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Lindback and Provost’s Awards for Distinguished Teaching 2006-2007: December 1
October 24, 2006, Volume 53, No. 9

Nominations for Lindback Awards for members of the standing faculty and for Provost’s Awards for associated faculty and academic support staff are now being accepted by the Office of the Provost. The deadline is Friday, December 1, 2006. Please send to Andy Binns, 122 College Hall/6303 or assocprv@pobox.upenn.edu.

The Lindback Awards are presented annually to eight members of the Penn faculty­—four in the non-health areas (SAS, Wharton, Engineering, Law, Education, Social Policy and Practice, Design and the Annenberg School for Communication) and four in the health areas (Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine.)

The Provost’s Awards are given to two associated faculty and academic support staff, one in the health area and one in the non-health area. Those nominated may be full-time teachers or full-time Penn administrative staff who also hold a teaching position.

The criteria and guidelines for the selection of award recipients are the same for both awards as is the deadline date. Nominations can be submitted by letter or e-mail and should include the nominee’s full name, department and rank as well as the name, address (including e-mail address) and phone number of the nominator.

Criteria and Guidelines

1. The Lindback and Provost’s 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 and Provost’s Distinguished Teaching 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 and Provost’s Awards may be given to faculty members who have many years of service remaining, or they may recognize many years of distinguished service already expended. The awards should recognize excellence in either undergraduate or graduate teaching, or both. The teaching activities for which the awards are granted must be components of the degree programs of the University of Pennsylvania.

7. 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.

8. No faculty member may be considered for the Lindback Award in a year in which the member is considered for tenure or in the terminal year. All nominees for the Lindback should be members of the standing faculty. 

9. The Provost’s Award is for a non-standing faculty member in the associated faculty or academic support staff. Those nominated may be full-time teachers or full-time Penn administrative staff who also hold a teaching position. Each year two Provost’s awards are given.

Almanac - October 24, 2006, Volume 53, No. 9