2012 Call for Nominations: European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Central European University is pleased to announce the second annual European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities.  This pioneering award, first announced in 2011 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Central European University, honors academics in the social sciences and humanities who teach at higher education institutions in countries of the European Higher Education Area.

With both teaching and research at the core of its mission, Central European University is committed to promoting excellence in teaching and the advancement of the social sciences and humanities. The European Award for Excellence in Teaching underscores this commitment, and it aims further to contribute to recent efforts in higher education on the European level that focus on the importance of teaching and learning.

Last year in response to the announcement of the 2012 inaugural Award, CEU received nominations from over ten European countries in support of faculty whose work spanned a wide range of academic areas.  High interest in the project, an impressive group of finalists, and overall positive feedback confirmed the significance and need for continued efforts in this area.  We are extremely pleased, therefore, to announce the second annual European Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Background of the Award

The original idea to initiate such an Award stemmed from an observation that in recent years, a strong emphasis has been placed at the European level on research in higher education. Research-related activities and achievements have attracted particular attention and recognition, also illustrated by the creation of European funding programs and awards for research.  This emphasis has been particularly severe in the social sciences and humanities. It was reflected, moreover, in the absence, until recently, of major systematic initiatives at the European level to recognize the value of teaching.

Recently, however, there have been strong indications that policy makers in Europe are starting to realize that teaching could, should and does play an important role in higher education. This recognizes that, in conjunction with research, teaching in support of student knowledge construction within and across disciplines, general education, and professional training at the higher education level have an important role to play in a “knowledge society.”

Although a number of universities offer their own teaching awards and various professional and other associations offer prizes within subject areas, prior to the establishment of the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities, there appeared to be no significant pan-European rewards for teaching excellence in higher education in the social sciences and humanities. The European Award was designed to address this need: it is intended both to promote better teaching and to enhance recognition of the importance of teaching throughout Europe.


Selection Criteria for the European Award for Excellence in Teaching

All candidates must have an outstanding overall teaching record and be able to demonstrate inspiring and life-changing effects on students. In addition, each candidate must show exemplary experience in one or more of these practices:

  • applying innovative teaching methods
  • combining theory and practice, relevance and scholarly excellence
  • using research elements to achieve excellence in teaching
  • applying problem-based/problem-oriented teaching
  • achievements in encouragement of critical thinking
  • sustained commitment to teaching excellence, rather than one-off achievements

Nominations of candidates working with students from less affluent or disadvantaged social backgrounds are particularly welcome.


Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible, a candidate must be:

  • an academic instructor of any rank in the Social Sciences and/or Humanities

Candidates nominated previously are eligible, and we welcome their nomination for this year’s award.

Current and former faculty members of Central European University are not eligible for nomination.


Nomination and Selection Process

Candidates may be nominated by:

  • individual members of higher education institutions in member countries of the European Higher Education Area
  • administrators in such educational institutions
  • external stakeholders such as representatives of employers or other organizations
  • current or former students

All evidence in support of the nomination will be submitted to Central European University and collected in two stages.


How to Nominate a Candidate for the Award

1) In the first stage, a person wishing to nominate a candidate for the award must submit the following documents by no later than January 31, 2013. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. All submitted documents must be in English.

  • a detailed statement in support of the nomination (approximately 1,000 words)
  • the candidate’s curriculum vitae (or resume) and contact information
    • contact information for the higher education institution, including a contact person who would be able to assist with stage two of the selection process as outlined below.

2) In the second stage of the selection process, Central European University will contact finalist nominees and the higher education institution where he/she teaches to obtain additional information in support of the nomination. Should the person making the initial nomination have access to any of the additional information listed below, those materials should be submitted during the first stage of the nomination process.

Additional supporting evidence may include:

  • a narrative from the nominee explaining how his/her teaching made a difference, accompanied by any relevant documents
  • testimonials from former and/or current students, colleagues, university administrators, or others who have firsthand knowledge of the candidate’s teaching achievements
  • formal teaching performance documents such as internal evaluation reports
    • a written and/or audiovisual portfolio demonstrating “excellence in teaching” and corresponding impact on students

The selection process will be coordinated by Central European University, which will serve as the Secretariat. Candidates will be evaluated by a four- or five-member selection committee drawn from higher education institutions worldwide.



1. Nominations for the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities will be accepted until January 31, 2013. Nominations should be sent electronically to: TeachingAward@ceu.hu

Or by post to:

Central European University

Center for Teaching and Learning

Attn.: European Award for Excellence in Teaching

Nádor u. 15, Budapest

1051 Hungary

The selection process will be completed by Spring 2013. The award competition is intended to be conducted annually.

2. Central European University will send an email to acknowledge receipt of the nomination within two weeks of the submission.

3. Central European University will contact the nominee and the relevant higher education institution for additional information.

4. The award winner will be notified shortly after the selection committee’s final meeting.

5. Once the winner has accepted her/his award, the competition results will be shared with all the nominees via email.

6. Because the name of the winner will be publicized widely, he/she must consent during the nomination process to all award-related publicity and recognition.

7. Awards will be presented at a ceremony coordinated with the winner.


European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities

The award winner will receive a prize of 5,000 EUR, made possible by funding from a generous anonymous donor "In Memory of Ilona Diener."  The award winner will also be invited to give a lecture at Central European University, subject to his/her availability. The prize is coordinated by Central European University.