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Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence

The purpose of the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) is to recognize excellence in teaching in Virginia’s community colleges.

The Awards
The Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence is awarded annually to one teaching faculty member in the VCCS who distinctly represents the teaching excellence found at VCCS college(s). The award provides the recipient with a VCCS stole and $5,000. One nomination per campus will be accepted. 

Eligible applicants:

  • Are full-time teaching faculty with unrestricted rank and salary proposals,
  • Possess a minimum of five years of full-time VCCS service during which at least 75% of the workload was devoted to teaching, and
  • Are recommended by the president of the employing institution

Note: The VCCS will consider one applicant per campus.

Selection of the Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence recipient is made by a committee comprised of one college president, one academic vice president, two deans (one academic and one student services), three faculty members, one student, and the Director of Professional Development.

The criteria on which the recipient is selected reflect the following:

1. Instructional Effectiveness:

  • encourages active learning
  • respects diverse talents and ways of knowing
  • creates and offers many options for learning
  • gives prompt feedback
  • emphasizes time on task
  • assesses student learning through documentation
  • promotes a complete range of thinking skills
  • integrates the acquisition of basic academic success skills and academic values into course work
  • integrates technology appropriately into teaching and learning
  • understands current trends and issues related to pedagogy and the discipline

2. Student Focus:

  • promotes positive student relationships
  • encourages cooperation among students (through group work or projects, collaborative
    learning communities, or other mechanisms)
  • engages learners as full partners in the learning process, with learners assuming responsibility for their own choices
  • communicates high expectations
  • encourages personal development, work and career preparation
  • creates change in learners
  • engages students in activities outside of the classroom such as clubs, organizations, tutoring, field trips, or similar activities

3. Discipline Competence:

  • possesses specific knowledge and skills
  • maintains currency through discipline-related professional development

4.    Personal Attributes:

  • models life-long learning
  • engages in positive working relationships with students, colleagues, departments, campuses, and/or community
  • affirms and participates in shaping a college’s culture (mission, vision, and values)
  • demonstrates clear reasoning skills

Note: All four criteria stated above will be given equal weight by the Selection Committee.

Application Process

The Application Packet

The completed application packet for the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence must include these two items (additional materials are not accepted):

  • An electronic information document containing a 150-word abstract of information in the proposal, narrative that provides compelling evidence of the nominee’s excellence (Maximum length is 5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1” margins all around. It is strongly recommended that the material in the narrative be organized by the four criteria presented above.), a syllabus of a class taught within the last five years, and a one-page letter of support from the president of the nominee’s institution (screen shot of the actual letter with the president’s signature).
  • An electronic demonstration document featuring the nominee engaged in teaching that demonstrates aspects of the four criteria listed below. To strengthen the connection to the four criteria, the applicant should consider organizing the document by those criteria. The demonstration document must be submitted in the format specified. Examples could include: Video of the applicants teaching or working with student(s). Maximum length is 6 minutes. [This must be submitted as a Quicktime (.mov) file.], or Screen shots from an online class, copied into a MS Word document, no more than 10 pages, or Text from student discussion boards, copied into a MS Word document, no more than 10 pages, or A Powerpoint presentation.

The Submission Process

  • All documents (information and demonstration) are to be burned onto a CD that is to be sent by the Chief Academic Officer of the college to the VCCS Coordinator of Professional Development. It must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on April 25th. The deadline date is the same every year. If the due date falls on a weekend, then the following Monday will serve as the due date.
  • Application materials on campus nominees from multi-campus colleges are to be submitted in one group representing the college by the Chief Academic Officer of the college.
  • Nomination packets that are incomplete, do not comply with the submission requirements, exceed the specified length, or include additional materials beyond those required will not be considered.
  • Applicants should note that occasionally colleges have internal deadlines for application for this award. Be sure to check with your college to make sure you are complying with any internal deadlines or processes.

Connection to the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award
It is expected that the preparation of materials for the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence will position a college and its nominee(s) to address related criteria for the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award.


November 15       The Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence for the upcoming year is announced and posted on the VCCS Professional Development web site.
April 25 Nomination packets are due to Michael Weisbrod, VCCS Coordinator of Professional Development, at the system office.
June The Selection Committee chooses recipient.
November Chancellor announces recipient at the State Board for Community Colleges Annual Meeting. Additional announcements are distributed through the VCCS Office of Institutional Advancement and the VCCS Office of Professional Development web site.

For more information on the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, contact Mr. Michael Weisbrod, Coordinator of Professional Development, at


Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence Recipients


2012 Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to:

Callan Bentley
Assistant Professor of Geology
Northern Virginia Community College

2011 Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to:

Steve Huff
Associate Professor of
Communication Design
Virginia Western Community College

2010 Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to:

Brent Kendrick
Professor of English
Lord Fairfax Community College

2009 Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to:

Kim Hoosier
Associate Professor of Sociology
Piedmont Virginia Community College

2008 Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence Awardee

Congratulations to:

Marty Zahn
Associate Professor of Biology
Thomas Nelson Community College

For more information and photos of our CATE recipients, click here.


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