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Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE)


The purpose of the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) is to recognize excellence in teaching in Virginia’s community colleges.

The Award

The Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence is awarded annually to one teaching faculty member in the VCCS who distinctly represents the teaching excellence found at VCCS college(s). The award provides the recipient with a VCCS stole and $5,000. One nomination per campus will be accepted.


Eligible applicants:

  • Are full-time teaching faculty with unrestricted rank and salary proposals,
  • Possess a minimum of five years of full-time VCCS service during which at least 75% of the workload was devoted to teaching, and
  • Are recommended by the president of the employing institution

Note: The VCCS will consider one applicant per campus.


Selection of the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence recipient is made by a committee comprised of one college president, one academic vice president, two deans (one academic and one student services), three faculty members, one student, and the Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Success Center and Office of Professional Development.


The criteria on which the recipient is selected reflect the following:

1. Instructional Effectiveness

  • encourages active learning
  • respects diverse talents and ways of knowing
  • creates and offers many options for learning
  • gives prompt feedback
  • emphasizes time on task
  • assesses student learning through documentation
  • promotes a complete range of thinking skills
  • integrates the acquisition of basic academic success skills and academic values into course work
  • integrates technology appropriately into teaching and learning
  • understands current trends and issues related to pedagogy and the discipline

2. Student Focus

  • promotes positive student relationships
  • encourages cooperation among students (through group work or projects, collaborative learning communities, or other mechanisms)
  • engages learners as full partners in the learning process, with learners assuming responsibility for their own choices
  • communicates high expectations
  • encourages personal development, work and career preparation
  • creates change in learners
  • engages students in activities outside of the classroom such as clubs, organizations, tutoring, field trips, or similar activities

3. Discipline Competence

  • possesses specific knowledge and skills
  • maintains currency through discipline-related professional development

4.    Personal Attributes

  • models life-long learning
  • engages in positive working relationships with students, colleagues, departments, campuses, and/or community
  • affirms and participates in shaping a college’s culture (mission, vision, and values)
  • demonstrates clear reasoning skills

Note: All four criteria stated above will be given equal weight by the Selection Committee.

Application Process

Applicants for the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence must complete the online application form, which includes the following items:

  • Application abstract (150 word max)
  • Letter of support from the college president
  • Class syllabus from class taught within the past five years
  • Application narrative (1500 word max)
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Completed signature sheet icon
  • Video demonstrating teaching excellence (e.g. teaching or working with students, 6 minutes max)

Additional materials are not accepted. It is strongly recommended that all parts of the application reflect the four criteria listed above, available here as a PDF: Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence Criteria icon The online application is to be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EST on November 15. If due date falls on a weekend, the following Monday will serve as the due date. Applicants should note that occasionally colleges have internal deadlines for application processing for this award. Be sure to check with your college to make sure you are complying with any internal deadlines or processes. The online application is available here: Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence Online Application

Application Due Date

Nomination packets for the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence are due to the Office of Professional Development by November 15 of the year prior to the award year the applicant is nominated for. Afterwards, the Selection Committee reviews all received nomination packets and chooses one nominee as award recipient. The recipient is announced at the annual New Horizons conference in April of the award year. Additional announcements are distributed through the VCCS Office of Institutional Advancement and the Office of Professional Development’s website.

Connection to the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award

It is expected that the preparation of materials for the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence will position a college and its nominee to address related criteria for the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award. For more information on the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, contact the Office of Professional Development at