Skip to Navigation

Excellence in Teaching Award

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching is an annual prize awarded by the Graduate School to recognize outstanding pedagogical achievement by a Brown University graduate student. The award and an honorarium are given out at the University Awards ceremony, which is held in early May.

Criteria for the award include:

  1. Teaching that influences, motivates and inspires students to learn and fosters independent learning. Indicated by the graduate student's feedback to students on class assignments and how this feedback is consonant with course goals, or through statements regarding the graduate student's pedagogical technique. 
  2. Development of curriculum and resources that promote student learning. A demonstration of the graduate student's use of imaginative instructional resources, a research-inspired approach to teaching, a current knowledge of the field, and the ability to communicate clear objectives and expectations for student learning. 
  3. Development of students as individual learners. Evidence that the graduate student is responsive and supportive to the diversity among his or her students, and that assessment methods are similarly adapted.

All nominations are reviewed by the Graduate Council, which also makes final determinations regarding the winners.

Nomination process and requirements:
The award is open to current or former teaching assistants or teaching fellows in any graduate program. Each candidate must be nominated by his or her program, and each program may submit only one nomination. The deadline for nominations is the first business day of April.  Please send nominations to Associate Dean John Tyler and copy Barbara Bennett. Nominations must contain ALL of the following elements:

  1. A letter from the program's director of graduate study, and as many as three additional letters of support from other program faculty.
  2. A first-hand account of a class visit by a faculty member from the program or from another independent observer (this account may be one of the additional letters of support from faculty).
  3. A letter of support from a former student.

Please note: undergraduate student evaluations should not be included as part of the nomination and will not be considered during the selection process.


Winners of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching include:

2014
Angela S. Allan, English

Michael Powers, German Studies

2013
Anna F. Bialek, Religious Studies
Jason M. Scimeca, Cognitive Science

2012
Jeffrey W. Miller, Applied Mathematics 

2011
Christopher Holmes, English

2010
Rex P. Nielson, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

2009
Jason Zysk, English

2008
Eugenie Brinkema, Modern Culture and Media
Corey McEleney, English

2007
Kerin Holt, English
Maria del Mar Patron Vazquez, Hispanic Studies

2006
Angel Otero-Blanco, Hispanic Studies
Wendy Lee, English

2005
Julian Ling-Chao Wong, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry
Kira Lawrence, Geological Sciences

2004
Jennifer Rains, Hispanic Studies 
Malhar Nabar, Economics