Nomination Process-Celebration of Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Award Guidelines:
The Robert E. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education


Carnegie Mellon University has established the Robert E. Doherty Award for Sustained Contributions to Excellence in Education to be given to a member of the university community who has made substantial and sustained contributions to excellence in education. The Doherty Award is intended to recognize contributions to the development, implementation and evaluation of educational programs at all levels, and to the creation and maintenance of an environment that fosters excellence in education.

Examples of activities to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • developing innovative educational programs for undergraduate, graduate or special students
  • creating and implementing programs, services or systems to nurture and sustain students, faculty or staff to achieve their full educational potential
  • developing widely used curriculum material such as text books and educational software
  • establishing educational programs that bridge the university and the community


All full-time current employees of the university are eligible to be nominated for the Doherty Award. No one person may win the award more than once or win the Doherty Award simultaneously with the Ryan Award or Academic Advising Award.


The provost is responsible for the administration of the nomination and selection process, including calling for proposals and convening the Doherty Award selection committee.

The Doherty Award Committee

The Doherty Award selection committee consists of:

  • the three most recent recipients of the Doherty Award
  • three faculty members appointed by the provost
  • the Doherty committee chairperson (the director of the Eberly Center, who is a non-voting member). If this person is unavailable, the provost will appoint another faculty member or administrator to serve in this capacity.

The Doherty Award selection committee adopts its own rules of procedure.


Nominations consist of two phases and may be made by any group of at least three or more persons, each of whom is either:

  • a current or retired faculty member or administrator
  • a current or former full-time undergraduate or graduate student.

Phase One of Nomination:

Nominations consist of a letter [maximum two single-spaced pages] that explains why the individual is worthy of the award. Because the decision to advance the nomination to the second phase of the nomination process is based on this letter alone, it should be descriptive, convincing and specifically focused on the purpose of the award (stated at the beginning of these guidelines). The Doherty Award is not a teaching award (see the Ryan Award); this award goes beyond teaching one's own courses, for example, to developing educational programs, broadly used educational materials, etc. The letter must be submitted on or before the first Monday in November, to be considered for that academic year.

The committee will select at least two and at most five persons each year to be considered for phase two of the nomination process.

Phase Two of Nomination:

The nominators of each person selected are then responsible, together with the relevant dean/department head (or his or her designee) for preparing the full case for that nomination, following the guidelines. It should include a curriculum vita, cover letter and individual letters of recommendation from appropriate parties such as Carnegie Mellon faculty or administrators, colleagues and present and former students. In the case of a department head nominee, the relevant dean should be included in preparation of the full package.

To Nominators Assembling Doherty Award Packages for Phase Two:

"Winning" nominations often include items which concretely help the committee to understand the candidate's broad impact on the university community, such as:

  • letters from Carnegie Mellon colleagues who have first hand knowledge of the candidate's broad contributions to education
  • letters from alumni who can comment on the impact of the candidate on their careers
  • letters from colleagues off-campus who can comment on the candidate's broad contributions to education at all levels.

It is not helpful to include the following materials, which are not considered during the deliberations, given the purpose of the award:

  • information on the candidate's research (unless it directly connects to the development of an educational program, materials, etc.)
  • course syllabi and course evaluation materials
  • student letters that focus on the candidate's teaching.

PLEASE NOTE that the maximum number of letters allowed is 30.

Three CDs, DVDs or USB sticks, each containing a single PDF of the complete nomination packet, must be submitted on or before the first Monday in February to the Eberly Center, Cyert Hall 125.  Questions can be directed to Marsha Lovett, director of the Eberly Center.


The committee will choose one person to be recommended to the provost as the year's recipient of the Doherty Award. Upon the provost's approval, the award recipient will be notified in late February, and the award presented at a public ceremony open to the entire university community in late spring.