Then again, chances are your college or university has shared this achievement with the student body, faculty, alumni, and other supporters. It is big news too, something that media will share far and wide.
CASE and the Carnegie Foundation
Each year since 1981 the Council for Advancement of and Support of Education (CASE) has shined a positive light on academia by recognizing excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Beginning in 1982, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has been the primary sponsor of this important program.
The annual award recognizes faculty members who possess exemplary teaching skills, individuals who are also role models to other professors. The award provides institutions with bragging rights, making it possible for colleges and universities to gain much-needed pubic support and community interest as notice of these awards are announced.
Professor of the Year candidates are individuals who may teach at public or private institutions as well as at two- or four-year schools. They are not simply excellent teachers, rather their influence goes far beyond the classroom. Some have testified in front of Congress. Others have attracted a spotlight from media. Still others have taken up the mantle of advocacy at professional and civic events. These are individuals who possess a passion for what they do and speak out accordingly.
National and State Winners
CASE recognizes four national winners each year. Each recipient receives a $5,000 contribution from Carnegie and are flown to Washington, DC, at the organization’s expense for its Nov. awards ceremony. The recipient may bring along one guest and they may also bring with them a current or a former student. They are presented with a framed certificate of recognition and are invited to speak at the related awards luncheon and congressional reception.
State winners are recognized too, receiving an awards certificate and the posting of their accomplishment on the US Professors of the Year website. Media recognition and complimentary attendance for two at the Nov. award luncheon and congressional reception is also provided. In 2013, 36 professors won state awards.
US Professors of the Year
This year’s national winners are: Robert Chaney, a Professor of Mathematics at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio; Gintaras Duda, an Associate Professor of Physics at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.; Steven Pollock, a Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder in Boulder, Colo.; and Ann Williams, a Professor of French at Metropolitan State University of Denver in Denver, Colo.
Each recipient has his or her teaching statement posted on the Professor of the Year website along with a nominating student’s introduction, and the text of their acceptance speech.
Not every professor has imagined themselves winning an award and in the case of Prof. Chaney, he was told by his high school guidance counselor to avoid Algebra as it was “too hard” for him. Today, he teaches college algebra, using activities to help students conceptualize math. Notably, he uses tools to help students find ways to connect algebra to real life, including a calculator-controlled robot that students use to solve algebraic problems.
The Nomination Process
If you missed nominating your professor in 2013, then take heart: the deadline for subsequent awards is April 15 with a call for entries published to the website months before that deadline. CASE seeks to award professors in four categories based on the Carnegie classification system: Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor, Outstanding Community Colleges Professor, Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor, and Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges Professor.
See Also — What College Professors Make