ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching

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This award, consisting of $500 and an inscribed plaque, is presented annually to the member of the Society deemed to be the most outstanding teacher of the year. The awardee is presented with the plaque at the ESA Annual Meeting.


The nominee must be a current ESA member, and must have excelled through innovations in developing new courses, programs, and teaching methods. Only nominations from ESA Branches are accepted for the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching. Each Branch is limited to one nomination per year.

NOTE:  Members can only submit in one Branch each year.

Previous Winners

Please click here to see a list of those who have previously received this award.

Electronic Submission Requirements

All nomination packages must be submitted electronically according to the following specifications (paper nominations will not be accepted):

Page Limits

  • The entire nomination package must not exceed 20 pages total. This includes letters of nomination or recommendation and publication lists.

  • Letters of nomination and recommendation must be included in the electronic package. Printed letters sent in lieu of electronic versions will not be accepted.

File Specifications

  • Only the following file formats will be accepted: PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format), RTF (Rich Text Format), TIF graphic files, or JPG graphic files. Files created on either PC or MAC platforms will be accepted. Please make sure scanned images can be clearly read on a computer screen.

  • Font size for text may not be smaller than 10 point.

  • A nomination package may contain no more than 6 separate files, and the size of each file must not exceed 3 MB.

Submission Methods

Nomination packages may be submitted by either of two methods:

  • PREFERRED METHOD: Submit online via the  Nomination Submission Website. This method eliminates problems associated with e-mailing large files. Nominators are strongly encouraged to use this method.

  • E-mail the nomination package as attached files to the awards administrator. In the submission e-mail, please include the title of the award in the subject of the e-mail. In the body of the e-mail, provide the name of the nominee, the nominator's contact information, and a list of the attached files.

Nomination Requirements

Nomination packages for this award must include:

CV-Related Items

Nominators must provide the information called for in the CV template, either in the template's format or in their own format. To view the CV-related nomination requirements for this award, as well as the CV template, please click here.

Other Items

  1. Letter of nomination containing a brief explanation of how the nominee excelled in performance of teaching-related duties

  2. Up to three letters of endorsement from professional colleagues, former students, or current students (not more than two from each)

Evaluation Criteria

Nominees/candidates will be judged using the following criteria for a total of 100 points:

  1. Classroom Instructions (30 points total)
    1. Amount/number of courses and/or students (10)
    2. Effectiveness, innovation, and effort of methods (10)
    3. Effectiveness, innovation, and effort of materials (10)
  2. Other Aspects of Teaching (40 points total)
    1. Development of new courses or curricula (4)
    2. Grants received for teaching (2)
    3. Publications related to teaching (2)
    4. Talks related to teaching (2)
    5. Participation in committees related to teaching (2)
    6. Advising students and student organizations (20)
    7. Evaluation by students and peers (8)
  3. Outreach and Other Activities (30 points total)
    1. Presentations or activities for K-12 and/or general public (10)
    2. Workshops or short courses for professional audience (10)
    3. Other professional activities, such as research, extension, consulting, or service (10)


Nomination packages must be received by ESA headquarters by July 1. This deadline refers to receipt by the awards administrator of a complete package in a readable format. Therefore, early submission is highly recommended. The awards administrator will confirm receipt of nomination packages within two business days, and also notify nominators of any problems with nomination package files within that time.


Any candidate nominated, but not selected, may be renominated no more than two times within the two-year period after his/her initial submission. Nomination packages will be retained for two years by the awards administrator. Nominators must send a letter of renomination to the awards administrator by the nomination deadline above. Previously submitted documentation will be used for the evaluation process unless the nominator submits new or updated documents. The renomination e-mail must contain this additional documentation. New or updated documents must follow the electronic submission requirements noted above. Each Branch is limited to one nomination per year .


The awards administrator will notify all candidates and their nominators with the results of their nomination approximately two months after the nomination submission deadline. 

For questions about this award, please click here.