Policy Number: E12.1
EISENHART AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING TEACHING AND RICHARD AND VIRGINIA EISENHART PROVOST’S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
Scope: Full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty at RIT
The effectiveness of any institution of higher learning is largely due to the quality of its teaching. RIT established an annual award, the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching, in 1965 to recognize excellence in teaching. In 1975, to give added distinction and permanence to the award, an endowment fund honoring the late M. Herbert and Elsa Bausch Eisenhart was established. The fund supports up to four awards annually for outstanding teaching. In 1981 the award process was further enhanced by placing even greater emphasis on teaching effectiveness.
Mr. Eisenhart served on RIT’s Board of Trustees for more than 50 years and was the former president and chairman of the board of Bausch and Lomb, Inc. Mrs. Eisenhart was a granddaughter of John J. Bausch, one of the founders of Bausch and Lomb. In 1972 Mr. Eisenhart received the Founder’s Award, the university’s highest award.
Richard H. Eisenhart, the son of M. Herbert and Elsa Bausch Eisenhart and a member of RIT’s Board of Trustees for nearly 40 years, and his wife, Virginia, carried on the historic family relationship with RIT by endowing the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
These awards recognize the fundamental importance of the quality of teaching to the value of the education process, support faculty in their pursuit of excellence in teaching and leadership in the campus community, assist the university in nurturing the academic climate that fosters teaching at its best, and enhance teaching as a profession.
I. Partition of the Awards
Because of the diversified educational nature of RIT, where science, technology, humanities and behavioral disciplines all contribute equally to the educational development of students, four Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching may be assigned annually, one in each of four groups of faculty. The groupings can be found on the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching website.
One Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching may be awarded annually to a tenure-track faculty with three or less teaching experience at RIT by June 30 of the year previous to the year in which the award is given.
The primary honor accorded each recipient is the campus-wide recognition of his or her outstanding teaching, celebrated in spring term and at the Academic Convocation in May. Each recipient of the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching shall receive a framed certificate of the award, a specially designed Eisenhart Award insignia, an engraved medallion, and a taxable cash award. The recipient of the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching shall receive a framed certificate of the award and a taxable cash award.
IV. Criteria for Awards
V. Presentation of Awards
Recognition of the award recipients shall be at the Academic Convocation with the participation of the university academic and administrative bodies, faculty and students. A recognition event will be hosted by the provost and the Academic Senate to honor the award recipients.
VI. Overall Structure of the Selection Process
The nominations process begins formally on the first day and ends on the last day of the spring semester prior to the academic year during which the evaulation takes place. For each of the four groups (Section I), there shall be a nomination committee of faculty members and students from that group. In addition, one faculty member from another college shall be appointed to each nomination committee by the Academic Senate.
Each nomination committee shall evaluate the faculty members in their group and recommend at most one nominee for the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching and one nominee for the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching to the Awards Committee for final evaluation. In any given year, a nomination committee may decide not to recommend any faculty member for either or both awards to the Awards Committee. In such an event, the decision of the nomination committee shall be final.
The Awards Committee shall review each nominee’s documentation and evaluation, as presented by a nomination committee.
The decisions of the Awards Committee are final.
The selection process shall be overseen by the Eisenhart Awards coordinator.
VII. Organization and Selection of Nomination Committees
The purpose of the coordinator of the Eisenhart Awards is to ensure that the selection process is carried out in a timely and unbiased manner. The coordinator is to act as the overseer of the entire process, ensure the procedural calendar is adhered to, and render decisions of an interpretive nature pertaining to the process. To discharge the duties of this office, the coordinator shall:
- Be thoroughly familiar with the policies and guidelines for the selection of the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching as contained herein.
- Chair the orientation meeting called for in the procedural calendar.
- Make the RIT community aware of the commencement of the selection process by, but not restricted to, memo to the deans for dissemination to the faculty, public notice in student and alumni publications, and announcements to the Academic Senate. This procedure shall occur so that all interested parties shall have time to recommend candidates to the nomination committees before the end of the spring semester, as provided for in the procedural guidelines.
- Because of the diverse nature of RIT, questions regarding a candidate’s eligibility, the nomination committee having jurisdiction, etc., may arise from time to time. In the event that these questions on these policies cannot be resolved, the coordinator shall consider the matter and render a decision based on an interpretation of these policies and the intended spirit of the award. In matters of this nature, the coordinator shall seek the advice and counsel of the chairs of the immediate past years’ nomination committees.
- Be available to all nomination committees and the Awards Committee to explain policy and procedure, give interpretations, and provide general direction, guidance and assistance.
VIII. Charge to the Nomination Committee
The purpose of each nomination committee is to seek out the most outstanding teacher for both the Eisenhart Awards for Outstanding Teaching and the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in the group that they represent.
To ensure that the search is as fair and unbiased as possible, each committee shall strive to obtain its information from sources other than the candidate or sources provided by the candidate. There may, of course, be exceptions: e.g., a resume, a course outline, etc. However, the spirit of the search is to be as impartial as possible, the responsibility for collecting information resting with the committee.
In its efforts to find the most outstanding teacher, each committee shall accept and evaluate candidates without discrimination, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on gender, age, religion, race, nationality or sexual orientation:
IX. Organization of the Awards Committee
X. Charge to the Awards Committee
The purpose of the Awards Committee is to review the activities of each nomination committee to assure that fairness and impartiality have been maintained by the nomination committee in its evaluation, and to review the documentation on each candidate for each award presented to the Awards Committee to assure that the high standards of excellence in teaching have been obtained.
To discharge its responsibility, the Awards Committee shall:
Any material solicited from a candidate shall be returned immediately after the public presentation of the award. Any material obtained from sources other than the candidate becomes the property of the nomination committee and may be saved, returned to the original contributor or destroyed, at the direction of the nomination committee.
All materials collected by a nomination committee are to be held in strictest confidence. In no way, and under no circumstances, should the right to confidentiality of an individual faculty member, a department or a college be breached. The confidentiality of material shall include, but is not limited to, student evaluations, dean and/or department head/director evaluations, evaluations resulting from classroom visits, and discussions and/or the synopsis thereof held with students, faculty, deans and department heads/chairs, and members of the RIT community. Further, the deliberations of the nominations committee and the Awards Committee are also to be held in strict confidence. However, materials may be used in preparation of materials used in the award celebrations.
XIII. Review of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines
Because of the ever changing and growing nature of RIT, these policies and guidelines may need review and revision from time to time. To ensure that any concerns that may arise are addressed on a timely basis, commencing in 1985 and every five years thereafter, the chair of the Academic Senate will appoint an ad hoc committee to review the entire process and consider any suggestions forwarded to the Academic Senate. If the ad hoc committee concludes that revision is desirable, they shall draft a proposal for submission to Academic Senate. If the proposal is approved by the Academic Senate, it shall be forwarded to the provost for final approval by the president.
Responsible Party: Academic Senate. Inquiries can be directed to:
Effective Date: Approved February 5, 1965
Revised September 2006
Revised May 7, 2009
Revised May 20, 2010
Edited September 2010
Revised October 4, 2012: Combined this award process with the process for the Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s award for Excellence in Teaching, removed the groupings of colleges and time line.
Revised May 8, 2014 – sections III.A.3, III.B.1, III.B.3, IV.A.1, VII.D, X.D, and X.E.