Bethel, K., Fuhrman, N., Copenheaver, C., & Hollandsworth, K. (2021). Winning an external teaching award in higher education: Teacher identity and recipient characteristics. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(2), 201-216. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.02201
Many universities and professional associations recognize excellence in teaching with awards;
however, research findings on the impact of an award on teaching identity are mixed. The objective of
this study was to qualify the impact of receiving a National or Regional United States Department of
Agriculture Teaching, Extension, and Research Award (TERA) on teaching identity. Secondarily, this
study explored how well award-winning teachers’ self-identities and behaviors corresponded with
recognized characteristics of excellent teaching. A phenomenological approach utilizing semistructured
interviews and researcher reflexivity was used to gather information from 12 TERA
recipients. Findings indicate that faculty members recognized for excellence in teaching demonstrate
known characteristics of effective teachers, seek guidance from the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning, and feel that teaching continues to be less valued than research in their institutional cultures.
Results suggest that departmental and college level administrators can foster subcultures that promote
teaching excellence through access to professional development opportunities, support for peer
mentoring and evaluation, and revised promotion and tenure policies that recognize teaching
effectiveness as a productivity metric.