Office of Academic Affairs

Purpose of Awards | Awards Categories | Special Award Category Distinction for Innovation | Award Details | Timing of Call for Nominations and Award Announcements | Faculty Nominee Eligibility | Guidelines for Nomination Process | Forms & Checklist | Current Recipients | Past Recipients


Purpose of Awards

Regents' Faculty Awards publicly recognize distinguished performance in 1) Teaching, 2) Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity, 3) Public Service, and 4) Mentoring on the part of faculty members. This award marking excellence is the highest honor presented by the Board of Regents (BOR) to exemplary faculty members within the University System of Maryland (USM). The awardees are selected by the Council of University System Faculty (CUSF) and submitted to the BOR for approval.

Awards Categories

A maximum of 17 awards may be bestowed annually. Up to four awards each will be presented in each of the following four categories (Teaching; Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity; Public Service; and Mentoring) in which faculty exhibit excellence, and one award may be presented in the special award category of Innovation. At least one of the individual awards for Teaching; Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity; Public Service; and Mentoring shall be presented to faculty at a comprehensive institution (BSU, CSU, FSU, SU, TU, UB, UMES, or UMUC), and at least one of the individual awards in these categories shall be presented to faculty at a research institution (UMB, UMBC, UMCES, or UMCP).

  • Teaching is to be interpreted broadly enough to encompass all educational activities in the USM, including distance education. The nominee(s) shall have demonstrated superior teaching as documented by such things as student evaluations, teaching portfolios, or other means. This may include demonstrated accomplishments in areas such as course development and pedagogy, direction of student research projects, leadership in teaching improvement, or mentoring of faculty to improve teaching. The award recipient shall have succeeded in promoting measurable increases in student learning. Note: A maximum of four awards, including at most one to a collaboration, can be made in this category.
  • Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity is to be interpreted broadly to include professional accomplishments in the nominee’s field and to encompass all fields of study at any USM institution. The nominee(s) shall have shown evidence of exceptional scholarship or research that extend or deepen the bounds of knowledge or of creative activities that are recognized as innovations in the nominee’s discipline. This shall include the fine or performing arts. Note: A maximum of four awards, including at most one to a collaboration, can be made in this category.
  • Public Service will include any activity other than teaching and research, scholarship, or creative activity that benefits the citizens of Maryland and of the nation or humanity in general. The nominee(s) shall have contributed to the community through involvement in initiatives such as K-16 programs, clinical practice, professional or non-profit organizations, and public policy. Note: Service to USM institutions is excluded. A maximum of four awards, including at most one to a collaboration, can be made in this category.
  • Mentoring is to be interpreted broadly enough to include a variety of activities that foster student development and attainment. The nominee shall have demonstrated excellence in the mentoring of students. This can be demonstrated in several ways such as student career development, measurable improvement in areas such as retention and graduation rates, and improvement of post-baccalaureate progression rates or major-field or related-field employment rates. The mentoring of other faculty members, while not sufficient by itself, can be considered in this category. Supporting evidence should document the value of the mentoring. This may involve students mentored more than 3 years ago. Testimony of current students and graduates is encouraged. Notes: Direction of student research projects shall be considered under Teaching rather than under Mentoring. A maximum of four awards, including at most one to a collaboration, can be made in this category.

A maximum of one award in each of the aforementioned categories can be designated a collaboration and may be awarded to a team consisting of faculty members from at least two University System of Maryland institutions. Nominees will be faculty members from at least two USM institutions and shall have initiated the project and participated in all phases of the project. There is no limit on the involvement of additional collaborators from other institutions, including non-USM institutions. Letters of support from either or both institutions are acceptable for this nomination.

Special Award Category Distinction for Innovation

One award can be designated for innovation. Innovation is to be interpreted broadly enough to encompass exemplary ideas that when implemented serve to further improve student learning or academic administration through the effective and efficient use of single/multiple institutional or system-wide resources that result in cost savings. The nominee(s) shall provide evidence that includes a brief description of the innovative academic or administrative initiative, its potential benefits, magnitude, and estimated costs and/or resources savings of $10,000 or more. Note: One (1) award from either Academic Transformation-improved learning and minimum cost savings of $10,000, or Administrative Transformation-improved effectiveness and efficiency resulting in minimum cost savings of $10,000.

Award Details

  • Each recipient of a Teaching; Scholarship, Research, Creativity Activity; Public Service; Mentoring award receives a plaque and $1,000.
  • Each recipient of a collaboration award receives a plaque and a portion of the $1,000 amount (divided equally among the USM collaborators).
  • The recipient of the Innovation award will receive a certificate of recognition and $1,000.

Timing of Call for Nominations and Award Announcements

Letters inviting nominations from institutions shall be mailed from the Office of the Chancellor to presidents, provosts, and senate chairs of USM in August of each year. Nominations will be due to the USM Office of Academic Affairs by the first Monday in November. Awards will be announced during a spring meeting of the Board of Regents with suitable ceremony and publicity, including descriptions of faculty achievements.

Faculty Nominee Eligibility

Nominees must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The faculty member(s) being nominated must be currently employed by a USM institution that is headquartered in the U.S. (but the faculty member him/herself need not be physically located in the U.S.) as a tenure-track or non-tenure track faculty member.
  • An individual must have been a USM faculty member for at least five years.
  • The faculty member must have been employed by a USM institution while making the outstanding contributions on which the nomination is based.
  • The period of performance to be considered will be the three-year period ending on June 30 of the year in which the nomination is made for Teaching; Scholarship, Research, or Creative Activity; and Public Service. Reference to work in previous years may be made to show continuous achievement in the academic field. The nomination packet for a Mentoring award should include more than three years of mentoring.
  • Faculty who have won a Regents’ Faculty Award within the past three years are not eligible for the same award.

The nominee's accomplishments must be characterized by the following:

  • The faculty member should have fulfilled ordinary obligations as indicated in the institution's workload policy and as agreed upon by the department/unit. Accomplishments for which he or she is nominated must clearly exceed ordinary expectations.
  • Achievements should be continuous in an academic field. Peers and/or the broader public must recognize the outstanding nature of the contributions.
  • Paid consultancies are excluded from award consideration.

Guidelines for Nomination Process

Each institution shall designate an Institutional Faculty Nominating Committee (IFNC) consisting entirely of faculty that solicits nominees for the Regents' Faculty Awards. The INFC shall work with faculty to improve their nomination packets. They shall forward all nominations to the President and/or his designee with comments on the quality of the nomination packet. The President of each institution shall submit nominations to the USM Office of Academic Affairs. Nominations are then reviewed by the Regents’ Faculty Awards Committee (RFAC) (see details below), who makes recommendations to the Board of Regents on the winners.

Each institution may nominate a maximum of one candidate per 200 eligible faculty for each award category.

Awards Selection Process

The Regents' Faculty Awards Committee (RFAC) Chair shall be appointed by the CUSF Chair in May, and RFAC will be established by each fall semester. It shall include five USM faculty members and one USM staff member. CUSF will select at least two faculty members from different comprehensive institutions, one of which will be from a Historically Black Institution, and at least two faculty members from different research institutions. CUSF will select one additional faculty member from either a comprehensive institution or a research institution. The RFAC shall review nominations and will recommend potential award recipients to the BOR for approval. Upon request, the Regents will be provided with the complete portfolio of each potential award recipient. The Regents Faculty Awards Committee can decide to hold a nomination for consideration in the subsequent year. Held over nominations will not take the place of an institution’s current nominees. The RFAC will notify the campus of any nominations to be held over when award winners are announced for the original nomination.

Note: The RFAC will judge each nominee only on the basis of evidence contained in the portfolio. Personal knowledge of additional accomplishments in the award categories will not be considered. Members of the RFAC shall excuse themselves from the review of nominees when there is the appearance of conflict of interest.

Application Process

The nomination process will involve two stages.

  1. For consideration by the nominee’s on-campus Institutional Faculty Nominating Committee, the nominee will submit a packet totaling no more than five pages that includes the following items:
    • a summary resume,
    • a one-page essay from the nominee describing how he or she has contributed to excellence in the category of the nomination,
    • a letter of recommendation from the department chairperson or dean, and
    • brief documentation of exemplary achievement summarizing the materials listed below for the category.

After reviewing the applications, the INFC will work with the nominees to prepare complete packets that will be submitted to the institution’s president.

  1. For consideration by the system-wide RFAC, a completed application will include the following within a maximum of 20 pages that includes the following items:
    • Nomination letter from the president or designee indicating the reasons that the nominee deserves special recognition. The president is asked to submit a separate letter for each nominee. For awards involving collaboration, either president of either candidate may prepare the nomination letter with the other president(s) endorsing the nomination;
    • A minimum of two and maximum of four letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation may be from persons at the nominee's institution or at other institutions. At least one letter from the department chairperson or dean should be submitted. Telephone numbers and addresses of recommenders should be included so that the IFNC or the RFAC may communicate with them when necessary. Letters of recommendation will be available to all committee members to facilitate decision making and will not be considered confidential information;
    • Current and relevant summary resume of nominee;
    • One-page essay from the nominee describing how he or she has contributed to excellence in the category of nomination;
    • Certification form documenting employment history at the institution and fulfillment of the institution's workload policy in the areas of teaching (classroom and non-classroom); scholarship/research/creative activity; and service (See Forms & Checklist);
    • Documentation of exemplary achievement (Notes: For the Teaching category, documentation must include persuasive evidence of peer evaluation of teaching and student learning. For Research, Scholarship, or Creative Activity and for Public Service, no more than three letters of recommendation from qualified individuals external to the nominee's institution should be submitted. For Mentoring, no more than five letters from current and former students should be submitted.); and
    • Additional supporting materials.

The entire packet, including supporting materials, is not to exceed twenty pages. Pages in each nomination packet should be numbered. The RFAC will ask the USM Office of Academic Affairs to return packets for streamlining when they exceed 20 pages. Ideally, nomination packets would be submitted to the USM Office of Academic Affairs electronically. If additional materials are necessary, these could be mailed or delivered to the office for forwarding to the RFAC committee members.

Submit Nomination Packets to:

University System of Maryland

Office of Academic Affairs

3300 Metzerott Road

Adelphi, MD 20783

Deadline: First Monday in November

Direct Questions to: Kathy Thorne at 301-445-1911 or

Revised: June 19, 2015

FY 2017 Call for Nominations

To access the Board of Regents' Faculty Awards Guidelines in PDF, please click here