William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

Ariel View of KU's Fraser Hall at sunrise

The William T. Kemper Foundation named the University of Kansas as a beneficiary under a charitable trust and directed that these funds recognize the importance of teaching excellence, innovation, and student-centeredness to the success of the University of Kansas.

Each year, the Kemper Fellowships will recognize five outstanding KU faculty whose innovative approaches to teaching help students gain crucial skills, embrace academic and professional challenges, develop learning strategies, and improve long-term student success. Each of the five awardees will receive $7,500.

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

Eligibility and Nomination Procedures

All full-time faculty who have completed a minimum of five years of service prior to the award year in a tenured, tenure-track, or career/specialty position at KU and who have demonstrated teaching excellence, innovation, and student-centeredness may be nominated. Faculty who have received a William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in the past five years are ineligible.

For this award, teaching is considered in its broadest sense. This includes working with students in the classroom, in the laboratory, on the stage, online, in a studio, in a clinic, in the field, and any other setting where teaching occurs. It includes guiding research for students, creating outreach activities, advising, and mentoring students. Teaching activity may occur while students are at KU and in some cases after graduation where continued mentoring occurs. Teaching at any level— undergraduate, graduate, and professional—may be recognized.

For this award, excellence is considered broadly and from within a discipline’s lens. From this perspective, excellence may be demonstrated by: (1) depth and breadth of student understanding, (2) intellectual content, (3) innovation, (4) quality of teaching experience, (5) learning climate, (6) dedication to students/profession/alumni, and (7) reflective consideration and regular development.

  • Please submit an electronic version of the nomination as a single PDF attachment via the submission link below. 

  • The nomination file must be assembled as one (1) pdf document. Name the file as follows: YearKemper_LastnameFirstname (e.g., 2023Kemper_HawkJay). No hard copies are accepted, unless the demonstration of teaching excellence is not capable of reduction to a digital document. 

  • The pdf file should include the following and be presented in this order:
    • Nomination/Cover Letter. Letter should be no more than two pages single spaced.
    • Supporting letters (limited to five) from, for example, the nominee’s chair and/or dean, colleagues, staff members, and students (current or former), addressing teaching excellence as defined above.
    • Nominee’s personal teaching statement, explicitly addressing teaching excellence as defined above. Statements should be no more than three pages single spaced.
    • List of courses taught and the number of students in each, as well as other instructional and advising activities during the preceding five years.
    • Evidence from two or more sources that provide insight into the quality of instructional activity. For example, results of assessment of student learning, results of projects or assignments in which students demonstrated conceptual understanding of course material, documentation of improvements in achievement among a diverse group of students, peer evaluation that documents innovative, student-centered approaches, and other relevant methods of evaluation. Aggregate results of student surveys of teaching may be included as evidence.
    • Nominee’s curriculum vitae, focused on the last five years only.

  • Please contact us at facultyaffairs@ku.edu with any questions.

Within the nominations from their unit, the Office of Faculty Affairs will ask each dean and CLAS divisional associate dean (in consultation with the CLAS executive dean) to rank nominations based upon the merit of the application and with the goal of ensuring distribution of the award across disciplines over time. These rankings will remain confidential. Following their review and ranking, the dean, or divisional associate dean, will return all nomination packets and this confidential ranking to the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs Office.

University Committee: The Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs will convene a committee to produce a final slate of five nominees to the Provost. The committee members will select, by majority vote, the five most meritorious applications with the goal of ensuring distribution of the award across disciplines over time.


Nominators: Self-nomination, faculty colleague, unit committee, chair, director, associate dean or dean-level nominations may be made.

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

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 William T. Kemper Fellowship

  • 2023, Ali Brox, Environmental Studies Program
  • 2023, Michelle Heffner Hayes, Theatre & Dance
  • 2023, Sheyda Jahanbani, History
  • 2023, Joshua Miner, Film & Media Studies
  • 2023, Jeremy Shellhorn, Design
  • From 1996 through 2011, nearly 300 University of Kansas professors received William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence.