State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
Outstanding Faculty Award Program
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Awards (OFA) are the Commonwealth’s highest honor for faculty at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities. These awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service. VCCS colleges are encouraged to nominate their outstanding faculty for this award.
The General Assembly and Governor created the OFA program in 1986. Now celebrating its 26th year, the award recognizes the finest among Virginia’s college faculty for their excellence in teaching, research and public service. Since the first awards in 1987, just over 300 Virginia faculty members have received this high honor. In 2005, Dominion made a three-year commitment to support the annual recognition of the outstanding faculty in Virginia. Dominion has since renewed its commitment, extending its sponsorship through 2012.
Since 2004, corporate sponsorship has allowed SCHEV to continue the program with monetary awards, which were originally publicly funded; the ceremony itself has always been privately funded. Over the past two decades, outstanding faculty members at Commonwealth institutions have received awards totaling more than $1.2 million via this program.
A complete overview of the OFA program can be found here. You may also consult the additional resources shown on the right-side of this webpage.
Suggestions from the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award Workshop
Suggestions for Nominees
- Select carefully those asked to write support letters. Provide guidance about format, content, etc. You are looking for nuggets that will be useful in the final packet.
- Plan and strategize in order to produce a good packet.
- Be prepared for an intense experience.
- Whether or not SCHEV says you win, you ARE a winner!
Suggestions for Colleges
- Take ownership over the process and walk alongside the nominee. Remember: A win for the individual is a win for the institution.
- Identify your nominee(s) early in the process. The spring before nominations are due in the fall is not too early.
- Consider establishing an annual process whereby nominees are identified. For example, if your college gives an annual teaching award, that individual can continue on to be the SCHEV OFA nominee. Or perhaps you have a standing awards committee charged with determining the name of the nominee each year.
- Establish a timeline and meet with the nominee to review the timeline, responsibilities, and process.
- Identify a “final preparer of the packet” who is NOT the nominee.
- Recognize the nominee(s) at the college-level whether or not they win.
- Celebrate with a winner at appropriate events and with publicity.
- Recirculate nominations of non-winners in a future year after strengthening the packet.
Suggestions for Packet Preparation
- Provide “clear and compelling” evidence that the candidate deserves the award.
- Include data wherever possible.
- Consider building the packet around a theme appropriate to the nominee’s excellence.
- Use proper grammar and spelling.
- Display a consistent and clean style.
- Structure a vetting process at the campus to insure quality.
- Streamline the narrative to remove redundancies.
- Focus on the unique qualities of the nominee.
- Watch voice; for example, the summary of accomplishments should be in the third person, while the personal statement is in the first person.
- Reread every word of the OFA guidelines once the final draft of the packet is ready to be sure you have followed the “rules.”
For a .pdf version of the above suggestions, click here.
SCHEV’s OFA Program
Find out more about the annual Outstanding Faculty Award program.