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 sciences. In 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."
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 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.
William Clyde DeVane Award
The Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa awards teaching prizes to honor the memory of William Clyde DeVane, Dean of Yale College from 1938 to 1963. The awards recognize character, scholarship, and distinguished undergraduate teaching. The Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa makes two DeVane Awards annually. One is to a retired member of the Yale College Faculty selected by the graduate officers and graduate advisers of the society. The other is to an active member of the faculty who has taught at Yale for at least five years; this recipient is elected by the members of the senior class in Phi Beta Kappa. The DeVane Awards are presented at the chapter dinner of Phi Beta Kappa in the spring.
Previous Winners can be seen on the Yale Phi Beta Kappa website.