Ever since first year, I’ve tried to take the time to nominate at least one professor per semester for a major teaching award. In the first year, it was the SU’s SALUTE award (SU Award for Leadership in Undergraduate Teaching), which goes to excellence in teaching quality and can be found here. In future years, things progressed to more complex U of A awards. Sometimes, the applications can be fairly detailed and precise, but they’re worth every second that you put in. Why? Well, professors dedicate an incredible amount of time to your learning. From my experience, my professors have been outstanding, caring deeply about the learning and the development of their students’ knowledge and thinking abilities. We owe it to our profs to give back.
Because of this, a simple nomination of a prof for something like the SALUTE, which is due Friday, should be a no-brainer. The 60 minutes that it takes for you to find 10 signatures, write a one-page cover letter and ask two others to write letters of support can literally change a professor’s life. And it doesn’t matter whether you write a successful nomination; the gesture is really what counts.
Look, all of you have had one great professor in your experience as an undergraduate. Take the time to nominate them. You can have it all done by Thursday, and the happiness that you’ll feel after completing the small nomination package will propel you through essay-writing and exam prep. For those of you reading this, you’ll likely say But I’m busy… I should have known about this a week ago. I don’t have time to do this. Maybe I’ll do this next semester. To that, I say, “Nope, you likely won’t do it next semester. If you really care, you’ll think of a prof, prep a quick application today and hand it in at SUB before 4 pm on Friday. Be the person that decides to give it a job, and nominate a prof you care about!” Questions? Send me a quick e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you prepare the application.
Remember, many people will simply think I’ll do it in the future. But later never comes; the 60 minutes you spend on this nomination will be some of the best use of your time this semester.