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.



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 opportunity for change in learners
  • engages students in activities outside of the classroom such as clubs, organizations, tutoring, field trips, or similar activities* (Excluded for 2022 award consideration due to pandemic restrictions)

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:

1. Letter of support from the college president

2. Summary of Accomplishments (Four-page maximum)
The major highlights of the nominee’s record of accomplishment must be identified and briefly described in a summary. This must directly address the criteria. The Summary may be prepared using bulleted sections; complete sentences are not required. Third-person perspective is suggested.

3. Personal Statement (Two-page maximum)
The nominee must prepare a personal statement addressing:  their philosophy on teaching excellence and student success; and any other information deemed relevant by the nominee. Restating accomplishments discussed in the Summary section should be avoided as much as possible. It is suggested the personal statement be presented as a first-person narrative in complete sentences.

4. Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae (Two-page maximum)
An abbreviated vita outlining the nominee’s education, teaching experience, scholarly works and activities, public and academic service, awards, and other significant contributions must be included.

5. Letters of Support – excerpted (Two-page maximum)
Excerpts of support letters from supervisors (president, CAO, dean, dept. chair), colleagues (institutional and/or disciplinary), students (former and/or current), and community leaders or members must be included. (Two-page maximum; 250-word maximum for each excerpt)

6. Completed Signature Sheet

Additional materials are not accepted. It is strongly recommended that all parts of the application reflect the four criteria listed above. Be sure to check with your college to make sure you are complying with any internal deadlines or processes.

Selection Committee

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 for Student Success and Professional Development.


Application Due Date and Recipient Announcement

Award applications and nomination submissions for 2022-2023 are now closed.
Award recipients and their college president will be notified confidentially prior to the public announcement during the annual New Horizons conference in the Spring.


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 questions related to the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, contact the VCCS Student Success Center at