Proposal to establish the University of Iowa Academy of Distinguished Teachers


The Academy of Distinguished Teachers (ADT) will be a representative body of outstanding scholar-teachers throughout the University of Iowa. Its primary mission will be to honor and promote teaching excellence at the University of Iowa and to help strengthen the resources necessary to do so, in accordance with the Universityís Strategic Plan.   


Although every year the University of Iowa recognizes teaching excellence through various awards, the collective significance of these awards for the mission of teaching within the institution is not always sufficiently acknowledged; at best such acknowledgment is isolated or momentary.  The Academy of Distinguished Teachers will institutionalize recognition of outstanding teaching by providing a mechanism to bring together those whose teaching has distinguished itself across the Colleges. 


The Academyís goals will be to: 

-celebrate, enhance, and strengthen the quality of teaching at the University of Iowa,

-foster multiple ways in which faculty integrate teaching, scholarship, and service,

-demonstrate both within the institution and to the larger community the importance placed on effective teaching at the University of Iowa,

-promote appreciation for the complex and dynamic nature of teaching and learning,

-provide an ongoing forum for fostering, recognizing, and rewarding excellence in teaching. 

Benefits for Members 

Every year the ADT will present each new member with a certificate of membership in an annual recognition dinner funded by the Provost with Academy members, President, Provost, and Deans of various colleges. 

The ADT will oversee a pool of funds for teaching-related activities of the members of the ADT, such as attending educational conferences, purchasing educational materials, funding pilot projects for teaching, funding teaching assistantships and fellowships for promising graduate students, which will be distributed through competitive proposals. Proposals will be screened by the Board twice a year. 

Membership and Structure 


Those eligible for membership in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers will include all faculty who have been recognized by existing mechanisms within the University of Iowa or by their discipline or profession for outstanding contributions to teaching and learning in the broadest sense.  Eligible faculty will include, but are not limited to, Collegiate Teaching Award recipients, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Deanís Scholars, Regents Faculty Award recipients, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professors, Graduate College Mentoring Award recipients, Lewis Holloway Award winner (College of Medicine), College of Medicine Teaching Professorships, Tippie College of Business Teaching Chairs, and other faculty as nominated by the membership of the Academy with Board approval. 


The membership (through its Board) will identify eligible faculty annually through contacting both the Deans of each College within the University and the Council on Teaching.  Eligible faculty will be invited to join the ADT, but membership will be voluntary.

Administrative Structure 

The Academy members will be coordinated by a Leadership Board, consisting of three members, elected from the membership, with two ex officio members: the Chair of the Council on Teaching and the Director of the Center for Teaching.  The elected members of the Board will serve for a three-year rotating term. 

The services of a staff person, presumably the secretary to the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, will be needed to assist in scheduling meetings of the membership, taking minutes, etc. 


The ADT will be funded by the Provost.  Funding in the early stages will be modest, but the administration of the University of Iowa has expressed a firm commitment to sustained and increasing support of the ADT, as budgetary considerations allow. 


Members of the Academy who would like to assist the University in promoting teaching excellence could serve as a pool of resource people.  They might be consulted as appropriate by the Center for Teaching and the Council on Teaching in their ongoing efforts to nurture the integration of all forms of teaching with scholarship within the University, as well as by the President and the Provost in promoting the visibility of teaching outside the University.  For example, the members of the ADT might help select and sponsor visitors who are nationally recognized pedagogues and teachers, e.g., as Ida Beam Visiting Scholars; make their classes available for visits by new faculty, teaching assistants, and prospective students; or be consulted on strategies for fundraising that may lead to the endowment of Teaching Chairs, support for travel to conferences on teaching, subsistence for teaching initiatives, or fellowships for graduate students to learn more about teaching. 

Proposal (revised May 2002) by an ad hoc Faculty Senate committee:

                Roberta M. Marvin, chair

                Kristi Ferguson

                Susan Lawrence

                Irwin Levin

                Tom Rocklin

                Amitava Bhattacharjee, ex officio