Mellon College of Science Hugh D. Young Graduate Student Teaching Award

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Hugh D. Young Graduate Student Teaching Award

Approved by College Council 27 February 2001.
Amended 2013


To encourage and recognize effective teaching by graduate students in the Mellon College of Science.


All graduate students in the Mellon College of Science are eligible for nomination. Each department in the college may nominate one graduate student. Departments may solicit letters of recommendation for more than one candidate and use these letters to decide which candidate will be the departmental nominee. Students who have been nominated in the past, but who did not receive the award, are welcome to be nominated again.


The Dean of MCS will designate an MCS Associate Dean to be responsible for the administration of the nomination and selection process, including the calling for proposals and the convening of the Selection Committee.

Selection Committee

The recipient will be chosen by a committee appointed by the Dean of MCS that includes the MCS Associate Dean responsible for the committee, and if possible, the Associate Deans for Undergraduate Affairs from CIT, and SCS, as well as two MCS faculty members. The MCS faculty members serve two-year terms, with terms of the two faculty members overlapping for one year. Each serves in the capacity of Chair (designate) during the first year and Chair during the second.

Nomination Deadline

Nominations are to be submitted electronically to the MCS Associate Dean's office in Doherty Hall, with a deadline to coincide with the deadline for the submission of nominations for the university-wide Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Nomination Requirements

Nominations should describe the qualities and activities of the nominee that make him or her an excellent candidate for the award. The nomination packet will include the following:

Additional materials such as comments from TA evaluation forms, problem sets or laboratory manuals created by the nominee, etc. are also welcomed. Letters supporting previous nominations as well as letters solicited in connection with other teaching awards may be used.

Selection and Presentation

The Selection Committee operates under its own rules of procedure and communicates its decision to the Dean early in April. The Hugh D. Young Award consisting of a certificate and check is presented to the recipient at the annual meeting of the MCS Faculty held at the end of the spring semester. At the discretion of the Dean of MCS, this award may not be presented every year.

Guidelines for Student Letters

Information concerning the way in which student letters were solicited should be included in the nomination package: How many students were contacted? How were these students chosen? How was the request for a letter phrased?

Because a student’s response may depend very much on how the request is phrased, solicitors of letters should use a letter very similar to the sample below.

All student responses, whether positive or negative, should be included in the nomination package.

(Nomination packages typically average 10 to 15 letters from students, obtained after contacting 30 to 40 students with requests for letters.)


Dear xxxx,

The department of xxxx is in the process of nominating [is considering nominating] xxxx for the Mellon College of Science Hugh D. Young Graduate Student Teaching Award (see For a description) [and the University-Wide Graduate Student Teaching Award]. The purpose of this [these] award(s) is to encourage and recognize effective teaching by graduate students. Since you have had xxxx as a Recitation Instructor [Laboratory Instructor], we would appreciate a candid letter of evaluation of xxxx's teaching. You may respond either by e-mail to xxxx at xxxx, or by campus mail to xxxx at xxxx, or by US mail to xxxx at xxxx. Your response will be used only by the award-selection committee(s) and will be kept otherwise confidential. If you have any questions please feel free to contact xxxx at xxxx. Your response is needed by xxxx in order for the department to meet the nomination deadline. We thank you in advance for your help in this matter.


About Hugh D. Young