The Teaching Excellence Award Program celebrates the role of teaching at Millikin by recognizing and rewarding teaching excellence and innovation in each academic division. Faculty are eligible to present a portfolio application after three years of teaching at Millikin. Recipients receive merit compensation to commemorate their exemplary contributions to teaching and student learning.

Program Goals

The specific purpose is multifaceted and includes the goals to:

  • refocus the campus on the university mission and university wide teaching goals that drive the student learning process;
  • increase awareness of what constitutes teaching excellence at Millikin University; encourage faculty to strive to meet these standards of excellence;
  • reward faculty who exemplify teaching excellence;
  • enhance faculty salaries in ways that help us recruit and retain excellent teachers.

A Teaching Excellence Award will be available for presentation to one faculty member from each academic division each year.

Defining Teaching Excellence

At Millikin, our mission and University-wide learning goals show that we prepare students for: Professional success, Democratic citizenship in a global environment, And a personal life of meaning and value. The underpinning of these learning goals is the offering of an educational experience that integrates the traditional liberal arts and the practical arts of the professions. Our students discover and pursue their full potential, personally and professionally, to do well and to do good. Their discovery is theory and practice driven, guided by faculty and staff, within an inclusive and broadly accessible learning community.

The overarching vision guiding Millikin University is to be recognized as a distinctive Midwestern university where:

  • Theory, practice, and reflection guide our curriculum.
  • Integrated learning, collaborative learning, and engaged learning dominate our culture.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and administrators are engaged and stimulated.

The Millikin University faculty crafted the current Millikin Program of Student Learning (MPSL) to advance the mission and vision of the institution. The MPSL codifies three University-wide teaching goals that cut across all academic units:

  • Integration of theory and practice
  • Student reflection
  • Building an engaged community of diverse learners with opportunities for collaboration.

To accomplish these teaching goals, faculty are expected to focus on learner-centered education, characterized by integrated learning, collaborative learning, and engaged learning – in class, outside of class, in co-curricular activities, around town, and around the world.

The following framework for defining teaching excellence at Millikin University was constructed by integrating Millikin’s University-wide student learning goals, University wide teaching goals and learning centered education. The information below is not inclusive but exemplifies ideas and practices that can be employed to facilitate student learning, thus demonstrating teaching excellence.

Millikin University Criteria for Excellence in Teaching

  1. Integration of Theory & Practice: application of complex concepts to practice, designed to help prepare students for professional success. Examples included, but are not limited to, projects involving integrative problem solving skills development; peer mentoring; research projects; theory based creative expressions; hands-on activities relevant to the world-of-work, and theory development. Could include service learning, or other off campus organized experiential learning project or activities.
  2. Student Reflection: application of ethical frameworks; active demonstration of learning from the students. Gives students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned and how they can apply what they have learned to promote better future outcomes for themselves and others.
  3. Collaborative Learning Experiences: Learning that requires cooperation, team work, and, often leadership development. Could take place in classroom exercises, course projects, or through internships and independent studies that place students in collaborative relationships within professional or organizational settings. May involve interdisciplinary work.
  4. Experiential Learning Components: Activities that focus on learning through actively experiencing work within the discipline (e.g., giving a speech, writing a poem, conducting an experiment, throwing a pot, conversing in a foreign language, etc). (May involve application of theory and practice, but may also take place at fundamental skill development level).
  5. Infusion of Multicultural and/or Global Experiences: (domestic or international): May include the infusion of multicultural/global/international content in curriculum, the inclusion of experiential learning activities designed to promote greater awareness of multicultural/global issues and increased multicultural understandings, and class trips, immersions, or study abroad.
  6. Innovative Curriculum & Instruction: Demonstrated interest in improving teaching and learning curriculum redesign, new approaches to course delivery, innovative learning opportunities for students, advanced technology applications. This may be also be evident through the scholarship of teaching and research projects designed to answer important questions about teaching effectiveness.

Teaching Excellence Award Details & Eligibility

All who have completed a minimum of three years of full time faculty service at Millikin University are eligible to apply for the Teaching Excellence Award. Previous award recipients are eligible to apply after a minimum of three years has past since they received prior awards.

Application Process

All TEA applicants are required to prepare a portfolio that provides a comprehensive snapshot of their teaching philosophy and practices.

Portfolios should be turned in to the Dean of Teaching and Learning.

Obligations of Recipients

TEA recipients form the TEA Selection Committee for the next year. They also are expected to serve as a mentor for new or junior faculty members for the following academic year, and to provide classroom observations when requested by their colleagues.

TEA Portfolio Contents

The portfolio should speak to the Millikin University criteria for teaching excellence and reflect the last 3 years of teaching. The portfolio should include a Cover Letter and the following information:

Teaching Contributions: Faculty workload (table of courses taught and enrollment), roles & responsibilities, club sponsorship, practical & off-campus experiences, immersions, quantity & quality advising

Course Syllabi: Include all courses, highlighting those that best represent Millikin University’s teaching excellence criteria and student learning

Teaching Materials: Include examples projects, classroom activities, etc. that are effective in facilitating student learning

Evidence of Student Learning: Could showcase samples of student engagement, student projects, application of knowledge, videos, learning outcome measures, etc.

Evidence of Collaborative Applied, Research, and Artistic Works with Students: Conference participation, join exhibits, performances, project mentoring

Evaluations: Must include Dean, Chair, and summary Student Evaluations, highlights key results or written comments. May also include peer, Alumni, or community partner evaluations/comments

Scholarship of Teaching: Include copy of manuscript

Teaching Awards: List all awards related to teaching and advising, including awards for training or teaching other teachers

Course & Curriculum Development: Show impact on curriculum development and revision, tying activity back to development learning goals, university learning goals, and university teaching goals

Improvements in Instructional Practices: Describe and provide evidence of new teaching methods, innovative educational technology practices, mentoring, etc.

Portfolio Evaluation Rubric

An evaluation rubric has been designed to evaluate the various components of the teaching portfolio. The rubric is based on a 4 point scale with 6 main objectives. The rubric focuses on how well the teacher meets the criteria for excellence of teaching at Millikin University, the University-wide teaching and student learning goals. An additional focus is placed on the integration of theory and practice as well as student centered learning.

Evaluation Committee

The Awards of Excellence in Teaching Program Committee will be initially comprised of the Deans of each college and the Dean of Teaching and Learning. In subsequent years, the members of the faculty that receive the Awards of Excellence in Teaching will then become the Awards Committee and have the opportunity to serve as a mentor for new or junior faculty members for the following academic year.