Bob & Kathie Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award

Low angle view of KU's Marvin Hall against the sky

We are pleased to solicit nominations for the Bob and Kathie Taylor Teaching Excellence Award. This award is newly established and made possible through a generous donation by Bob and Kathie Taylor. The award carries a stipend of $4,000, less applicable taxes, and is presented annually to a longstanding KU lecturer or other career/specialty track faculty or academic staff member whose career exemplifies best the commitment of the university to outstanding teaching and the long-term success of students. The recipient will be announced and honored at the Chancellor's University Teaching Awards celebration. Nominations are invited from students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the University.  

All career/specialty track faculty or academic staff with substantial teaching responsibilities who have not previously received a university distinguished teaching award are eligible for this award. 

Nominations are due by Monday, February 5, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.

Eligibility and Nomination Procedures

All non-tenure track faculty or academic staff with substantial teaching responsibilities who have not previously received a university distinguished teaching award are eligible for this award.

  • Nomination Letter
    • Written by the department chair, dean, or a faculty peer from the department (or school in units without departments), which addresses the award criteria
    • Maximum of five pages for the letter and five pages for any supporting documentation of student learning and engagement).
    • For more information on writing the nomination letter, you may consider guidelines on evaluating teaching and examples of peer reviews online at the Center for Teaching Excellence website
  • Following Materials Assembled by the Nominee
    • A list of courses taught and enrollments for the last five years or since appointment at KU (1-2 pages)
    • A summary of course evaluations for the same time period (1-2 pages)
    • Evidence of student learning, including feedback from students (1-3 pages)
    • A statement from the nominee that speaks to the award criteria attached (maximum of 5 pages)
    • A short CV (5 pages maximum) 
  • Chair Endorsement (if applicable)
    • Unless the chair has written the letter of nomination
  1. Quality of intellectual content
    • What decisions has the instructor made in including material and choosing which particular aspects of the field will be included, excluded, or emphasized?
      • To what extent are the intellectual goals for students well-articulated and congruent with the course content and mission?
      • To what extent is the material in this course appropriate for the topic, appropriate for the curriculum, and for the institution? 
  2. Innovation and quality of teaching practices
    • How does the instructor plan for use of students’ time both in and outside of class? What learning activities have the instructor created that enhance the course’s impact?
      • Are there any particularly creative or effective course structures or procedures that contribute especially to the likely achievement of understanding by students?
      • How are students actively engaged in understanding the material?
      • What opportunities (in or out of class) are provided for students to practice the skills embedded in the course goals?
  3. Depth and breadth of student understanding
    • Does the instructor ask students to demonstrate their understanding of key course goals with challenging academic work? Is there evidence that a large percentage of students show high levels of achievement?
      • How does the performance request:
        • Require that students demonstrate different levels of conceptual understanding
        • Facilitate students’ critical evaluation of the material appropriate to the level of the course and of the students?
          • To what extent do course activities provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding using intellectual skills typical of the field?
          • What evidence indicates that deep learning occurs in the course? If possible, consider the following:
            • What proportion of students are achieving a very good level of understanding?
            • What is the range of levels of performance and their distribution for an entire class?
  4. Reflective consideration and development
    • Does the instructor regularly examine successes and difficulties in courses and make incremental adjustments that would promote better learning in future offerings? What new teaching skills and methods has the instructor added to make teaching more effective?
      • To what extent has the nominee examined the relationship between how she or he teaches and how students perform?
      • Is there evidence of insightful analysis of teaching practice that resulted from consideration of student performance?
      • Is there evidence that the faculty member has changed teaching practices based on past teaching experiences? Is there a positive trajectory of teaching skills and outcomes?
  5. Dedication to students and to the profession
    • Does the instructor commit time and energy to further the goals of education for the institution and the field?
      • How does the nominee embody and express in his or her teaching practice and demeanor the scholarly, critical, and intellectual values professed?
      • What actions by the nominee indicate dedication to the success of students and to the teaching of the field of study?

Nominations are due by Monday, February 5, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. The chair and dean endorsements may be submitted separately from the nomination materials.

No announcement will be made concerning persons nominated. All materials received in relation to the process will be treated as confidential information.

Recipients of the Bob & Kathie Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award

  • 2023, Trevor Rivers, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • 2022, Victor Gonzalez Betancourt, Undergraduate Biology Program
  • 2022, Stephen Johnson, English
  • 2022, Tamara Coder Mikinski, Educational Psychology
  • 2021, Elizabeth Brand Six, Law
  • 2021, Lisa McLendon, Journalism & Mass Communications
  • 2021, Kelly Welch, Business
  • 2020, David Griffin, Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
  • 2020, Lauri Hermann-Ginsberg, Curriculum & Teaching
  • 2020, Alee Phillips, Business
  • 2019, Kerry Benson, Journalism & Mass Communications
  • 2019, Brendan Mattingly, Undergraduate Biology Program
  • 2018, Anne Patterson, Architecture
  • 2018, Pamela Keller, Law
  • 2018, Susan Marshall, Psychology