Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research

Diggs Scholar Award

2018 Call for Nominations

The Diggs Teaching Scholar Association invites nominations for the 2018 Diggs Teaching Scholar Award. Established in 1992, the Diggs Teaching Scholar Award highlights and recognizes excellent teachers who model innovative pedagogical practices that advance, challenge, and/or unsettle existing conventions of teaching and learning. In addition to active engagement with membership in a forward-looking community of teaching-scholar activists, award recipients are also provided grant support for disseminating their instructional innovations to the larger University community. Award recipients must be able to commit to serving the Diggs community for at least three years to help the Diggs Association promote pedagogical and instructional development and foster innovative teaching at Virginia Tech. Up to three Diggs Teaching Scholars may be selected annually and agree to:

  • Share in leading the Diggs Teaching Roundtable during fall semester. The Roundtable is a public event where the new Diggs Teaching Scholars present their innovative teaching practices and facilitate broader discussion of educational issues at Virginia Tech.
  • Actively share their Teaching Enhancement Project with others at Virginia Tech during the first year of their award.
  • Maintain sustained engagement with the community comprised of Diggs Teaching Scholars and participate actively in leadership for at least three years.

Eligibility Requirements

    • The award is open to Virginia Tech instructors at all levels (i.e., named and full professors, associate and assistant professors, adjunct faculty, instructors, and graduate teaching assistants).
    • All nominations are welcome; however, we particularly encourage nominations for teaching enhancement projects that align with this year’s theme: critical and inclusive pedagogy in all fields at Virginia Tech. This includes teaching enhancement projects that involve socially engaged pedagogy, civic engagement and social justice. Projects that involve increasing accessibility for all students, incorporating equity into course content, building social and cultural competence, and promoting civic engagement are encouraged.
    • New nomination option:  For teaching enhancement project proposals that focus on this year’s theme, we welcome nominations for individuals or teams of up to 4 people.
    • Nominees should stand out for their contributions as excellent teachers who model forward-looking pedagogical strategies that not only enhance the quality of teaching and instruction in their departments, but (potentially) contribute to positioning Virginia Tech as a national leader in higher education instruction.
    •  Nominees should indicate a commitment to carrying forward their teaching enhancement project and engagement within the Diggs Teaching Scholar Association for at least three years.


The nomination packet consists of the following:

    • A Letter of Nomination (up to two single-spaced pages) from a department head or program chair. The letter should: 1) provide a description of the nominee's/team’s qualifications; 2) include a brief description of the nominee's/team’s teaching duties; 3) identify the nominee’s/team’s contributions; 4) describe the nominee's/team’s impact on teaching at Virginia Tech; and 5) comment on the broader applicability of the nominee’s/team’s teaching enhancement project to the Virginia Tech community, with emphasis on this year’s theme. The nomination letter may also include comments from colleagues or students, descriptions of innovative accomplishments or assignments, and list other teaching awards or recognition.
    • Teaching Innovation Statement (no more than one single-spaced page) from the nominee. The statement should briefly outline and provide examples of the nominee’s philosophy of teaching and learning as it applies to specific pedagogical strategies. These strategies should advance, challenge, and/or unsettle past and present instructional conventions.
    •  A Teaching Enhancement Project Proposal (up to two single-spaced pages) from the nominee(s). The Teaching Enhancement Project (TEP) is any innovative teaching-related activity, method, or pedagogy developed by the nominee that would be useful in promoting both direct practices and imagined possibilities for teaching and learning to the broader Virginia Tech community. When describing the TEP, the nominee(s) should also address the applicability of the TEP to instructors teaching in different fields and/or learning environments. Nominees should also include their plans for sharing it with the Virginia Tech community.  We strongly encourage nominations for TEPs that align with this year’s theme: critical and inclusive pedagogy in all fields at Virginia Tech. This includes TEPs that involve socially engaged pedagogy, civic engagement and social justice. We encourage TEPs that incorporate designs for accessibility (which may include instructional technologies, open education sources, or innovative approaches to student performance assessment), add an intentional equity component especially in courses outside of the humanities and social sciences, or broaden the disciplinary canon to include work by underrepresented scholars.
    • A Program Budget (up to one single-spaced page) outlining expenditures of up to $500 from the Diggs grant to support dissemination of the Teaching Enhancement Project (e.g. program development, support for creation and dissemination of the Teaching Enhancement Project, student support, etc.).  If awarded as a team, funds are to be divided among the team.

The award review committee will review only these materials; submission of an extensive dossier is expressly discouraged.
Materials should be sent in PDF format no later than Monday, January 22, 2018 to Lori Blanc ( Please put Diggs Application in the subject line of your email.

Review Criteria

Nomination packets will be reviewed based on:

  1. The nominee’s commitment and contributions to the teaching and learning enterprise at Virginia Tech, and their potential to carry this forward for three years as a member of the Diggs Teaching Scholar Association, as reflected in the submitted materials.
  2. The nominee’s past, present, and potential future contributions to innovative pedagogical practices as described in their Teaching Innovation Statement and Teaching Enhancement Project Proposal.
  3. The overall adaptability of the proposed Teaching Enhancement Project to the broader Virginia Tech community and alignment with this year’s theme:  critical and inclusive pedagogy in all fields at Virginia Tech.


Winners will receive a $1000 award and up to $500 to support the Teaching Enhancement Project and dissemination. If awarded as a team, funds are to be divided among the team.


    • Monday, January 22, 2018 - Deadline for receipt of nominations
    • Monday, February 5, 2018 - Finalists are notified and invited for an interview with the Diggs Association.
    • Monday, February 26, 2018 - Winners are sent award offers and asked to confirm acceptance and commitment to serving in Diggs for three years.
    • August/September 2018 - Winners attend the University Award Ceremony for recognition.