The Yale College Faculty awards five prizes annually for excellence in undergraduate teaching to instructors who have been nominated by students, departments, and programs, and recommended by the Teaching, Learning, and Advising Committee.
Three first three prizes, created in 1981, are awarded to ladder faculty in Yale College who have taught at Yale for three years:
The Yale College-Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Excellence in the Humanities
The Lex Hixon '63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences
The Dylan Hixon '88 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences
The fourth prize, created in 1989 and renamed in 2004 in honor of former Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead, is awarded to an instructor who has held the title of Lecturer, Lector, Senior Lecturer, Senior Lector, or Adjunct Professor for at least three years:
The Richard H. Brodhead '68 Teaching Prize for Teaching Excellence by a Lector or a Lecturer
The fifth prize, established in 1993 by an anonymous alumnus in the Class of 1942, is awarded to "a teacher in Yale College who has given the most time, energy, and effective effort to helping undergraduates learn."
The Harwood F. Byrnes / Richard B. Sewall Teaching Prize
The Teaching, Learning, and Advising Committee regards this as an award to be given to a "towering figure" in undergraduate education, someone who over a long period of service has inspired a great number of students and consistently fostered the learning process both inside and outside the classroom.
Prize Teaching Fellowships are awarded to recognize outstanding performance and promise as a teacher. They are considered among the most important honors that Yale bestows upon graduate students.
Based on the nominations from undergraduate students and faculty, Prize Teaching Fellowships for graduate students in good standing in Ph. D. programs who have served as Teaching Fellows or Part-Time Acting Instructors are awarded jointly through the offices of the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Yale College. Each April, selection is made by a committee made up of Directors of Undergraduate Studies and Directors of Graduate Studies from each of the three divisions (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences), the Assistant Director of the Teaching Fellow Program, and an Associate Dean of Yale College.
The winners of Prize Teaching Fellowships receive a cash prize of $3000, to be awarded in the spring.
The number of Prize Teaching Fellowships is not strictly capped, but is expected in any given year to lie between ten and fifteen.
Prize Fellowship winners who wish to teach next year should consult with the DUS or chair of their department, or the DUS or chair of the department in which they wish to teach, as soon as possible after receiving notification of the award. For those Prize Fellowship winners who wish to teach as section leaders, early consultation will ensure priority in the processes of deliberation by which these assignments are made in their department.
In some departments, it may be possible to offer an independent course. Prize Teaching Fellowship winners interested in this option should be in contact as soon as possible after receiving their award letter with the chair or DUS of the department in which they seek to offer such a course. Such consultation will make clear whether that possibility exists within the curriculum of the program with which they are affiliated and will help them to develop a course suited to the program's needs in the following year. Both the DUS and the Yale College Course of Study Committee must approve any new courses.
Teaching stipends for courses taught by Prize Teaching Fellowship winners will be paid at the levels set for those forms of instruction for a given year and will be disbursed in accordance to the normal schedule of payment for those ranks.
Those selected as Prize Teaching Fellows will be honored at a dinner in the fall, hosted by the Dean of the Graduate School and the Dean of Yale College.
The Nomination Process
Nominations may be made through this website.
Nominations should be as detailed and specific as possible and include the full name of the graduate student being nominated, the title and number of the course the graduate student taught, the semester in which the course was taught, and the full name of the person making the nomination.
Students in Yale College may nominate any graduate student enrolled in a Ph.D. program whom they had as a Teaching Fellow (TF) or Part-Time Acting Instructor (PTAI) in an undergraduate course in either the fall or spring term, 2021-22.
Nominations need not be long, but they should say how a TF or PTAI has excelled as an instructor rather than express general expressions of enthusiasm. This is not a popularity contest or an election in which the determination is made merely on the number of nominations received. The selection committee reads the letters of nomination and pays attention to the quality rather than just the quantity of information it receives.
Twice a year, at the end of the fall term and in the middle of the spring term, the Yale College Dean's Office will invite nominations by e-mailing all Yale College students and posting notices in the residential colleges weekly newsletters. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, graduate student instructors should not solicit their students for nominations but, if asked by undergraduates how to go about making a nomination, should instead refer them to this website.
Letters of nomination must include the full name of the person writing the letter, the full name of the graduate student being nominated for the Prize Teaching Fellowship, and the name or number of the course in which the graduate student taught and the term (fall or spring) in which it was offered. Undergraduates writing letters of nomination should include information about their own class year and residential college.
The deadline for receipt of letters of nomination is noon on March 28, 2022.
Once student nominations have been received and sorted, the selection committee will contact relevant departments and seek supporting information from the faculty member in charge of the course with which the TF or PTAI was affiliated, or as relevant, the DUS, DGS, Chair, or other departmental officer of the program sponsoring the course. These additional materials help the selection committee make its final choices from among those nominated by undergraduates.