In 1980, the Yale College Faculty approved the following proposal for the creation and award of Yale College Prizes for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching:
The University can help to sensitize the Yale community to the importance it attaches to good teaching by regularly honoring those who have demonstrated excellence in this area. The Committee on Teaching and Learning recommends a four-year experiment in which up to three prizes ... [will] be awarded to outstanding teachers at each Class Day or Commencement Exercise. The Committee on Teaching and Learning will solicit nominations from the faculty and student body at large, seek such other information on the quality of teaching as it saw fit, and make the final selections. All Yale college faculty members, other than members of the Teaching and Learning Committee, would be eligible after having taught at Yale for three years. The Committee's charge would be to honor faculty demonstrating unique excellence in undergraduate teaching (be it laboratory, seminar, or lecture course) rather than to determine which instructors were most popular.
These Yale College Teaching Prizes were first awarded in 1981, and the "experiment," considered a success, has continued to the present day. Later two additional prizes were established. During the academic year 1989-1990, the Yale College faculty set up a fourth prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching, to be awarded on an annual basis to an individual who has held the title of Lecturer, Lector, Senior Lecturer, Senior Lector, or Adjunct Professor for at least three years. And in the spring of 1993, a fifth prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching was established by an anonymous alumnus in the Class of 1942 as The Harwood F. Byrnes / Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize, to be awarded to "a teacher in Yale College who has given the most time, energy, and effective effort to helping undergraduates learn."
Only regular faculty who have taught in Yale College for at least three years are eligible for these three awards. Ineligible are all past winners of these awards, faculty currently serving as members of the Teaching and Learning Committee, and individuals who are no longer members of the Yale College Faculty. Those with the titles of Lecturer, Lector, Senior Lecturer, or Senior Lector are not eligible for these three awards, but may be eligible for other awards, listed below.
Current non-ladder faculty who have taught in Yale College for at least three years with the title of Lector or Lecturer are eligible for this prize.
Insofar as this prize was established to honor the exceptional support and advising that were given undergraduates like the donor by the persons for whom the prize is named, the Teaching and Learning Committee regards this as an award to be given only to a "towering figure" in undergraduate education: someone who over a long period of service has inspired a great number of students and consistently fostered the learning process both inside and outside the classroom.
The following is a list of some of the previous winners of those teaching prizes awarded by the Yale College Teaching and Learning Committee on the basis of nominations from undergraduate students enrolled in their courses. Previous winners who are no longer serving on the Yale College faculty are not included in this list.
|Sybil Alexandrov||William Kelly||Robert F. Thompson|
|Vladimir Alexandrov||Michael Koelle||Patrick Vaccaro|
|Dana Angluin||Ruth Koizim||Joseph Wolenski|
|James Aspnes||Andrew Hill||Keith Wrightson|
|Charles Bailyn||Mark A. Johnson||Michael Zeller|
|Tim Barringer||Richard Lalli||William Zhou|
|Paul Bloom||Rita Lipson|
|Leslie Brisman||Deborah Margolin|
|Alicia R. Schmidt Camacho||Giuseppe Mazzotta|
|John Carlson||John Merriman|
|Andrew Casson||Christopher R. Miller|
|George Chauncey||Kenneth Nelson|
|Marvin Chun||Benjamin Polak|
|Michael Della Rocca||Kevin Poole|
|Ayala Dvoretzky||John Rogers|
|Anne Fadiman||Peter Salovey|
|Hilary Fink||Laurie Santos|
|Stanley Eisenstat||Alanna Schepartz|
|John Gaddis||Peter Schultheiss|
|Jay Gitlin||Brian Scholl|
|Timothy Guinnane||William Segraves|
|Christine Hayes||Sun-Joo Shin|
|James Hepokoski||Ramamurti Shankar|
|Cynthia Horan||Mitchell Smooke|
|Donald Kagan||Howard Stern|
|Boris Kapustin||Scott Strobel|
Other committees determine the award of further prizes for teaching in Yale College. Based on the nominations from undergraduate students and faculty, Prize Teaching Fellowships for graduate students in good standing in Ph. D. programs who have served as Teaching Fellows or Part-Time Acting Instructors are awarded jointly through the offices of the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Yale College. Each April, selection is made by a committee made up of Directors of Undergraduate Studies and Directors of Graduate Studies from each of the three divisions (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences), the Director of the Teaching Fellow Program, and an Associate Dean of Yale College. Nominations may be made by e-mail or by letter to the Prize Fellowship Committee, c/o Yale College Dean's Office, 110 SSS. Nominations should be as detailed and specific as possible and include the full name of the graduate student being nominated, the title and number of the course the graduate student taught, the semester in which the course was taught, and the full name of the person making the nomination.
A special committee named by the Dean of Yale College determines the winner of the Sarai Ribicoff '79 Prize for the Encouragement of Teaching in Yale College. This prize is to be awarded annually to a non-tenured member of the Yale College faculty in the humanities division "whose instruction and character reflect the qualities of independence, innovation, and originality" that were exemplified by the life and thought of this distinguished alumna.
Each January, those members of the senior class who have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa select the winner of the William Clyde DeVane medal for excellence in undergraduate teaching. A second DeVane medal is awarded to an emeritus member of the faculty by the vote of the faculty members of the chapter. The medals are presented at the Phi Beta Kappa banquet in early March.
The Prize Teaching Fellowships recognize outstanding performance and promise as a teacher. They are considered among the most important honors that Yale bestows upon graduate students.
Yale graduate students in good standing in a Ph. D. program who have served in Yale College as Teaching Fellows (TFs) or Part-Time Acting Instructors (PTAIs) in academic year 2012-13 are eligible for nomination for Prize Teaching Fellowships.
The awards will be based upon excellence in performance as TFs or PTAIs , as attested to by undergraduate students and by supervising faculty. To be eligible for selection, graduate students must be making satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree, as shown in the Dissertation Progress Report filed with the Graduate School.
Selection will be made in the spring of 2013 by a committee co-chaired by the Director of the Teaching Fellow Program in the Graduate School and an Associate Dean of Yale College.
The Nomination Process
Students in Yale College may nominate any graduate student enrolled in a Ph.D. program whom they had as a Teaching Fellow (TF) or Part-Time Acting Instructor (PTAI) in an undergraduate course in either the fall or spring term, 2012-13.
Letters of nomination may be submitted to the Yale College Dean's Office website.
Nominations need not be lengthy, but it helps the selection committee make their decisions if letters provide specific information about how a particular TF or PTAI has excelled as an instructor rather than general expressions of enthusiasm. This is not a popularity contest or an election in which the determination is made merely on the number of nominations received. The selection committee reads the letters of nomination and pays attention to the quality rather than just the quantity of information it receives.
Twice a year, at the end of the fall term and in the middle of the spring term, the Yale College Dean's Office will invite nominations by e-mailing all Yale College students with an active <yale.edu> e-mail account. The Yale College Dean's Office will also seek nominations through notices placed in residential college weekly newsletters. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, graduate student instructors should not solicit their students for nominations, but if asked by undergraduates how to go about making a nomination, should refer them to this website.
Letters of nomination must include the full name of the person writing the letter, the full name of the graduate student being nominated for the Prize Teaching Fellowship, and the name or number of the course in which the graduate student taught and the term (fall or spring) in which it was offered. Undergraduates writing letters of nomination should include information about their own class year and residential college.
Deadline for Nominations
The deadline for receipt of letters of nomination is Friday, March 8, 2013, at 5 p.m.
Once student nominations have been received and sorted, the selection committee will contact relevant departments and seek supporting information from the faculty member in charge of the course with which the TF or PTAI was affiliated, or as relevant, the DUS, DGS, Chair, or other departmental officer of the program sponsoring the course. These additional materials help the selection committee to make its final choices from among those nominated by undergraduates.
The number of Prize Teaching Fellowships is not strictly capped, but is expected in any given year to lie between ten and fifteen.
The winners of Prize Teaching Fellowships receive a cash prize of $3000 to be awarded in spring 2013.
Prize Fellowship winners who wish to teach in 2013-14 should consult with the DUS or chair of their department, or the DUS or chair of the department in which they wish to teach, as soon as possible after receiving notification of the award. For those Prize Fellowship winners who wish to teach as section leaders, early consultation will ensure priority in the processes of deliberation by which these assignments are made in their department.
In some departments, it may be possible to offer an independent course. Prize Teaching Fellowship winners interested in this option should be in contact as soon as possible after receiving their award letter with the chair or DUS of the department in which they seek to offer such a course. Such consultation will make clear whether that possibility exists within the curriculum of the program with which they are affiliated and will help them to develop a course suited to the program's needs in the following year. Both the DUS and the Yale College Course of Study Committee must approve any new courses.
Teaching stipends for courses taught in 2013-14 by Prize Teaching Fellowship winners will be paid at the levels set for those forms of instruction for that year and will be disbursed in accordance to the normal schedule of payment for those ranks.
Those selected as Prize Teaching Fellows will be honored at a dinner in fall 2013, hosted by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Yale College.
Selected for 2012-2013
Alexander Cerjan, Physics
Selected for 2011-2012
Jennifer Lambe, History
Selected for 2010-2011
Gwendolyn M. Bradford, Philosophy
Selected for 2009-2010
Ryan Brasseaux, American Studies
Selected for 2008-2009
Eric Bianchi, Music
Selected for 2007-2008
Justin Belardi, Chemistry
Selected for 2006-2007
Carolyn Davidson, History
Selected for 2005-2006
Mikhail Ershov, Mathematics
Selected for 2004-2005
Eugenius Ang, Neurobiology
Selected for 2003-2004
Eugenius Ang, Neurobiology
Selected for 2002-2003
Patricio Boyer, Comparative Literature
Selected for 2001-2002
Joseph Acquisto, French
Selected for 2000-2001
Adam Bristol, Psychology
Selected for 1999-2000
Rabab Abdulhadi, Sociology