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Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching
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The Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching, sponsored by the American Philosophical Association (APA), the American Association of Philosophy Teachers (AAPT), and the Teaching Philosophy Association (TPA), recognizes a philosophy teacher who has had a profound impact on the student learning of philosophy in undergraduate and/or pre-college settings.

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Frequency: Annual

Award Amount: $1,000 and a plaque

Next Deadline: August 1, 2020

The APA committee on the teaching of philosophy will present the award during the annual prize reception at an APA divisional meeting.


Open to any APA member who has an impact on student learning in undergraduate and/or pre-college settings. Previous winners are not eligible for a second award.

Selection Process

The nomination and selection process will be overseen by a selection committee consisting of members of the APA committee on the teaching of philosophy and one volunteer member of the APA committee on lectures, publications, and research who has an interest in teaching, and members of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers and Teaching Philosophy Association. The selection committee will be constituted such that those members representing the APA make up more than one-third of its members, with representatives of AAPT and TPA making up less than one-third each. The selection process will occur in two rounds:

Round One

The APA committee on the teaching of philosophy will send a call for nominations through an email to APA members from the APA administrative office. Nomination letters should be no more than 2,000 words and should address the selection criteria (detailed below). Self-nominations are welcome. (Links to winners' nomination letters are posted with the letter writers' permission under "Awardees" below.)

Criteria to Include in the Nomination Letter

  • Excellence in undergraduate and/or pre-college philosophy teaching, established, in part, by the nominee's attention to student learning
  • Creative and effective use of high quality pedagogies
  • Broader impact on the quality of philosophy education through service and/or research

Only APA members may submit nominations; please sign in to access the nomination form.

To submit a nomination, fill out the nomination form.

Round Two

After reviewing the nomination letters, the selection committee will invite no fewer than two and no more than five finalists to submit detailed information. It is assumed that nominators and nominees will work together in this second round.

Detailed Information to be Submitted in Round Two

1. Original nomination letter

2. Curriculum vitae (one page, single-space, no smaller than 11-point font)

A concise summary of the teacher’s education, teaching experience, other teaching awards, teaching-related publications, teaching-related institutional and community service, and other significant contributions. Please keep the focus on teaching. Judges will review only the first page of a multiple-page vitae.

3. Candidate's Personal Statement (no more than 1,250 words in total)

Please reflect upon a particularly successful course by answering the following four questions:

a. How does your course impact student learning and transform students more generally?
b. What activities do you assign in your course, and how do these activities impact student learning?
c. What assessment strategies do you employ to ensure that your course objectives have been met?
d. On reflection, how might you improve this course going forward?

As space permits, please discuss: (i) how your approach to teaching is scholarly, (ii) how you have contributed to the scholarship of teaching and learning, and/or (iii) any other aspect of your philosophy teaching or professional work that serves to create opportunities for transformative learning.

4. Two to Four Letters of Support (each no more than 1000 words)

  • One letter from a former student
  • One letter from a colleague
  • Up to two additional letters

For questions, contact

Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

Selection committee members of the Prize for Excellence in Philosophy Teaching shall disclose conflicts of interest to the committee and abide by the following rules:

During Round 1 Deliberations

Not provide assessments or any information regarding persons with whom they have a relationship that is defined as generating a conflict of interest by this policy (below).

During Round 2 Deliberations

Not participate.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest exists when a committee member has a financial, professional, personal, or other interest that could reasonably be perceived as impacting how that committee member contributes to the decision making process. If a committee member feels that they might be compelled to advocate for a nominee because of a relationship with a nominee, then there is a conflict of interest. Specifically, a committee member has a conflict of interest when:

  • any financial interest is impacted by that person’s work on the committee
  • any close colleague (e.g., PhD advisor/advisee, department member, co-author) is impacted by that person’s work on the committee
  • any family member or other person one is in a significant relationship with is impacted by that person’s work on the committee

In cases that are not immediately clear, the committee, minus the person who may have a potential conflict, will fact-find and determine whether a relationship is “significant” or a colleague is “close.”



Sandra Dwyer (Georgia State University) nomination letter

Claire Katz (Texas A&M University) nomination letter


Maralee Harrell (Carnegie Mellon University) nomination letter


Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Elon University) nomination letter

Past Finalists

P. Justin Kalef (Rutgers University)

Geoffrey Pynn (Northern Illinois University)

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Robert A. Wilson (La Trobe University, AUS)

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