciplines in their teaching. Evidence in this area includes, but is not limited to, publications, grants, presentations at conferences, artistic productions, etc.

Student services

In relating to students, candidates must be generous with personal time, easily accessible, and must demonstrate a continual concern for the intellectual growth of individual students. The focus here is the accessibility of the nominee to students outside of class; e.g. office hours, conferences, special meetings and the nominee’s responsibility in terms of student advisement.

Academic standards and requirements, and evaluation of student performance

Candidates must set high standards for students and help them attain academic excellence. Quantity and quality of work that is more than average for the subject must be required of the students. Candidates must work actively with individual students to help them improve their scholarly or artistic performance. This individual interaction is an important source of information that indicates the nature and level of instruction offered by the nominee. Consideration is to be given to the quality, quantity and difficulty of the tasks or work assigned to students.

Candidates’ evaluations of students’ work must be strongly supported by evidence. Candidates must be willing to give greater weight to each student’s final level of competence than to the performance at the beginning of the course. Since expert teachers enable students to achieve high levels of scholarship, it is possible that the candidates’ marking records may be somewhat above average. There must also be evidence that candidates do not hesitate to give low evaluations to students who do poorly. For this category, consideration should be given to grading patterns, particularly grade distributions for all courses in at least two recent years. Evidence in support of student performance may also be assessed by the accomplishments of students, including placement and achievement levels.

Eligibility criteria 

Full-time tenure track and non-tenure track faculty are eligible. Candidates must have completed three academic years of full-time teaching (out of the five years immediately prior to the year of nomination) on the nominating campus. Individuals serving in part-time or visiting capacities – irrespective of the length of their service or amount of their involvement – are ineligible for these programs. However, note that full-time clinical faculty are eligible. For additional eligibility information from the State of New York on the Chancellor's Awards for Excellence, visit the web

Academic background

Candidates must be tenured, tenure-track or full-time non-tenure track faculty for the academic year in which the award is to be given, and regularly carry a full-time teaching load as defined by the campus for full-time teaching. (The definition of a full teaching load varies from campus to campus, but each campus should be satisfied that there can be no question that its nominee meets this criterion. Teachers of studio courses or other specialized courses in which credit hours are normally low are to be considered in terms of the full-time load normally expected for the discipline.)

The significance of having the campus define “full-time” teaching is particularly relevant in the case of department chairs. Campuses frequently provide course reductions for faculty serving in such capacities. If the reduction is applied uniformly, then this reduced load becomes “full-time” for that particular position. Individuals serving in this capacity may be nominated for the award contingent upon their carrying the campus-defined, full-time teaching load for persons performing such administrative responsibilities (e.g., if a campus defines 15 hours as a full-time teaching load for full-time faculty, and 12 hours as a full-time teaching load for department chairs, then an individual serving as department chair and teaching the 12 hours and meeting the other eligibility requirements would be eligible for nomination). One caveat: Except for department chairs, teaching requirements must constitute more than 50 percent of the position’s responsibility. Otherwise, the individual should be considered for the Excellence in Professional Service Award. Please remember that department chairs are always considered faculty first, and it is the intent that the Professional Service category be reserved for staff. 

Academic Rank

Candidates may hold any full-time academic rank as defined in the SUNY Board of Trustees policies: professor; associate professor; assistant professor; instructor; assistant instructor; clinical professor; or full-time, non-tenure track faculty including the title Lecturer are eligible for nomination. Note the State University of New York Policies of the Board of Trustees – January 2019 – Article II – §1 (Terms).

Length of Service

Candidates must have completed three academic years of full-time teaching at the nominating campus out of the five years on the nominating campus immediately prior to the year of nomination.

Nomination process

Use the nomination checklist to compile the nomination packet.

Completed nomination dossiers must be submitted electronically by the dean's office of the nominee's school/college to the Center for Learning and Teaching at no later than Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.

For more information

For information from the State of New York on the Chancellor's Awards for Excellence, visit the web.