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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 faculty member. 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 award recipients are also recognized as part of the platform party during NSM Commencement in May.

Previous Recipients

Call for Applications

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

Potential applicants for this award are required to email Jim Briggs,, no later than 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, of their intention to apply. Those interested in applying will be provided with further instructions and deadlines. Completed applications are due in early February.

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)
  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 prior two years (including summers, winters, etc.) for which evaluations are available, and for Fall 2019 and Winter sessions if such evaluations have been released. 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 should 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)
    • The comments from students (ALL comments)
  4. Five Signed Letters: 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 February.

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, typically no later than the last week of March.