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Presidential Teaching Professors
Because teaching is the essential mechanism for attaining the educational goals of the university, outstanding teachers ought to be recognized by the university community. Further, tangible support of the efforts of great teachers ought to be a continuing interest of the university. Therefore, the title of Presidential Teaching Professor has been established. This title will not only recognize and honor past excellence in teaching, but will provide significant tangible support for current and future efforts. Each such professor will receive, along with a permanent salary increment, a support budget and some released time during an award period. Recommendations will be made by a Selection Committee. Appointments and grants will be awarded by the University President.
Nature of the Award
Each Presidential Teaching Professor will receive upon appointment an increment of $5,000 to base salary. A grant of $5,000 will be provided during each year of a four-year award period following the non-renewable appointment to be used for any legitimate activities directly related to the improvement of the professor’s teaching (e.g., equipment, graduate assistants, supplies, travel, secretarial help), except for personal salary. In addition, the professor will be released for one semester (or the equivalent in part-time releases) from teaching, research, and service responsibilities during the last half of the four-year award period to permit the generation of new course materials or the development of new instructional methods. (When designated as a Presidential Teaching Professor, the faculty member should consult with the department chair, and college dean if necessary, to identify the particular semester the faculty member will be gone and how the regular assignment will be covered internally. Colleges will receive $4,000 toward the cost of that one semester release.) These provisions are to be over and above any tangible resources or released time that these individuals may obtain through grants or other sources during the award period.
Presidential Teaching Professors will be formally appointed in the spring of the year prior to the starting date of their appointment. At this time they will each be presented with a medallion intended for wearing with academic regalia.
To be considered, individuals must have tenure and rank of full professor and have at least six years of service at NIU. Nominees should be acknowledged to be among the most notable teachers at the university with demonstrated continuous excellence in the teaching of under-graduate and/or graduate students. Individuals who have received the Presidential Research, Scholarship, and Artistry Professor, Presidential Engagement Professor or Board of Trustees Professor Award may also be eligible for appointment as a Presidential Teaching Professor. However, nominees may only apply for one presidential award per year. Professors nearing retirement from the university are eligible. If appointed, these individuals will receive the benefits and support fixed by the award for that part of the appointment period they are fully employed at NIU. Sitting members of the Selection Committee are not eligible for the appointment.
Presidential Teaching Professors are expected to carry out a continuous program of activities related to the improvement of instruction during the four-year award period. At the conclusion of the award period, each Presidential Teaching Professor will be required to conduct a seminar for the NIU community on a topic derived from their work. To ensure the smooth functioning of their respective departments, each professor will consult with the department chair, the college dean, and the provost, as necessary, before scheduling the released time related to the award.
Representatives of faculty from each of the seven instructional colleges and representatives of the Alumni Association will be appointed annually by the president to form a Selection Committee. The Selection Committee will be chaired by the provost or a designee.
The Presidential Teaching Professorships were established in 1990 to recognize those outstanding teachers who have demonstrated over time that they
- instill and develop in students an intensity of interest in, and an appreciation for, the value of the subject;
- apply rigorous standards to student performance, inspire students to become the best that they can be, and stimulate student growth;
- command respect and esteem as a teacher rather than merely being popular;
- demonstrate extraordinary commitment to students and their welfare, not only that the nominee is knowledgeable and prepared for class but is available to them outside of class for help with materials, for advising them, for listening to their concerns, and for assisting them with extra-class projects or activities;
- explore and develop effective instructional methods and technologies;
- work actively with students, faculty, and administrators to improve undergraduate and/or graduate education at NIU, and other activities directed toward the improvement of instruction.
Nomination and Selection Process
Nominations may be made by any individual, including the nominee, who is a current or former member of the university community (alumni, faculty, staff, students, administrators). External scholars and practitioners knowledgeable about the nominee’s qualifications may also nominate.
- Nominations will be made in writing to the provost or the provost’s designee, who will forward them to the Selection Committee.
- The Selection Committee will notify the nominees of their nominations.
- Upon notification the nominee, if interested, will prepare a portfolio that will include:
a. a list of references, especially including alumni from whom letters will be solicited;
b. an up-to-date résumé;
c. a brief essay (maximum of 1,000 words) written by the nominee expressing his or her educational philosophy and teaching goals;
d. other information considered relevant by the Selection Committee and requested of all nominees.
- Following an initial screening, the Selection Committee will narrow the number of nominees under consideration to a short list.
- The Selection Committee will survey a random sample of former students selected from the course rosters of those nominees remaining under consideration on questions related to the selection criteria.
- The committee will request further evidence in support of the nomination. Information may include:
a. Additional letters from graduates and other former students, colleagues, administrators, and others in a position to know directly or indirectly that the nominee meets the criteria.
b. Student evaluations from courses taught in the past six years and the evaluation response rate.
c. Indications of impact on students’ personal and professional development.
d. Evidence of service to students outside the classroom, such as advising, working with student organizations, and assistance in attainment of career goals.
e. Creative academic activities within the department, college, or university, including curriculum improvement and assistance to other faculty in improving their teaching.
f. Grants, fellowships, or leaves related to instructional improvement.
g. Previous recognition, such as assignments within the university and membership in honorary organizations, for outstanding teaching and service to students.
h. Publications, lectures, presentations, or public speeches related to instructional improvement or teaching excellence.
- The Selection Committee may recommend to the university president up to two honorees for appointment each year.
Distinguished Teaching Professors
When the Presidential Teaching Professor completes the four-year award period, his/her title will become Distinguished Teaching Professor.