University Awards for Teaching & Mentoring

At the end of each academic year, the CTE hosts the university's formal awards ceremony that provides an opportunity for Rice administrators, faculty, and students to celebrate the contributions of Rice instructors who have devoted themselves to both their students and the craft of teaching.

Awards Given

George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching and George R. Brown Awards for Superior Teaching

The George R. Brown Teaching Awards honors outstanding faculty as determined by the votes of alumni. All current faculty members are eligible except immediate past winners and lifetime honorary recipients. Alumni are asked to rank in order their top five faculty and only their top five faculty. The Committee on Teaching reviews the data and determines nine superior winners and one excellence winner.

Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in University Service and Leadership

This award is bestowed annually on a faculty member who has made significant and distinctive contributions to the mission of Rice University through exceptional university service and leadership.

Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in Professional Service and Leadership

This award is bestowed annually on a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the academic profession or to the wider community (local, national or international) through professional service and leadership.

Rice University Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Teaching, and Service

This award is bestowed periodically on a faculty member who fulfills the Rice academic ideal by exhibiting exemplary achievement in all aspects of faculty responsibilities — research, teaching and service.

Marjorie Corcoran Award

This award is in honor of Dr. Corcoran and her many contributions to science, to women and minorities, and to Rice. It is given annually to a Rice faculty member who has made major contributions to the advancement of women or underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, either in support of students at Rice or through local, state or national programs, with a particular commitment to engaged mentoring.

Charles W. Duncan, Jr. Achievement Award for Outstanding Faculty

The Duncan Award was established in 1998 in honor of Charles Duncan, former chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees, and is presented each year to a full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty member in recognition of outstanding performance in the areas of both teaching and scholarship.

Nicolas Salgo Outstanding Teaching Award

The Nicolas Salgo Outstanding Teaching Award is Rice’s oldest teaching award. It was created in 1966 and is funded by the Salgo-Noren Foundation. Each year, voting is open to the junior and senior classes. The faculty member with the most votes is awarded the Salgo award.

Presidential Award for Mentoring

The Presidential Mentoring Award was established to recognize faculty members with outstanding contributions to the mentoring of Rice students. An emphasis is placed on mentoring graduate students and in particular those who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

Teaching Award for Excellence in Inquiry-Based Learning

To bring attention to the efforts across campus to scaffold inquiry and research into the curriculum, this award recognizes faculty who demonstrate excellence in the use of inquiry-based learning pedagogies in undergraduate teaching. Criteria for selection include innovation and risk-taking, implementation of research-based practices, student evaluations and comments, and a peer nomination letter. The winning faculty member receives $1,500 directly and an additional $1,500 in a university fund for use in enhancing inquiry-based learning.

Sarah A. Burnett Teaching Prize in the Social Sciences

The Sarah A. Burnett Teaching Prize in Social Sciences is awarded to the faculty member(s) with the highest teaching scores in the previous academic year. The faculty member must have taught at least two undergraduate courses with a minimum of 15 students, with at least one being a lecture course.

Sarofim Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities

The Allison Sarofim Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities originated in the early 1990s. The award recognizes a kind of teaching that is important but seldom recognized: mentors of undergraduate theses or similar scale projects, graduate students’ directed readings or dissertations. The award recognizes this kind of one-on-one mentorship in the context of overall strong teaching in all the faculty member’s regular courses. The award is open to any professorial rank.

Sophia Meyer Farb Prize for Teaching (Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award)

Each year, the Rice chapter (Beta of Texas) of the national Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society recognizes a nontenured assistant professor or assistant teaching professor for outstanding teaching performance. An ad hoc committee of the general membership selects the winner after a review of the student evaluations of all eligible faculty, and the winner is invited to give a short speech at the spring induction ceremony. The award also includes an honorarium supported by the Sophia M. Farb Family Phi Beta Kappa Fund. The award was established in the 1970s by Rice Alumnus Aubrey Farb ’42.

Award for Excellence in Teaching in the School of Engineering

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes continued excellence in teaching and exemplary commitment to the education of undergraduate or graduate students within the School of Engineering.

Graduate Liberal Studies John Freeman Faculty Teaching Award and Graduate Liberal Studies John Freeman Faculty Mentoring Award

The purpose of the Graduate Liberal Studies John Freeman Faculty Teaching and Faculty Mentoring Awards is to annually recognize two outstanding GLS faculty who make significant contributions to the program or in the service of its students. Awardees exemplify the qualities of interdisciplinary liberal arts teaching and have participated significantly in teaching or advising graduate liberal studies students.

Student-Taught Courses Teaching Award

The Student-Taught Courses Teaching Award recognizes the exceptional undergraduate instructors of student-taught courses at Rice. The process for determining the two winners of the STC Teaching Award was developed by the CTE’s undergraduate advisory board. The winner is selected by a committee composed of two CTE faculty fellows and previous George R. Brown Teaching Award winners. Selection criteria are based on a class observation completed by a CTE graduate fellow, a review of instructional materials and student evaluations.

Graduate Student Teaching Awards

Developed by the CTE, Graduate Teaching Awards recognize graduate students who excelled at supporting undergraduate teaching at Rice as instructors of record and teaching assistants. Each year, four winners are selected by committees composed of CTE graduate liaisons, CTE graduate fellows, and CTE faculty fellows in the following categories: independent instruction, course support and student support. The winners are selected based on their teaching philosophy, use of research-based methods and contribution to student learning.