A standing committee of Union College dedicated to excellence in teaching
A standing committee of Union College dedicated to excellence in teaching at Union College
The Committee on Teaching & Advising (COTA) is responsible for several tasks, including selecting the annual recipient of the Stillman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the Donald C. Brate Distinguished Advising Prize . Members of COTA work with the Director of Faculty Development (DFD) to create and implement programs, presentations, guest speakers, and workshops in the area of teaching in order to help ensure that faculty members reach their full potential as teachers and as academic advisers. COTA seeks to increase opportunities for faculty to engage in productive discussions to invigorate the teaching enterprise as it takes place within, but also outside, the classroom. In pursuit of these objectives, COTA pays special attention to nurturing beginning faculty members and supporting faculty at all levels to effectively incorporate innovative strategies, technologies, formats, and best practices.
The Committee is composed of the Director of Faculty Development, the Director of Advising, and five faculty members, broadly representing various Departments and Interdisciplinary Studies Programs across the College’s four divisions. An effort will be made to constitute the committee with representatives from among the Lecturer, junior faculty, and senior faculty ranks. Members will be invited to serve on the committee by the Director of Faculty Development. The duration of the term is expected to be two- or three-years depending on availability and composition of the group. Those interested in serving should notify the Director of Faculty Development. The Committee meets each term with the Director of Faculty Development to set out goals and topics for the committee. Some activities may occur as part of the standing Faculty Development Lunch Series, or independently. The committee may occasionally call on local education professionals to provide insights, suggestions and awareness of issues facing teaching in higher education.
Stillman Prize for Excellence in Teaching
The Stillman Prize was created by Abbott L. Stillman '69, member of the College's Board of Trustees, David Stillman '72 and Allan Stillman in honor of Abraham Stillman, father and grandfather. Faculty members are nominated by students for the prize, which is awarded to a faculty member each year who makes the classroom a place that combines excitement, joy, and challenge. The winner is chosen by the Committee on Teaching from a list of finalists after interviews with students and a review of supporting letters. The winner will be announced at the Commencement ceremony and awarded at the Opening Convocation.
The 2020-2021 Stillman Prize for Excellence in Teaching is awarded to Professor Nicole Theodosiou, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.
Donald C. Brate Distinguished Advising Prize
In the Spring of 2009 the Dean of Studies established an Advising Prize to "recognize and reward a member of the Union College community who has excelled as an academic adviser." Each year, the Dean of Studies and COTA request nominations from members of the senior, junior and sophomore classes. COTA then reviews the nominations and makes a recommendation to the Dean.
The Donald C. Brate Distinguished Advising Prize for 2020-2021 is awarded to Heather Watson, John D. MacArthur Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy