The university is currently analyzing budget adjustments for the upcoming year. Funding for the 2017-18 Paul Weber Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching is still under review and the application process is currently on hold.

If you would like to be notified of any updates in the application process, please contact John Whitney by email.

Download the 2017-2018 Paul Weber Award information flyer [PDF].

Award Procedures and Guidelines

The award selection committee will be asked to review the procedures and guidelines of the previous year and recommend revisions for future years.

Stage One Application

The three-page application (not including cover page and letter of endorsement) briefly summarizes department activities that document commitment to teaching excellence. The deadline for submission of applications is Friday, April 7, 2017.

The application should contain a cover page [PDF], a letter of endorsement from the Dean, and the following three sections:

Section 1. A brief departmental profile that describes the teaching and learning mission of the department;
Section 2. A narrative of department-sponsored activities that establish a commitment to teaching and learning excellence; and
Section 3. A narrative of how the department engages in assessment of learning competency and applies that knowledge to the continual improvement in the department culture of teaching and learning excellence.

Formatting Guidelines: Use 8-1/2x11 pages, no smaller than 11-point font, with a left margin of 1-1/2” and top, right, and bottom margins of 1”.

Submit an electronic copy of the cover page [PDF], the Dean's letter of endorsement, and sections 1-3 (three-page maximum) in PDF format to:

Award Selection Committee
2017-2018 Paul Weber Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching
Attn: John Whitney, Program Coordinator

Stage Two Application

Department applications selected as finalists during the initial review process will proceed to a second-tier evaluation process and will be invited to submit a more detailed application. The deadline for submission of stage two applications is Friday, September 29, 2017.

The stage two application should contain the following sections:

Section 1. Statement of Departmental Philosophy of Teaching and Learning (up to two pages);
Section 2. Narrative: Describe the approaches used by the department to address the award selection criteria (up to 10 pages):
i. Commitment to exemplary teaching over time
ii. Commitment to faculty development for teaching
iii. Commitment to student success
iv. Commitment to exemplary collaboration
v. Commitment to linking discovery, creative activity, and engagement with teaching and learning
vi. Commitment to ongoing assessment and improvement of teaching and learning quality
vii. Commitment to fulfilling the university's mission around educational excellence
Section 3. Attachments: Include supporting materials and other documentation relevant to the accomplishments described in the narrative (up to 10 pages)

Formatting Guidelines: Use 8-1/2x11 pages, no smaller than 11-point font, with a left margin of 1-1/2” and top, right, and bottom margins of 1”.

Submit in PDF format to:

Award Selection Committee
2017-2018 Paul Weber Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching
Attn: John Whitney, Program Coordinator

Stage Two Observation Guidelines

Observation is an integral part of the evaluation process. While any one classroom or department meeting may not fully reveal teaching and learning excellence, observation of a cross-section of a department’s courses and collegial interactions will help confirm underlying departmental values about an excellent teaching and learning environment. These observations are an opportunity for award finalists to demonstrate a rich picture of how individual faculty members support the departmental goals and practices promoted in the application. View the Stage Two classroom observation form here. [PDF]

About Classroom Observations

Departments who advance to Stage Two will be asked to forward the names of four faculty members who represent the goals and practices described in the application. The faculty members should represent diversity in rank (e.g., full, associate, assistant, part-time), and the courses they teach should vary in terms of course level, size, content and context. A short description of each faculty member is required at the time of name submission. This description must include:

  • Name and Rank
  • Subject(s) taught and their placement in the overall curriculum
  • Context of teaching to be considered (e.g., classroom, small group, clinical, community, online)
  • Description of the faculty member’s collaborative efforts related to teaching
  • Brief and specific description of how this faculty member demonstrates the attributes described in the department’s application materials

Two or three committee members will observe two or more of the faculty members forwarded for consideration in order to evaluate departmental faculty contributions to the description offered in the department’s application materials.

About Departmental Faculty Meeting Observations

Members of the selection committee will attend a departmental faculty meeting so that committee members can observe how the department discusses teaching and learning. At the conclusion of the meeting, departmental faculty should be prepared to respond to committee members’ questions about the department’s application materials. View the Stage Two departmental meeting observation form here.

Examples of Criteria and/or Evidence

Listed below are examples of criteria and/or evidence that might document a record of excellence in teaching and learning. This list should not be considered as exhaustive or restrictive.

Commitment to exemplary teaching over time:

  • Clearly articulates how excellent teaching is defined, promoted and assessed by the department or program
  • Has and follows a departmental philosophy of teaching
  • Demonstrates robust links between good teaching and rewards, including incentives to encourage teaching excellence
  • Invests adequate departmental resources in teaching
  • Offers activities or structures that establish a positive and productive climate for teaching
  • Articulates a current initiative or programmatic/curricular improvement focused on improving the quality of undergraduate and/or graduate education in the department
  • Offers sustained structures and procedures to welcome early career faculty and new instructors into a culture of excellent teaching
  • Connects rigorous evaluation of teaching and evidence of teaching quality to tenure and promotion decisions
  • Introduces part-time faculty, graduate students, and non-tenure track instructions into the department’s instructional culture
  • Offers evidence of the department’s reputation for educational success based upon external review results, its reputation among academic peers, testimonials, or other peer evaluation or rankings

Commitment to faculty development for teaching:

  • Provides orientation and continued feedback and support for new faculty and graduate teaching assistants
  • Provides opportunities for shared discussion of teaching innovations and problems
  • Encourages teaching conference attendance and presentations
  • Encourages research and publication on teaching and learning
  • Requires a teaching demonstration or pedagogical colloquium as part of the hiring process
  • Provides evidence that faculty development activities have led to improvements in teaching and learning
  • Demonstrates faculty involvement, shared values and commitment, and a sense of ownership for teaching within the unit
  • Supports faculty efforts to adopt innovative and effective forms of pedagogy and instructional technology

Commitment to student success:

  • Monitors schedule of courses and sequences to improve availability
  • Fosters excellence in graduate student teaching and preparation
  • Ensures that students have access to teachers and advisors outside of class
  • Provides or refers students to necessary academic support services
  • Resolves student complaints appropriately
  • Offers exemplary programs for advising, mentoring, recruiting, and retaining students
  • Provides for student learning opportunities outside the classroom
  • Facilitates opportunities for student study, meetings, and co-curricular activities
  • Demonstrates that academic excellence and serving the needs of all students are top priorities for the unit
  • Involves students in curriculum development and planning
  • Engages actively through curriculum design and delivery in improving discipline-specific communication skills of students
  • Facilitates engagement and socialization of transfer students from within and outside the institution
  • Demonstrates a commitment to making a culture of teaching excellence explicit and transparent to students

Commitment to exemplary collaboration:

  • Offers collective efforts at the department level focused on improving student learning and/or the student experience
  • Demonstrates an explicit commitment to teaching as a public, collaborative, and scholarly activity
  • Encourages collaborative faculty efforts through team teaching, teaching discussion groups, common assessments, interdisciplinary courses, learning communities, and peer mentoring

Commitment to linking discovery, creative activity, and engagement with teaching and learning:

  • Brings faculty experience and expertise on discovery, creative activity, and engagement to bear on enhancing teaching and student learning
  • Involves students in discovery projects and engagement undertakings
  • Seeks grants for projects on improving teaching and learning
  • Rewards faculty for contributing to the scholarship on instruction, including publications on teaching and learning and presentations and participation at teaching workshops and conferences

Commitment to ongoing assessment and improvement of teaching and learning quality:

  • Monitors teaching effectiveness and student learning and makes changes appropriately
  • Involves faculty, staff, and students (current and former) in assessment and planning
  • Utilizes assessment for instructional improvement
  • Engages employers of graduates, graduate and professional schools, and on-campus users (other departments) of academic offerings (e.g., general education, elective courses, service courses) in assessment
  • Addresses the educational program fully with attention to majors, minors, general education, and service offerings for students on- and off-campus as appropriate
  • Employs an ongoing, data-driven process for reviewing and reshaping curricula
  • Utilizes methods of assessment of student learning that go beyond student end-of-semester evaluations
  • Tracks exemplary academic or professional success of the department’s current students and recent graduates

Commitment to fulfilling the university’s mission around educational excellence:

  • What are the various programs supported by the department?
  • How does the department contribute to General Education, undergraduate education, and/or graduate and professional education at the University of Louisville?
  • How does the department ensure that its teaching contributions are “excellent”?
  • How does the department encourage community engagement, diversity, scholarly activity, and research through its teaching?
^ Top of Page