New faculty award recognizes great teaching

A new faculty award will recognize excellence in teaching and build a campus community of experts in student learning. Up to five Iowa State faculty members could be named Morrill Professors when the title is awarded for the first time next spring. The nomination process is under way now.

"We're really excited about this award," said associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince. "It's high-level recognition, on par with the Distinguished Professor and University Professor awards, for individuals who are outstanding teachers."

She noted that Distinguished Professors are honored for research excellence and University Professors are noted for being change agents in their service to Iowa State. The "missing component" in that lineup is recognition for accomplished teaching, she said.

Faculty members who are full professors, have worked at Iowa State at least five years and who excel at teaching are eligible nominees for the Morrill professorship. Their work could focus on undergraduate, graduate or extension/outreach programs. The excellence for which they are nominated could be in areas such as effectiveness in facilitating learning; scholarship of teaching and learning; service; activities and innovations.

As with the Distinguished and University Professor awards, Morrill Professors keep the title for as long as they remain at Iowa State, and receive an increase to their base salaries. In 2013, that base increase will be $6,000, identical to that for University Professors.

Morrill Academy

Morrill Professors also become members in the new Morrill Academy for Teaching and Learning. As members, they are part of a community of experts and will be called upon to promote teaching and learning and to share their expertise. Bratsch-Prince said examples of what those responsibilities might be still are being discussed, but includes reviewing future Morrill Professor nominations.


As with Distinguished and University Professor awards, nominations for the Morrill Professorship originate in departments and clear a review by college awards committees before being forwarded to the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. That final deadline is Feb. 20, 2013; college deadlines vary from Nov. 20 to Feb. 1. Nomination instructions are online.

The Morrill Professorship had its genesis in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (2008) and later the Faculty Senate, which gave its approval to the award last November. Senators proposed the title to reflect both the 1862 act that led to the establishment of Iowa State as the nation's first land-grant school and the land-grant ideals of practical learning and accessibility.