Excellence in Online Teaching Award

The Excellence in Online Teaching Award (EOTA) encourages and honors outstanding online and hybrid teaching at NIU. It recognizes NIU faculty and instructors whose performance exemplifies a commitment to excellence in online teaching, course development and student engagement.

Nominations are submitted to the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) for consideration by a review panel comprised of a subcommittee of members of the Innovative Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee (ITLAC), Online Learning Advisory Council (OLAC) and past award winners, chaired by the executive director of CITL. This review committee will select the award recipient(s).

The recipient(s) of this award shall receive a plaque and a $2,000 one-time stipend. All recipients shall be required to present a campus-wide seminar describing their approach to online teaching, with emphasis on teaching philosophy and innovative pedagogical approaches.

If you have any questions about the award or nomination process, contact Jason Rhode, executive director of CITL, at jrhode@niu.edu.

2021 Award Winners

Stephanie Despain

Department of Special and Early Education

Furkan Gur

Department of Management

Christine Nguyen

Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Criteria and Eligibility

Nominees for the Excellence in Online Teaching Award (EOTA) should demonstrate:

  • Exceptional effort to ensure the quality of the students' online learning environment.
  • High standards for the rigor and currency of course content and the level of student performance.
  • Innovation in online course development and delivery of for-credit courses.
  • Direct and significant impact upon the involvement with online students.
  • Demonstrated dedication to enhancing online teaching skills, improving online curriculum and/or advancing research opportunities in the area of online education.
  • Evidence that the candidate's contributions have enhanced effectiveness in the online learning environment.

Examples of online teaching excellence include following NIU online course design essentials in online course development and online teaching principles for success in online course delivery.

All those who teach online or hybrid courses (tenured and tenure-track faculty members, instructors, and teaching staff) are eligible. There is no limit as to the number of nominees from any department/program or college. Self-nominations are allowed and encouraged.

An individual can only receive the EOTA once. Members of CITL are not eligible.

Excellence in Online Teaching Rubric


Date Activity
Jan. 31, 2022 Nominations due to CITL
March 11, 2022 Applicants and chairs notified of the results
April 21, 2022 Awards presented at the Faculty Awards Ceremony

Nomination Form and Process

Following the instructions completely will ensure consideration of the nomination.

The nominator shall submit the cover sheet, nomination form, and complete the submission packet by email to citl@niu.edu. The submission packet will include evidence that the nominee meets the criteria, as well as:

  • A one-page summary of the online courses taught that includes the semester, location and enrollment
  • Evidence of teaching effectiveness, including a clear summary of teaching evaluations and/or observations for online courses only.
  • Three letters of support*
  • Nominee's vita.

*One letter shall be written by a current or former online student. The second letter shall be from a current or emeritus faculty member (tenure-track faculty or instructor), preferably from within the nominee's college. The third letter must be from a peer evaluator who can comment on online course delivery and development. This could be a faculty colleague, chair, or perhaps CITL staff member whom the nominee has worked with. The letters of support each shall not exceed two single-sided pages.

The award criteria can be addressed on separate pages for each criterion or within the letters of support. Please be certain that the nomination materials, particularly the three letters, address the criteria.