The Duke University Graduate School created the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching to celebrate and honor exemplary teaching by currently enrolled PhD students who are engaged in teaching Duke undergraduate or graduate students. Each spring, The Graduate School recognizes graduate students who best exemplify the characteristics of effective college teaching as they prepare for lives of service, leadership, and teaching. 



The 2023–24 nomination cycle has ended. Please check back again in fall 2024.

    • Candidate must be in good academic standing and show evidence of progress and independence in both research and teaching.
    • Candidate has taught or served as a teaching assistant for a significant number of courses respective to normal opportunities available within the department.
    • Candidate has participated in professional development opportunities related to teaching improvement offered within the department, as well as courses and workshops offered by the Graduate School (GS courses on college teaching, Certificate in College Teaching, Preparing Future Faculty program) and Duke Learning Innovation.
    • Candidate is rated highly by faculty as one of the top instructors or teaching assistants within the department or program, especially as noted within the context of a faculty member’s experience in teaching and supervising TAs, as well as in consideration of the number of applicants nominated within the same department or program.
    • Nomination letters provide relevant examples and evidence to document significant or creative connections between research and teaching in the discipline.
    • Candidate submits a critically reflective statement of teaching philosophy that documents personal development as a scholarly-teacher, significant impact of teaching on student learning outcomes, and evidence to support any claims about their scholarly approach to teaching.
    • Candidate has developed innovative courses or teaching practices as evidenced by syllabi or course-related resources that give evidence to student-centered approaches to teaching, innovative uses of instructional technologies, or creative topics that fill a void within the department or program of study by expanding the field of knowledge.
    • Course evaluations provide support and evidence of outstanding teaching through undergraduate and/or graduate student written feedback, taking into account the number of students within a course and overall course evaluation rankings within the department.
    • Evidence that the candidate’s teaching has had an impact on teaching methods utilized by departmental faculty or other TAs, such as incorporating any new teaching method(s) developed by the applicant into their own courses.
    • Candidate provides support to graduate student colleagues in regard to teaching improvement or professional development as a leader in higher education.
    • Candidate exemplifies the scholarship of teaching by connecting research on effective postsecondary teaching or educational theories with teaching practices and critical reflection upon their own teaching in the discipline.  

    The 2023–24 nomination cycle has ended. Please check back again in fall 2024.

    Nomination Process:

    • Graduate students who are nominated or interested should submit their application package in pdf format by 11/3 to their director of graduate studies for departmental review.
    • The DGS of the department or program should compile and review all application materials and upload one nomination package as a single pdf using this form by 11/15.

    Each nomination package should include the following:

    • Letter of nomination from the department chair, program director, director of graduate studies, or adviser stating that the student are in good academic standing and making progress toward the degree
    • Letter of support from one additional Duke faculty member (in your department, or any related program or experience in which the student had teaching opportunities) who can speak to the student’s teaching experience and effectiveness
    • (Optional) Letter of support from one additional faculty member beyond Duke who can speak to the student’s teaching experience and effectiveness
    • Student’s curriculum vitae
    • Student’s statement of teaching philosophy (not to exceed 1500 words.) If the statement is available as part of an online portfolio with working links, please provide that URL as well.
    • Course syllabi for any courses taught, co-taught, or for which the student served as a teaching assistant
    • Copies of original course evaluations, as many as possible, including written student feedback and comments on the student’s teaching (request from your department as needed)
    • A brief personal summary (not to exceed 1000 words) of any course evaluation data or feedback (i.e., summary notes on student feedback) to identify positive elements of the student’s teaching or areas in which the student made teaching improvement.

    Winners will be contacted early in the spring semester. These award recipients receive $2,000 each and will be honored at a reception in the spring. The Graduate School does not provide feedback to nominees who are not selected.