Excellence In Teaching - Tenure Track Guidelines

In Recognition of Excellence in Teaching

While individual teachers develop their methods independently, we as a community benefit when gifted teachers are recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments. Unlike other teaching awards bestowed on campus, the only criterion for the Tenure-track Excellence in Teaching Award is superior classroom performance. The nominee must maintain a flexible instructional policy that adapts readily to student needs, interests and problems. Mastery of teaching techniques must be demonstrated and substantiated. The successful candidate will receive a plaque and an honorarium of $1,000. Awardees are also honored at the annual Cortland Excels: Honoring Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service awards ceremony, highlighting excellence at SUNY Cortland. Letters of nomination are due by Oct. 24, or the following business day in the event that the due date should fall on a weekend. See below for more nomination information. Self-nominations are ineligible.


Eligibility is open to tenure-track faculty teaching at the graduate or undergraduate level who carry a tenure-track teaching load as defined by SUNY Cortland, and have completed at least four semesters of teaching at SUNY Cortland prior to the year of nomination. There will be a two-year waiting period before an unsuccessful candidate may be nominated again.


Criteria for Selection

The sole criterion for the Excellence In Teaching Award is skill in teaching. In the selection of persons for this award, the following criteria will be considered:

  • There must be positive evidence that the candidate performs superbly in the classroom.
  • The nominee must maintain a flexible instructional style that adapts readily to student needs, interests, and problems.
  • Consideration will be given to the number of students per course and different teaching techniques employed in various courses.
  • Candidates must set high standards for students and help them attain academic excellence. Quantity and quality of work must be required of the students.
  • Candidates must work actively with individual students to help them improve their scholarly and/or artistic performance.
  • Consideration will be given to the quality, quantity, and difficulty of the tasks or work assigned to students.
  • The Faculty Development Committee uses a Teaching Observation Checklist to evaluate nominees. 

Selection Process

Nominations for these awards can arise from faculty, students, and administration based on continuing and recognized teaching quality. Names of potential candidates will be sought through a campus-wide email announcement. The Faculty Development Committee will receive the nominations and form the selection committee.

  1. Letters of nomination must be sent no later than Oct. 24 to the Faculty Development Center, Cornish Hall, Room 1307, or via email to Betsy Barylski.
  2. The director will contact each nominee to inquire whether he or she is interested in being considered and will provide each potential candidate a list of materials that must be submitted. Materials for nominees are due on March 15 or the following business day in the event the due date should fall on a weekend.
  3. Committee members will make two classroom observations: once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester at the convenience of the nominee. 
  4. The committee will complete deliberations in early April and all candidates will be notified of the outcome immediately.

Documentation Required of Candidates

NB: Nominees will not be considered unless all documentation is provided to the Faculty Development Office in the approved form by the deadline.
Nominees will be notified by Oct. 30 and asked to provide the following supporting evidence by March 15 or the following business day in the event the due date should fall on a weekend. Please organize your folder with each section clearly identified, place the folder on OneDrive and send the link to your folder to the Faculty Development Center, Attention - Betsy Barylski.

  1. Syllabi.
  2. Statement of Teaching Philosophy of no more than two pages.
  3. Supporting evidence that documents the effectiveness of their techniques. Evidence can include, but is not limited to: teaching materials; student work and/or evaluations that target the specific category for which the nomination has been made; and/or students’ statements on how the nominee’s work in the targeted category has impacted their learning.
  4. A minimum of two years CTEs.
  5. A copy of the candidate’s teaching schedule, including any classes that would not be relevant to the evaluation of his or her teaching (e.g., exams, videotapes). Note: the Selection Committee may obtain grade distributions for review.
  6. A letter of support from either the appropriate Chair or Dean.