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Lindback & Provost’s Awards Nominations: November 15

Criteria and Guidelines

1. The Lindback Awards are given in recognition of distinguished teaching. “Distinguished” teaching is teaching that is intellectually demanding, unusually coherent, and permanent in its effect. The distinguished teacher has the capability of changing the way in which students view the subject they are studying. The distinguished teacher provides the basis for students to look with critical and informed perception at the fundamentals of a discipline, and he/she relates that discipline to other disciplines and to the worldview of the student. The distinguished teacher is accessible to students and open to new ideas, but also expresses his/her own views with articulate informed understanding of an academic field. The distinguished teacher is fair, free from prejudice, and single-minded in the pursuit of truth.

2. Distinguished teaching means different things in different fields. While the distinguished teacher should be versatile, as much at home in large groups as in small, and in beginning classes as in advanced, he or she may have skills of special importance in his/her arena of specialization: skillful direction of dissertation students, effective supervision of student researchers, ability to organize a large course of many sections, skill in leading seminars, special talent with large classes, ability to handle discussions or to structure lectures–these are all relevant attributes, although it is unlikely that anyone will excel in all of them.

3. Distinguished teaching is recognized and recorded in many ways; evaluation must also take several forms. It is not enough to look solely at letters of recommendation from students. It is not enough to consider “objective” evaluations of particular classes in tabulated form; a faculty member’s influence extends beyond the classroom and beyond individual classes.  Nor is it enough to look only at a candidate’s most recent semester or at opinions expressed immediately after a course is over, the influence of the best teachers lasts while that of others may be great at first but lessen over time.  It is not enough merely to gauge student adulations, for its basis is superficial; but neither should such feelings be discounted as unworthy of investigation.  Rather, all of these factors and more should enter into the identification and assessment of distinguished teaching.

4. The Lindback Awards have a symbolic importance that transcends the recognition of individual merit. They should be used to advance effective teaching by serving as reminders to as wide a spectrum of the University community as possible of the expectations of the University for the quality of its mission.

5. Distinguished teaching occurs in all parts of the University and therefore faculty members from all schools are eligible for consideration. An excellent teacher who does not receive an award in a given year may be re-nominated in some future year and receive the award then.

6. The Lindback Awards may be awarded to faculty members who have many years of service remaining, or they may recognize many years of distinguished service already expended. No faculty member may be considered for the Lindback Award in a year in which the member is considered for tenure on in the terminal year. All nominees should be members of the standing faculty.  The teaching activities for which the awards are granted must be components of the degree programs of the University of Pennsylvania.

7. The awards should recognize excellence in either undergraduate or graduate teaching, or both.

8. The recipient of a Lindback Award should be a teacher/scholar. While a long bibliography is not necessarily the mark of a fine mind, or the lack of one, a sign of mediocrity, it is legitimate to look for an active relationship between a candidate’s teaching and the current state of scholarship in his/her field.

9. The Provost’s Award is for a non-standing faculty member, while the Lindback is for a standing faculty member. Each year, eight Lindback awards are given, four to faculty members from the health schools (Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine and Veterinary Medicine) and four from the non-health schools.  Each year, two Provost’s Awards are given.                                                                      

Who has a Lindback?        

For a roster of Penn faculty who have won Lindback Awards since the program’s inception in 1961, see the University Archives’ website, www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/notables/awards/lindback.html, which includes recipients through 2005.



  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 10, November 1, 2005


November 1, 2005
Volume 52 Number 10


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