Carnegie Mellon University

Doherty Award Nomination Information

Carnegie Mellon established the Robert E. Doherty Award to recognize 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
  • creating or incorporating program elements that address diverse students' needs
  • developing widely used curriculum material such as text books and educational software
  • establishing educational programs that bridge the university and the community

The Doherty Award is not a teaching award; it goes beyond teaching one's own courses to developing educational programs, broadly used educational materials, etc.

All full-time current employees of the university are eligible to be nominated for the award. No one person may win the award more than once or 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 award selection committee.

The award selection committee consists of:

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

The 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 people, 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 is based on this letter alone, it should be descriptive, convincing and specifically focused on the purpose of the award stated at the top of the page.

Phase One Submission Deadline

The letter must be submitted on or before the first Monday in November* to be considered for that academic year.

The committee will select two to five people to be considered for phase two of the nomination process.

In 2021, the nomination deadline is the third Monday in November: Monday, November 15.

Phase Two of Nomination

The nominators of each person selected for phase two, together with the relevant dean/department head (or his or her designee), are responsible for preparing the full case for that nomination. It should include a C.V., 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.

Nomination packages often include items that 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 other colleagues who can comment on the candidate's broad contributions to education at all levels

Given the purpose of the award, the following should not be included:

  • 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

The maximum number of recommendation letters that can be submitted is 30. Please note that selected quotes from the winner's nomination packet may be used for publicity purposes.

Phase Two Submission Deadline

A single PDF of the complete nomination packet must be submitted on or before the first Monday in February to the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation. Questions should be directed to Marsha Lovett.

The committee will choose one person to be recommended to the provost as the year's recipient of the award. Upon the provost's approval, the recipient will be notified and the award will be presented at the Celebration of Education event in the spring.