John C. Butler Excellence in Teaching Award - Application Process - University of Houston
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John C. Butler Excellence in Teaching Award - Application Process


The John C. Butler Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes faculty in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in teaching and a track record of dedication to the teaching mission of NSM. Typically, two awards are made yearly: one to a tenured/tenure-track faculty member and one to an instructional or clinical faculty member or lecturer. Selection of an awardee in either of the categories is contingent upon receipt of no less than three competitive applications in said category. In addition to formal classroom or lab teaching, tenured/tenure-track faculty members may also be evaluated on the basis of their graduate student training. Each award comes with a $5,000 check and a plaque. The awards are presented at NSM's Faculty Recognition Luncheon. 

Previous Recipients

Call for Applications

The process starts with the call for applications which is emailed to all NSM faculty members.

To be eligible, faculty must have completed at least four long semesters of teaching at UH prior to application for this competition.

Potential applicants for this award are required to email Scott Gilbertson, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, NSM,, no later than 5 p.m. Central on Friday, March 15, 2024, of their intention to apply. Those interested in applying will be provided with further instructions and deadlines. Completed applications are due in mid April.

NOTE: Previous winners cannot be considered again until five years after receipt of the award.

Submission Requirements for Applicants

Once applications have been received, the applicants are contacted with instructions on how to submit their materials for evaluation, and given a deadline. The requested material includes the following:

  1. CV: Maximum 3 pages, with emphasis on teaching (must include a list/table of all courses taught in the past two-to-five years)
  2. Teaching Statement: Maximum 2 pages single spaced, including a teaching philosophy and a description of teaching accomplishments
  3. Course evaluations for ALL courses taught during the previous academic year (Fall xx to Fall xx), including all types of semesters/sessions for which evaluations are available. Note that applicants are encouraged to provide contextual information for the courses taught in order for the reviewers to understand any special challenges presented by those courses, student composition, timing and mechanism of offering of the course, etc. Materials for this section must include:
    • A table summarizing the numerical evaluations including the department ranking or statistics
    • The grade distribution for the courses (percent of students receiving each type of assigned grade)
    • All of the actual course evaluation reports including all comments provided by students completing the course evaluation.
  4. Five Signed Letters of Recommendation: These 5 letters must include 3 from former or present students, 1 from a faculty member, Chair or administrator with teaching oversight, and another letter from either a student or a faculty member. The letters must be signed and a scan emailed directly to the College by the referee, not the applicant. However, the applicant is responsible for contacting the referees and giving them the deadline and email address for submission. Instructions will be provided to all applicants.

Except for the letters of reference, all other materials are uploaded by the applicant to the NSM Sharepoint site. Permissions for use of the site and uploading instructions will be given at the time of submission. The deadline for material submission is typically in mid April.

Review of Material

The material is reviewed by an ad-hoc committee including one faculty member from each NSM department. One or more of the committee members may want to attend a class taught by each applicant, with notification. The committee makes the recommendations for awards to the Dean, who then makes the final decision and notifies the awardees.