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About the Program
The teaching faculty is the College's greatest resource. Accordingly, three outstanding educators from the accredited B.F.A./M.F.A. programs are recognized each year for their commitment to Otis, their clear, effective teaching, and their ability to respond to a diverse student body.
While there is no one way to be an outstanding teacher, each award is defined by a set of criteria meant to govern its nominations and selection.
The Distinguished Educator Award is presented to a longstanding member of the teaching and/or teaching/administrative community who has demonstrated a sustained ability to:
- Incite curiosity in, motivate, and enhance the success of students
- Inspire and earn the admiration of departmental colleagues
- Create a lasting and gratifying impression of an extraordinary educator.
The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to one full-time faculty/department administrator and one adjunct/part-time faculty member who consistently:
- Communicates a thorough knowledge of and enthusiasm for the relevant field or subject
- Presents that knowledge coherently and connects it with other allied fields or subjects
- Challenges students and increases their capacity for independent thought
- Transforms, enhances, or innovates teaching methodology and practice.
Distinguished Educator Award: All faculty members and department/program administrators who teach and who have served in either or both capacities for a minimum of ten academic years with a demonstrated record of teaching excellence and/or applied teaching scholarship.
Excellence in Teaching Awards: Full-time faculty members and department/program administrators who teach and who have served in that capacity for a minimum of three consecutive academic years. Adjunct/part-time faculty members who have taught one or more courses over a minimum of three consecutive academic years.
Past recipients of an Otis teaching award (within five years) are not eligible.
Students, faculty, academic program directors, assistant/associate chairs, and department chairs may login once to nominate one candidate for the Distinguished Educator Award and two for Excellence in Teaching Awards. Alumni may nominate for the Distinguished Educator Award. Award criteria are considered in the nomination process, and the reason for each nomination is stated.
A Call for Nominations is announced here each February, and a survey link is posted.
See written comments submitted with the Teaching Excellence Awards nominations.
A committee of Academic Assembly members including Department Administrators, Full-Time and Part-Time/Adjunct Faculty from Liberal Studies, Studio, Fine Arts, Design, Graduate and Undergraduate programs, along with the prior year’s award recipients, is convened by the Vice Provost. The Selections Committee considers four primary factors:
- awards criteria
- student evaluations of teaching
- number of and reasons for nominations received
- confluence of nominating constituencies (i.e. students, faculty, etc.)
Such selections are complex, and every effort is made to consider all factors that may assist in achieving equitable results.
Recognition and Celebration
Distinguished Educator Award recipients receive $2,500, are featured in an article in O MAG, and honored at the annual Convocation. Concurrently, the recipient will receive the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce Eddy Award for Excellence in Education and attend its annual Teacher Recognition Dinner with a group of friends and colleagues.
Award recipients may be called upon to contribute their expertise in College forums focused on matters of teaching and related best practices.