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President's Award for Teaching Excellence

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Unanimously approved by COLT 10/4/01
Passed with minor changes at Provost's Council 11/14/01
Approved by President's Council 11/26/01
This edit: 12-15-14

President's Award for Teaching Excellence (PATE)

Introduction and Rationale

SUNY Oswego is committed to providing its students with a learning-centered environment in which the focus is squarely on providing excellent learning and growth opportunities for our students.  This commitment to educational excellence requires that truly exceptional teachers are recognized, celebrated, and rewarded for their contributions to the learning environment. The President's Award for Teaching Excellence (PATE) is an annual award granted to a full-time faculty member whose sustained outstanding performance in teaching demonstrates an appreciation for the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and passionate work ethic associated with exceptional teaching. 

The focus of the PATE is on teaching that has consistently served to enhance and promote student learning at SUNY Oswego.  Extraordinary learning-centered activities take place both in and outside the classroom setting. As such, truly effective teaching may include mentoring in research, and creative collaboration in such contexts as laboratories, studios, internships, service learning experiences and practica, as well as facilitating student learning in the classroom. The creation of methods and materials that support student learning in other ways will also be considered.

Recognition Associated with the Award

The award recipient will be honored at the annual Academic Affairs Retreat, and will receive an appropriate symbol of the honor (e.g., a plaque) and an appropriate monetary award (e.g., $1,000).


The PATE is intended to annually recognize one full-time faculty member who has demonstrated extraordinary and sustained success in fostering student learning, thereby enhancing the collective learning environment at SUNY Oswego.  To be eligible for the award individuals must be full-time faculty who have taught at least six (6) credits of courses each semester for at least two consecutive years at SUNY Oswego.

Guidelines for Application

The PATE process involves contributions from a nominator as well as the nominee. Nominators should consult nominees to determine their willingness to proceed in the process before informing the Assistant Provost of the nomination. The following points detail the specific duties for the nominator and nominee.

Nominator Responsibilities:

The PATE nomination may come from any faculty member familiar with the teaching ability of the nominee. The nominator is responsible for soliciting and collecting support documentation for the nominee. The nominator should work with the nominee to develop the list of potential individuals to contact for support documentation. Necessary supporting letters include:

·         Required: minimum two letters of recommendation from current and/or former students. Such support materials should focus on the nominee's exceptionally effective teaching and mentoring, and on the impact that these have had on their development as students and professionals. More documents are acceptable, but emphasis should be placed on gathering letters that relate specifics rather than generalities.

·         Required: support statement from appropriate chair(s)/director(s) who can place the accomplishments of the individual in the proper departmental/programmatic context.

·         Additional support from colleagues, above and beyond those indicated below for "collegial visits," may be included, presuming these speak to specific aspects of the nominee's capabilities as a teacher.

Nominee Responsibilities:

The process has been revised to try to allow the nominee to demonstrate their qualification for the PATE without placing an unwanted burden on her or him in the application process. All application packages are expected to include the following components. 

1. Cover Letter

Include a 1-2 page statement that summarizes major qualifications and courses taught. Highlight any accomplishments and factors on which the committee should focus during their evaluation. 

2. Current curriculum vitae

Include a maximum 3-page condensed professional c.v.

3. Evidence for Teaching Effectiveness 
The results from standardized student evaluations are important, but only as a first cut*. Although it is expected that an outstanding teacher will have evaluation scores that rate highly among peers, many other factors provide clearer indication of effectiveness in teaching, including:

·         A focus on student learning as evidenced by the use of quality assessments, innovative methodologies, and materials that reflect best practices in learning and teaching. Relevant examples of these should be included.

·         Evidence of excellent student learning outcomes (e.g., student work with instructor comments).

·         Collegial observations of effectiveness in promoting student learning. In particular commentary from colleagues that speak specifically to effectiveness rather than more intangible aspects of classroom conduct. Further adding value are letters of support from colleagues who themselves have taken an active role in the scholarship of learning and teaching.

* All nominees are expected to submit fully representative samples of departmentally approved student evaluations of teaching. This includes numerical data as well as written comments.

4. Other Contributions to Excellence in Student Learning
This may be evidenced by such things as:

·         Effective design and/or implementation of new programs and/or courses.

·         Creation of effective curricular material.

·         Creation of effective learning and teaching activities.

·         Contributions to the scholarship of learning (e.g., publication in relevant journals).

·         Effective mentoring/modeling for the larger learning/teaching community.

·         Invited presentations on teaching methodologies or similar developments.

·         Evidence of impact or leadership in the teaching profession.

·         External validation of such contributions through awards, certifications, etc.


A faculty member can be nominated for the PATE at any time. The contributions of the nominator and nominee must be received by the office of the Assistant Provost, 702 Culkin Hall, by the first Monday in February.

nomination form