In the 2013-14 academic year there was a total of 355 nominations, up from the previous year at 342. Most years there are repeated nominations for the same teacher and other bogus nominations, according to a CTE representative.
As of Wednesday there were a total of 80 nominations. However, like every year, a large amount of nominations are submitted closer to the deadline, the representative said.
The Teacher of the Year Awards are sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence. Faculty, staff and students file nominations; after they are tallied the nominated teachers submit comprehensive portfolios. Committees for the six awards review the portfolios and at the ceremony a plaque and stipend are given out to the winners.
Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence Aeron Haynie said she wishes more students were involved in the process, but it is hard to get volunteers from undergraduate and graduate classes.
A graduate and undergraduate student volunteer is placed on the Teaching Enhancement Committee, which oversees all of the subcommittees for each award, she said.
IDEA forms, which students fill out at the end of each semester evaluating the course and their teacher, in addition to the nominations, are taken into consideration before the final decision is made. The students are also are asked to write recommendation letters for the portfolio.
The rest of the proceedings, which include tallying the nominations, advertising, reviewing the portfolios and alerting the nominees, are conducted by staff and faculty, she said.
“I wish it was more on the students’ radar, because it should be exciting and encouraging for undergraduate students of UNM that the administration are really trying to promote people who do an excellent job at teaching undergraduates,” Haynie said.
Deborah Fort, co-chair of the Teaching Enhancement Committee, said lack of student participation has remained constant for the past years.
“I don’t think students are as involved as they could or should be. I think a lot of student’s don’t even know about the rewards even though the media goes out,” Fort said.
Students don’t realize the amount of time and energy faculty put into teaching, she said. The nominations mean a lot to the teachers, and Fort would like to see more student involvement in regards to recommendation letters and nominations, she said.
However, Charles Kalm, recipient of an award for the 2013-14 academic year, said from his experience students are very active in the process.
Kalm received the Lecturer or Affiliated Teacher of the Year award. His students nominated him, wrote recommendation letters and congratulated him once he won the award, he said.
“This whole process is primarily focused on students. Students do the nominating, do part of the recommending; student evaluations form a large part of the process, and so I think it is quite wonderful as a metric of teaching excellence to incorporate such a large degree the students,” Kalm said.
Jackie Lee, a pre-pharmacy major, said she knew about the awards through an ad in the Daily Lobo.
Student involvement is lacking, she said, mostly because of time commitment issues.
“If the teachers really care about this reward and that’s something they really want to achieve, then I definitely think that would affect their teaching styles,” Lee said.
August Ortega, a freshman interdisciplinary film and digital media major, said he was unaware of the Teacher of the Year Awards.
“I think I would nominate someone just because I enjoyed their class, not because they’re a phenomenal teacher,” Ortega said.
Ortega said having the Teacher of the Year Awards affects the morale of the faculty because it gives them acknowledgement for their job.
Students should be more active in the process because they are the recipients of the teacher’s talent, he said.
To nominate a teacher visit surveymonkey.com/s/TeachingAwards2015. Nominations close Feb. 6.