Teaching Awards Candidate Packet Preparation / Review Information

Below, we provide packet preparation guidelines and requirements. Using a standardized packet format ensures consistency that aids reviewers and candidates. We recommend sharing the evaluation rubric with the candidates so they know what reviewers will expect.

All candidate packets should include the following:

  1. Teaching Philosophy – 1 page maximum

    A teaching philosophy describes why the teacher does what they do in their courses; it is more than a statement of beliefs about teaching and learning.

  2. Biographical Sketch – 2 pages maximum

    Appointments (reverse chronological order)

    Evidence of Growth and Development as an Instructor (listed items should demonstrate contributions to the Penn State teaching and learning community and beyond).

  3. Letters of Support – 6 pages total

    1. Current Undergraduate Student Letters (3 students, 1 page each)

      Current undergraduate students are those who have taken an undergraduate course with the candidate during the previous two years, inclusive of students that have graduated. Letters from students who have only served as a learning assistant, undergraduate TA, graduate TA, or research advisee are not appropriate.

    2. Former Undergraduate Student Letter (1 student, 1 page)

      Each candidate is limited to only 1 letter from a former undergraduate student. A former undergraduate student is one who took an undergraduate course at Penn State from the instructor more than two years ago, inclusive of students who have not yet graduated. Letters from graduate students are only appropriate if they took a course with the instructor as an undergraduate.

    3. Head, Director, or Colleague Letter (1 letter, 1 page)

      The letter writer must have observed the instructor in an undergraduate course (in person or online) in order to provide specific examples and a strong rationale for the candidate as an extraordinary teacher. The letter should be original, not a repurposed peer evaluation letter.

    4. Campus or College Letter (1 letter, 1 page)

      This letter should describe why the campus or college supports this candidate, but need not provide an executive summary of the candidate packet. The letter writer may be a department or division head, program director, associate dean, director of academic affairs, dean, or chancellor.

  4. SRTE Summary Table

    Include only undergraduate courses (000, 100, 200, 300, 400-level). Please use the SRTE table template.

  5. Syllabus

    One (1) sample syllabus. Copy a course document; no modification or explanatory text is necessary.

  6. Assignment

    One (1) sample assignment. Copy a course document; no modification or explanatory text is necessary.