SPPS Educator of the Year Award

The University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical values excellence in teaching, education and the scholarship of teaching and learning. 

The SPPS Educator of the Year honors faculty and staff members who demonstrate a dedication to high quality education through the enhancement of (1) student learning and (2) contributions to the advancement of teaching and learning knowledge in undergraduate, professional and/or graduate education.

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Award Criteria

The awardee will demonstrate excellence in one or more of the following four educational themes*:

1. Teaching and Learning

Common characteristics of good teachers include:  Positive student-faculty contact, effective active learning, achievable yet high expectations for learners, respect for diverse talents and ways of learning, effective communication skills, ongoing course improvements, introduction of pedagogical innovations, commitment to teaching well.  These characteristics are typically highlighted in student and peer evaluations and letters of support.

2. Scholarly Teaching

Scholarly teaching involves innovation in course design, development and implementation**; course improvements; enhancements in student learning through pedagogical and active learning approaches.  Scholarly teaching also promotes student engagement and learning using the educational literature and systematically assesses learning outcomes.  The purpose of scholarly teaching is to impact the activity of teaching and the resulting learning.  Scholarly teaching often incorporates:

  • observing a teaching-learning problem or opportunity
  • consulting literature
  • selecting and applying an educational intervention
  • conducting systematic observation
  • documenting observations
  • analyzing results and obtaining peer evaluation

3. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL)

SOTL goes beyond Scholarly Teaching and disseminates the application in the literature through publication or other peer-reviewed avenues.  SOTL builds on the end product of Scholarly Teaching.  It involves identifying key issues from scholarly teaching, analyzing results and putting them into the context of the existing knowledge base.

4. Contributions to the School's Academic Reputation

  • educational / academic activities aligned with the school’s mission, vision and values
  • community educational activities with SPPS students
  • faculty advisor to SPPS student professional organization
  • active committee roles in educational organizations at the university, state and/or national levels
  • impactful SPPS student advising and mentoring
  • volunteer service in SPPS activities (e.g., SPPS Reads, Open House, Summer Institute, Dean’s Alumni Ambassador, etc)
  • presentations (poster / podium) of educational activities at regional or national meetings

*=Elements of the award description and criteria are derived from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy faculty awards in Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Emerging Teaching Scholar.

**=Major innovations are eligible for Educational Innovation of Year.

Award Process and Procedure

The Office of Academic Affairs will manage the overall process, with supporting help from other units as needed.

Award Timeline

Spring Semester Week


Number of Weeks to Complete the Action


Call for Nominations



Nominee Dossier Preparation and Submission



Committee Review and Selection



Awardee Announcement and Recognition



AACP Notification of SPPS Educator of the Year 


Award Eligibility

Any SPPS affiliated faculty or staff with an instructional role at the SPPS undergraduate, professional (P1-P3 PharmD) and graduate levels*.  Educator of the Year awardees from the previous two years are ineligible.

Nominees may submit dossiers for only one award, Educator of the Year or Educational Innovation of the Year, in any given academic year.

*=Appropriate preceptor awards exist for the P4 APPE / P2-P3 IPPE experiences.


Nominations for Educator of the Year will be solicited from students, faculty, staff and alumni, who have knowledge of the nominee’s educational effectiveness and impact.  Self-nominations will also be accepted.

Nominations should include a brief description of

  • How the nominee has demonstrated excellence in any of the educational themes listed above.
  • The situation in which the nominator directly observed or experienced excellence in the educational themes.

Nominations must be submitted online.

Nominees will be notified at the beginning of week 7.  In addition, SPPS recognition of all nominees will be promulgated to all SPPS members, irrespective of whether the nominee chooses to submit a dossier.

Late nominations past the deadline will not be accepted.

Awardee Recognition

The Committee Chair notifies the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the awardee. The Associate Dean, in turn, informs the awardee of the recognition. The Committee Chair will compose a brief, one minute statement highlighting the awardee’s accomplishments to be read at commencement.  The awardee will come on stage to receive a plaque.

The award consists of a plaque and $1,000 in an account for professional development and support to attend the AACP Annual meeting and the AACP “Teacher of the Year” Luncheon.