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Part V Faculty Awards
Faculty are at the core of what makes universities exceptional – our research, teaching, advising, mentoring, healing and service form the essential intellectual energy of Vanderbilt. Recognizing profound faculty contributions across these domains is an important aspect of our University’s culture and traditions.
The faculty awards described here are University-wide, or across schools in the case of the teaching awards. Other faculty awards are made within individual schools and colleges.
The Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award
The Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award is made to a full-time, regular faculty member without restriction as to age, rank, or school, for distinguished accomplishment in furthering the aims of Vanderbilt University.
In defining the character of the award, the original committee stated:
The purpose of the award should be to recognize, and thereby to encourage in others, that combination of talents and achievements that we identify as desirable in the University faculty member: creative scholarship, including accomplishment in the creative arts and artistic performance; stimulating and inspiring teaching that results in learning of a high order; and service to students, colleagues, the University at large, and society at large. The award should be made for the total contribution and not solely for notable accomplishment in any single or narrow aspect of University endeavor. Neither shall long service nor promise of future accomplishment be a prime factor in the selection.
The award was established in 1963 to honor retiring Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. It is endowed with funds contributed by members of the faculty. The winner receives a cash award of $2,500, an engraved silver tray, and official designation as Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor for one academic year. Announcement is made during the spring meeting of the Board of Trust.
Selection is made by the Chancellor, who receives nominations from the Consultative Committee of the Faculty Senate. Members of the Faculty Senate are asked to submit suggestions to the Consultative Committee.
The Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award
The Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award was created on the occasion of the retirement of Chancellor Heard in 1982. It is endowed with funds contributed by faculty, staff, and others.
The title is conferred upon a full-time faculty member, regardless of rank or school, for distinctive contributions to the understanding of problems of contemporary society. The purpose of the award is to encourage, recognize, and honor faculty members’ contributions to the analysis and solution of contemporary social problems, broadly construed. Contributions may take the form of teaching, writing, basic or applied research, and consultative or other forms of service. Announcement is made during the spring meeting of the Board of Trust.
The recipient carries for one year the title Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor, and receives a $2,500 cash award and an engraved silver tray. Selection is made by the Chancellor, upon recommendation by the Provost, who requests nominations from the faculty councils or executive committees of the various schools and the Faculty Senate. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate has the responsibility of reviewing the nominations and proposing nominees to the Provost.
The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
The Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching
Two teaching awards are made annually during the spring meeting of the Board of Trust. They are the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching.
Each recipient receives a cash prize of $2,500 and an engraved pewter julep cup. Names of winners of the Madison Sarratt Prize are mounted on a permanent plaque in the Sarratt Student Center.
The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching was established by the Board of Trust in 1964 and is supported by Living Endowment funds contributed by alumni. The Ellen Gregg Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching was endowed by the Ingalls Foundation of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1965.
Final selection for both awards is made by the Chancellor on the basis of nominations by graduating seniors of the undergraduate schools and colleges and with advice of the designated honor societies. In addition, chairs of departments with top-ranking candidates are asked to summarize student evaluations of undergraduate courses taught by these candidates.
The Thomas Jefferson Award
The Thomas Jefferson Award is made annually “for distinguished service to Vanderbilt through extraordinary contributions as a member of the faculty in the councils and government of the University.”
The award is presented by the Chancellor at the first meeting of the Faculty Assembly, which officially begins each academic year. The prize carries with it an engraved pewter goblet and $2,500 cash. The recipient is named by the Chancellor on the basis of nomination of the Consultative Committee of the Faculty Senate. Faculty members in all schools are eligible. The Thomas Jefferson Award is endowed at several universities by the Robert Earll McConnell Foundation. It was first established at the University of Virginia in honor of that institution’s founder. It has been presented at Vanderbilt since 1967.
The Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research
The Earl Sutherland Prize for Achievement in Research was established by approval of the Board of Trust at its spring meeting of 1976.
The recipient is chosen annually by the Chancellor on the basis of nomination of the University Research Council. The competition is University-wide. The prize consists of $5,000 and an engraved pewter julep cup, and the winner’s name added to a silver bowl following a famous design by Paul Revere. The recipient keeps the bowl for a year. Announcement is made during the fall meeting of the Board of Trust.
The Joseph A, Johnson Jr., Distinguished Leadership Professor Award to Recognize Faculty Leadership in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The Joseph A. Johnson, Jr., Distinguished Leadership Professor Award recognizes faculty leadership in equity, diversity, and inclusion. It is awarded at the Spring Faculty Assembly to full-time, regular faculty member for distinguished leadership at Vanderbilt University. In 1954, Johnson became the first African American to earn a Vanderbilt degree, the bachelor of divinity. He also was the first African American to earn a doctoral degree, the Ph.D. in 1958. Established in 2016 by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, the Johnson Award recognizes a faculty member whose contributions to the university have enhanced equity, diversity, and inclusion in the university’s academic endeavors. It recognizes, and thereby inspires in others, initiatives related to diversity and inclusion in the university community, and efforts to support equity for faculty, students, staff, and alumni. The winner will receive a cash award of $2,500, an engraved silver tray, and official designation as Joseph A. Johnson, Jr., Distinguished Leadership
The Chancellor’s Cup
The Chancellor’s Cup is given annually for “the greatest contribution outside the classroom to undergraduate student-faculty relationships in the recent past.” The faculty member’s contribution “shall be one of educational importance, relevant to the central purpose of the University.”
Established by the Nashville Vanderbilt Club in 1963, the award is presented by the President of the Club during the Homecoming activities in the fall. The award consists of a cash prize of $2,500 contributed by the Club, an engraved pewter julep cup as a permanent trophy, and one year’s custody of a silver bowl by Tiffany bearing the names of all recipients since 1963.
Full-time faculty in all schools who are actively engaged in teaching are eligible. Selection is made by the Chancellor on the basis of recommendations submitted by Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, Deans of schools with undergraduates, the Associate Provost for Student Affairs, the Dean of Students, and Deans in Student Affairs.
The Alumni Education Award
The Alumni Education Award is given each year to a faculty member who has contributed substantially to developing or participating in those programs of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association that further the education of alumni. Any full-time faculty member actively engaged in teaching in any of the schools or colleges is eligible.
Final selection is made by the Chancellor on the basis of a recommendation from the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association. The Education Committee of the Association is responsible for initiating the nomination. Nominations are solicited through the Vanderbilt Magazine, through Vanderbilt clubs, and from various active participants in alumni programs.
The award consists of a cash prize of $2,500 and an engraved julep cup. It is presented during Reunion Weekend. The first recipient was named in 1982.
The Chancellor’s Award for Research
The Chancellor’s Awards for Research recognize excellence on the part of faculty for published research. The award carries a stipend of $1,000. All faculty members who are tenured or on the tenure track are eligible for these research prizes. As many as five of these prizes may be awarded each year. Unlike the Sutherland Prize, which is awarded for lifetime achievement in research, the Chancellor’s Awards for Research recognize excellence for research published during a given year.