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USDA Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences

The USDA National Awards for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and APLU. The program generates nominations from a large spectrum of departments in agriculture, natural resources, veterinary science, and human sciences. In addition to six regional awards, a selection committee of nationally recognized teachers and scholars chooses two national recipients and two new teacher awards. The nominees are evaluated on the basis of their ability as classroom teachers, use of innovative teaching methodology, service to students and their profession, and scholarship. Awards are announced each year at APLU's annual meeting held in November.

  • Levels of Awards 

    National
    A recipient selected from the pool of potential Regional award recipients, from any of the four regions, and deemed by the review panel to exhibit sustained, meritorious and exceptional teaching, as defined in this section. While a sustained pattern of exceptional activity is expected, this award does not recognize teaching longevity so much as it recognizes the quality of recent achievements involving teaching philosophy, methodology, and self-assessment aimed at improvement.  National recipients are also expected to demonstrate these attributes broadly within the academic community outside of the nominee’s home institution.

    Regional
    A teacher selected from any of the four regions, deemed by the review panel to exhibit sustained and meritorious teaching, and who has maintained at least eight consecutive years experience in higher education teaching, as defined in this section. While a sustained pattern of meritorious activity is expected, this award does not recognize teaching longevity so much as it recognizes the quality of recent achievements involving teaching philosophy, methodology, and self-assessment aimed at improvement.

    New Teacher
    A teacher selected from any of the four regions, who has demonstrated a commitment to a career in teaching and is deemed by the review panel to exhibit meritorious teaching, but who has no more than seven consecutive years experience in higher education teaching, as defined in this section. The “no more than seven consecutive years experience” should be limited to ranked faculty positions, and not include Teaching Assistant or instructor/lecturer positions.

    Teaching and Student Engagement 

    A teacher selected from any of the four regions who has more than seven years of experience in higher education teaching, as defined by this section, and is deemed by the review panel to exhibit meritorious teaching and significant levels of student engagement in formal and non-formal settings.  Individuals in this category would be those whose appointment is either entirely teaching and advising or has a very high teaching component (at least 75 percent) and for whom research responsibilities would be minimal.  Universities are likely to use differing terminology but Instructors, Lecturers, Professors of Practice or similar terminology may apply.  Some universities may use the conventional Professor rank names but the assignment would be very high in the teaching category.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  • Past Winners and University Honor Roll 
  • Resources 

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