About CASE
U.S. Professors of the Year Fact Sheet

Purpose

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country-those who excel as teachers and influence the lives and careers of their students. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards honoring undergraduate teaching.

Criteria

Extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching, which is demonstrated by excellence in the following areas: impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning; contribution to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession; and support from colleagues and former undergraduate students.

History

In 1981, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education initiated the Professors of the Year program, naming one national winner per year until 1985 when state winners were also named.

In 1994, CASE renamed the award after the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching due to its involvement with pedagogy and scholarship on teaching and its financial support of the award. In that year, the program was restructured to award national winners in four categories based on the Carnegie Foundation's classification of higher education institutions: baccalaureate colleges; community colleges; doctoral and research universities; and master's universities and colleges.

Judging

Competition for the U.S. Professors of the Year takes place in several stages. Each candidate must first be selected from many qualified peers at his or her own institution and nominated for the award. An institution may enter up to three professors. Letters of support and endorsements from former students, colleagues and presidents or academic deans accompany the entries.

CASE assembles the preliminary expert judging panels comprised of deans and professors, education writers, and government, foundation and association representatives. The first panel selects about 100 semifinalists. The second panel determines six finalists in each of the four categories. CASE forwards the finalists' materials to the Carnegie Foundation, which convenes the third and final panel. This panel, which includes a student, a former U.S. Professor of the Year, and education association and campus representatives, selects the national winners and completes the selection of state winners from entries that meet the program's demanding criteria.

Sponsors

The four national winners each receive a $5,000 cash award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. TIAA-CREF, one of America's leading financial services organizations and higher education's premier retirement system, is the principal sponsor for the awards ceremony. Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society, sponsors an evening congressional reception.

CASE also works with higher education associations that participate in administering and promoting the program.

For more information, contact Pam Russell at 202-478-5680 or at russell@case.org.