Teaching Prizes

Catherine Nicholson

Photo: Michael Marsland

2017 Faculty Teaching Prize Winners

A reception to honor this year's winners will be held Monday, May 1, 2017, 3:00 p.m., in the Presidents' Room, Schwarzman Center.

Joanne Freeman

History and American Studies

The Sidonie Miskimin Clauss ’75 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities

Harrison Huibin Zhou

Statistics and Data Science

The Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences

Timothy Newhouse


The Dylan Hixon ’88 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Andrew Ehrgood


The Richard H. Brodhead ’68 Prize for Teaching Excellence by a Lecturer or Lector

Rosie Bsheer


Sarai Ribicoff ’79 Award for Teaching Excellence in Yale College

Kurt Zilm


The Harwood F. Byrnes /Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize

Teaching Prizes for Faculty

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.

In 1981, the first three Yale College Teaching Prizes were established, to recognize teaching excellence by ladder faculty in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciencesIn 1989, the Yale College faculty created a fourth prize, to be awarded to a Lecturer, Lector, Senior Lecturer, Senior Lector, or Adjunct Professor. In 1993, a fifth prize was established by an anonymous alumnus in the Class of 1942, to be awarded to "a teacher in Yale College who has given the most time, energy, and effective effort to helping undergraduates learn." In 2010, the Teaching and Learning Committee took up the work of nominating recipients for an earlier, longstanding prize, the Sarai Ribicoff prize, previously administered by a separate nominating committee.

The Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize

awarded for teaching excellence in the humanities

The Lex Hixon '63 Prize

awarded for teaching excellence in the social sciences

The Dylan Hixon '88 Prize

awarded for teaching excellence in the natural sciences

The Richard H. Brodhead '68 Prize

awarded for teaching excellence by non-ladder faculty

The Harwood F. Byrnes / Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize

awarded to any faculty member 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 Sarai Ribicoff '79 Prize

awarded 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

Every semester, the Teaching and Learning Committee accepts nominations through a dedicated website. It then submits its recommendations to the Dean of Yale College, who names the winners and invites them and their students to a reception at the end of the academic year.

The Poorvu Family Fund for Teaching in Yale College

Every summer, the Yale College Dean's Office asks FAS Department Chairs and Directors of Interdisciplinary Programs in Yale College to nominate untenured instructors for the Poorvu Prize. Established by the Poorvu family to recognize and to enhance Yale’s strength in interdisciplinary teaching, the award is made to outstanding untenured faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching in interdisciplinary undergraduate programs.

Besides paying tribute to these junior faculty members, the award, in the form of a research fund, allows them to focus during the summer months on research essential to their development as scholars and teachers. On the basis of nominations from chairs and directors of interdisciplinary programs, the Dean of Yale College will award one or more prizes. Preference is given to candidates who have been on the Yale faculty for at least two years as of the following July 1.

Nominations may be submitted to Yale College until September 30.

Teaching Prizes for Graduate Students

Prize Teaching Fellowships

The Prize Teaching Fellowships are considered among the most important honors that Yale bestows upon graduate students and recognize outstanding performance and promise as a teacher. Based on the nominations from undergraduate students and faculty, Prize Teaching Fellowships 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. 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.


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 2017 by a committee consisting of the Dean of Undergraduate Education in Yale College, an Associate Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Assistant Director of the Teaching Fellow Program in the Graduate School.

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.

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 March 31, 2018.

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 Awards

The number of Prize Teaching Fellowships is not strictly capped, but is expected in any given year to fall between ten and fifteen.

The winners of Prize Teaching Fellowships receive a cash prize of $3000 to be awarded in spring 2017.

Teaching stipends for courses taught in 2016-17 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 celebratory event in the fall, hosted by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Yale College.

Previous winners


Jean-Christophe Agnew
Sybil Alexandrov
Vladimir Alexandrov
Dana Angluin
James Aspnes
Charles Bailyn
Tim Barringer
Cornelius Beausang
Steven Berry
Paul Bloom
Leslie Brisman
Turner Brooks
John Carlson
Andrew Casson
Joseph Chang
George Chauncey
Marvin Chun
Deborah Davis
Michael Della Rocca
Edwin Duval
Ayala Dvoretzky
Stanley Eisenstat
Jonathan Ellman

Anne Fadiman

Hilary Fink
Moira Fradinger
Michael Frame
John Gaddis

Beverly Gage
Tamar Gendler

Glenda Gilmore
Jay Gitlin

Jacquelyn Goldsby

Lloyd Grieger
Paul Grimstad
Timothy Guinnane
Alfred Guy
Asaf Hadari

Marketa Havlickova
Christine Hayes
James Hepokoski
Andrew Hill
Margaret Homans
Cynthia Horan
Roger Howe
Mark Johnson
Andrew Johnston
Gilbert Joseph

Donald Kagan
Boris Kapustin
William Kelly
Michael Koelle
Ruth Koizim
Richard Lalli

Angela Lee-Smith
Kathryn Lofton

Daniel Magaziner
Deborah Margolin
Giuseppe Mazzotta
John Merriman
Mark Mooseker
Kenneth Nelson
Catherine Nicholson

William Nordhaus

Nikhil Padmanabhan
Benjamin Polak
Jonathan Reuning-Scherer
John Rogers

Frances Rosebluth
Peter Salovey
Laurie Santos
Alanna Schepartz
Alicia Schmidt Camacho
Brian Scholl
Peter Schultheiss
Ramamurti Shankar
Sun-Joo Shin
Ronald Smith
Steven Smith
Mitchell Smooke
Howard Stern
Fred Strebeigh
Scott Strobel
William Summers
Mary-Louise Timmermans
Patrick Vaccaro
Joseph Wolenski

Craig Wright
Keith Wrightson
Michael Zeller
William Zhou


Prize Teaching Fellows 1999-00 to 2014-2015

Selected for 2014-2015

Alexander Cerjan, Physics
Joseph Faucher, Engineering & Applied Science
Jared Rovny, Physics
Liam Sharninghausen, Chemistry


Selected for 2013-2014

Andrew Horowitz, History
Miho Kaneko, Chemistry
David Kimel, History
Alp Kucukelbir, Engineering and Applied Science
Miriam Logan, Mathematics
Kyle Luh, Mathematics
Susie Kimport, Mathematics
Carolyn Sinsky, Comparative Literature

Selected for 2012-2013

Alexander Cerjan, Physics
Subhojoy Gupta, Mathematics
Matthew Herdiech, Engineering & Applied Science
Andrew Horowitz, History
Matthew Lindauer, Philosophy
Miriam Logan, Mathematics
James Ross MacDonald, English
Deacon Nemchick, Chemistry
Bogdan Vioreanu, Mathematics
Talya Zemach-Bersin, American Studies

Selected for 2011-2012

Jennifer Lambe, History
Joseph Lauer, Mathematics
Rishi Raj, Mathematics
Samuel Schaffer, History
Jeremi Szaniawski, Film Studies
Jan Claas van Treeck, German


Selected for 2010-2011

Gwendolyn M. Bradford, Philosophy
Stephen Eckel, Physics
Elyse Graham, English
Sarah Mahurin, English
Patricia Maloney, Sociology
Heather McGee, Immunobiology
Joseph Zinter, Engineering & Applied Science

Selected for 2009-2010

Ryan Brasseaux, American Studies
Jamie L. Duke, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics
Merideth A. Frey, Physics
Robert B. Gilpin, History
Federico H. Gutierrez, Economics
Sungil Han, Philosophy
Lauren Jacks Gamble, History of Art
James R. MacDonald, English
Katherine C. Mooney, History
James R. O’Leary, Music
Nathan E. Suhr-Sytsma, English
Aleksander Vacic, Engineering and Applied Science

Selected for 2008-2009

Eric Bianchi, Music
John T. Giblin, Physics
John Goss, Cell Biology
Marcus Labude, Philosophy
Grace Leslie, History
Mary Ellen Leuver, History of Science History of Medicine
Ansgar Mohnkern, Germanic Languages & Literature
Andrea Moudarres, Italian Languages & Literature
Evelyn Scaramella, Spanish & Portuguses
Gilad Tanay, Philosophy


Selected for 2007-2008

Justin Belardi, Chemistry
Omri Boehm, Philosophy
Christine de Lorenzo, Electrical Engineering
Daniel Feldman, Comparative Literature
David Huyssen, History
Aaron Mertz, Physics
Seth Monahan, Music
Ethan Neil, Physics
Manish Patnaik, Mathematics
Rob Person, Political Science
Ayesha Ramachandran, Renaissance Studies
Rachael Relph, Chemistry
Eric Stern, Engineering & Applied Science
Sean Taylor, Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology
Helen Veit, History
Mary Beth Willard, Philosophy
Helen Wong, Mathematics

Selected for 2006-2007

Carolyn Davidson, History
Seth Dworkin, Mechanical Engineering
Daniel Feldman, Comparative Literature
Jeffrey Headrick, Chemistry
Dorota Heneghan, Spanish & Portuguese
Joshua Levithan, History
Heidi Lockwood, Philosophy
Charles More, Philosophy
Barry Muchnick, History and FES
Todd Olszewski, History of Science History of Medicine
Sean Taylor, Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology
Justin Zaremby, Political Science

Selected for 2005-2006

Mikhail Ershov, Mathematics
Adam Marshak, History
Ann Kern, Comparative Literature
Helmut Illbruck, Comparative Literature
Jane Erickson, Psychology
Laure Marcellesi, French
Luz Horne, Spanish & Portuguese
Marco Oviedo, Economics
Jessica Borelli, Psychology
Sara Stefani, Slavic Languages & Literatures

Selected for 2004-2005

Eugenius Ang, Neurobiology
Michael Barnwell, Religious Studies
Andrea Becksvoort, American Studies
John Delury, History
Andrew Dole, Religious Studies
Mikhail Ershov, Mathematics
Jeffrey Headrick, Chemistry
Dorota Heneghan, Spanish & Portuguese
Nam Gyu Kang, Mathematics
Bernardo Piciche, Italian
Matthew Reese, Applied Physics
Brian Reilly, French
Sven Ude, Chemical Engineering

Selected for 2003-2004

Eugenius Ang, Neurobiology
Timothy Domeier, Cellular & Molecular Physiology
Amerigo Fabbri, Italian
Mark Greif, American Studies
Arthur Hersel, Engineering & Applied Science
Scott Kleeb, History
Aaron Matz, Comparative Literature
Adinah Miller, Religious Studies
Neal Mitra, MCDB
Anton Orlich, Political Science
Elizabeth Paluck, Psychology
Aaron Sachs, American Studies
John Schneekloth, Chemistry

Selected for 2002-2003

Patricio Boyer, Comparative Literature
Duncan Chesney, Comparative Literature
Angus Fletcher, English
Sara Haug, Chemical Engineering
Jonathan Kagan, Microbiology
Jana Kunicova, Political Science
Edward Melillo, History
Stefan Miller, Chemistry
Nathaniel Phinney, Religious Studies
Susan Rivers, Psychology
Lina Steiner, Comparative Literature
Petia Vlahovska, Chemical Engineering

Selected for 2001-2002

Joseph Acquisto, French
David Carson Berry, Music
Steven Corcelli, Chemistry
Karene Grad, American Studies
Jens Graeber, Chemistry
Kristen, Hylenski, German
Joshua Kronen, History
Robert Lagueux, Music
Carrie Lane, American Studies
Erez Manela, History
Barry McMillion, Political Science
Charlotte Taylor, English
Catherine Whalen, American Studies

Selected for 2000-2001

Adam Bristol, Psychology
Lawrence Dahl, English
Moira Fradinger, Comparative Literature
Elizabeth Hillman, History
Scott McGill, Classics
Michelle Nickerson, American Studies
Andrew Pearlman, Economics
John Turci-Escobar, Music
Cherie Woodworth, History

Selected for 1999-2000

Rabab Abdulhadi, Sociology
H. Erik Butler, Comparative Literature
Nikolai Firtich, Slavic Languages & Literatures
Moira Fradinger, Comparative Literature
Eileen Hunt, Political Science
Baird Jarman, History of Art
Geoffrey Kabaservice, History
Randy Kidd, History of Science History of Medicine
Sukjae Lee, Philosophy
Andrew Lewis, American Studies
Edward Lintz, Comparative Literature
John Monroe, History
Clyde Ragland, Philosophy
Wendie Schneider, History
Kelly Sorensen, Philosophy