Distinguished Teaching Award

Overview of the Award

The DTA recognizes individual faculty for sustained excellence in teaching. Beyond an individual exemplary class, such sustained excellence in teaching incites intellectual curiosity in students, inspires colleagues, and makes students aware of significant relationships between the academy and the world at large. Recipients receive a cash award from campus and recognition by the Academic Senate. They are honored at a public ceremony, and are permanently indicated as Distinguished Teachers in the UC Berkeley catalog. Distinguished Teachers are often called upon by campus to provide a voice in teaching-related issues.

Nomination Process

The Committee seeks evidence from a wide variety of sources through materials submitted during Stages 1, 2, and 3 of the nomination process.

Anyone on campus – student, staff, faculty – can nominate someone by filling out the following form by Sept. 18, 2024. 

Please note that it is the requirement of the Committee that a candidate not be informed of a Stage 1 nomination. The Committee wishes to minimize the number of candidates who pass nearly a whole academic year in anticipation of an award that may not be conferred. Only if a nominee is forwarded to Stage 2 should the nominator inform the candidate.

Questions? Please contact teaching@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail) with "DTA" as the subject line.


All members of the Academic Senate and non-Senate faculty with continuing appointments are eligible, with the following additional requirements. 

A. Nominees must have at least 8 semesters in residence at the time of nomination. The current fall semester does not count towards this requirement. The 8 semesters are typically, but need not be, consecutive.

B. While long years of service are neither necessary nor sufficient for recognition, nominees typically have taught at least 6 regularly scheduled courses (or at least 4 such courses in the case of fulfilling a double course load within the department, e.g., large enrollment courses) in the last 8 semesters in residence. However, if the nominee has been on Active Service-Modified Duties (ASMD) status in the last 8 semesters in residence, the review period can be extended by the length of the ASMD period (e.g. 2 semesters).

C. Only one candidate should be nominated by a department in any year. A candidate with a joint appointment may be nominated by one department, with the consent of the other departments with which the candidate is affiliated. Note this means that the Committee on Teaching (COT) will reach out to departments if there is more than one Stage 1 nomination from a department, so the department can choose which candidate to support.

D. Nominees must be available in either late fall 2023 or early spring 2024 for classroom observations that will occur if they are selected as a Stage 3 finalist.

Selection Criteria1

In general, all Distinguished Teachers will excel in the following areas:

  • Effective design and redesign of courses;
  • Ability to engage and inspire in students independent and original thinking;
  • Enthusiasm and vitality in learning and teaching;
  • Creating inclusive classrooms and supportive environments for all students.

In addition, the following criteria may apply, recognizing that nominees teach a variety of sizes of class, undergraduates/graduate students, and may not be Academic Senate members:

  • Active involvement in and guidance of student research projects;
  • Advising students with attention and care;
  • Mentorship and supervision of Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) that facilitates effective teaching;
  • For Academic Senate faculty, excellence in creative and scholarly work, and evidence that the nominee’s excellence in teaching and research go hand in hand;
  • For non-Senate faculty, contributions to the teaching mission of the University.

1The Committee on Teaching draws criteria from a number of sources, including but not limited to the University of California Academic Personnel Manual, Section D, Criteria for Appointment, Promotion, and Appraisal, and the Committee on Teaching’s policy on the Evaluation of Teaching for Advancement and Promotion.