The Teaching Excellence Award is designed to serve the following major purposes:

  1. To signal the University’s commitment to excellence in teaching.
  2. To reward faculty excellence in teaching.
  3. To thereby promote excellence in teaching among other faculty.

The Alumni Association, in appreciation of the need to recognize excellence in teaching, seeks nominations from faculty, staff, students, and alumni of CBU on behalf of current faculty for this award.

Teaching Excellence Award Criteria

Commitment to teaching and students

  • nurtures critical thinking
  • uses innovative and creative teaching methods
  • maintains high expectations of students
  • is sensitive to the learning needs of students
  • is dedicated to improving as a teacher

Intellectually stimulates students

  • encourages active learning
  • engages and excites students in field of study

Effectively communicates with students

  • communicates expectations clearly and provides ample feedback
  • is open-minded, fair, and respectful of students

Has a positive and lasting impact on students and alumni

  • affects students’ educational goals, career goals, and personal achievements
  • engages in teaching excellence beyond the classroom (e.g., advising; student organizations)
  • respected by students, alumni, and colleagues


Quality letters of nomination will address and describe the faculty’s excellence in the above criteria. Please submit letters via the form below by May 1, 2024. For questions, please reach out to Kaitlin McFarland at Nominations are reviewed by a committee and are forwarded to the CBU National Alumni Board. Awardees are selected by the CBU National Alumni Board, which will compare the evidence provided in the nomination letter to the above criteria for excellence in teaching.

The award will be announced at Academic Convocation at the beginning of the academic year.

Rules of Eligibility for the Award

  • The person nominated must be a full-time CBU faculty member having either a primary or visiting appointment as an assistant professor, associate professor, or professor. The nominee may teach either undergraduate or graduate students or both.
  • At the time of nomination, the nominee must have completed at least five academic years teaching in a full-time faculty position at CBU.
  • The person nominated has not won this award in the past 10 years.
  • The person nominated has not him- or herself solicited this nomination in any manner.
  • The nomination is entirely voluntary. That is, the nominator does not feel pressure to make the nomination from someone in authority (e.g., advisor, professor, department chair).

The 2023 Teaching Excellence Award

was presented to Dr. John Varriano by NAB Secretary and two-time alumna Analice Sowell on September 7 at the Academic Convocation on CBU’s Campus.

Dr. John Varriano, Department of Physics and Natural Science, and Analice Sowell, NAB Secretary

Past Award Teaching Excellence Award Recipients

2018 Dr. James Parker
2017 Dr. Tracie Burke
2016 Dr. Emily Holmes
2015 Dr. Mary L. Ogilvie