Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence

This award for outstanding undergraduate teaching was established in 1990 by President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in memory of his parents. The Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching is presented annually to a tenured member of the faculty who regularly teaches undergraduate students. A $1,500 prize is awarded for professional development. 

Only undergraduate students may nominate faculty members for this award. Departments may then endorse nominated faculty by submitting all supporting materials to Faculty Affairs. A selection committee of faculty and students selects a recipient to be honored at the Faculty Honors Ceremony in the spring.


Award Criteria

Teaching excellence is defined as “accurate and effective communication to undergraduate students” so that they learn “important cultural, historical, or scientific material, as well as current scholarship and scholarly debates in the fields involved.” Recognition for teaching will be based upon demonstrated excellence in the following criteria:

  • Application of appropriate pedagogical principles and effective teaching practices in higher education and/or the specific discipline or area being taught.
  • Commitment to student learning and adaptation of instructional methods to differing students’ strengths, needs, and differences.
  • Use of student assignments that reflect high academic standards and expectations for high achievement.
  • Fostering a high level of student involvement and intellectual excitement.
  • Availability to students outside of regularly scheduled class times.
  • Participation in the peer review of teaching.

Please read the Teaching Award Rating Criteria and Possible Indicators for more information:

Criteria and Possible Indicators


Selection Process

The Trachtenberg Teaching Prize winner is nominated by currently enrolled undergraduate student(s), endorsed by the faculty member’s department, and then voted upon by committee. 

The process:

  1. Undergraduate nominators must complete the nomination form 
  2. To endorse the nomination, the department will be asked to submit the following supporting materials electronically through InfoReady.
  • Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence - Cover Sheet
  • One letter (1–2 pages) stating the department’s support of the nominee and addressing all of the criteria. This letter should be from the department chair or other departmental colleague with the chair's co-signature. If the nominee is the chair the letter should be from the Dean’s office.
  • Summary of teaching experience and approach (1 page).
  • Two years of teaching evaluations with comments (2–4 pages).
  • Any other supporting materials the nominee wishes to include (CV, student statements, etc.).

The submission package should be a maximum of 15 pages, not including the required cover sheet; materials beyond the 15-page limit will not be considered.

More information on how to submit via InfoReady will be sent after the call for nominations has closed. 



  • TBD 

Please contact Faculty Affairs (202-994-6783; [email protected]) with any questions. 


2024 Trachtenberg Prize Winners Video


2023 Trachtenberg Prize Winners Video

2020-2022 Trachtenberg Prize Winners Video

2019 Trachtenberg Prize Winners Video

All previous Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence Winners