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University Teaching Fellowship Program

This program is no longer active.  This website serves as a representation of the UTF Program website as it appeared during the life of the program (1992-2011).

The University Teaching Fellows Program (1992-2011) aims to help our most intellectually sound and successful junior faculty members develop into exceptionally fine teachers. Thus the selection committee—comprised of award-winning faculty—seeks to choose each year junior faculty members who show promise of becoming both eminent researchers and inspiring teachers. In existence at the University of Virginia since 1992, this Program remains true to the original goals of these fellowships as created at the Lilly Endowment: we provide support to impressive junior faculty as they refine their teaching expertise while pursuing strong research agendas.

In addition, University Teaching Fellows develop an interdisciplinary network of colleagues who face similar challenges in their academic careers despite their wide range of academic interests, and many former University Teaching Fellows emphasize the positive impact the program has had on helping them develop their careers as scholars:

In fact, the Lilly Program enticed me to reconceptualize nearly everything that I was doing, not only in the classroom, but also on the way I do research, and on the sense of responsibility I have to my academic community. (Fellow from humanities, 1994-95)

The optional meeting with the Provost and Vice Provost epitomized the depth of the Program: one graduates, so to speak, not only a better teacher, with a shining array of new teaching methods, but also a junior faculty member who no longer sees the University as an impenetrable, hostile hierarchy, but as a working system, in which junior faculty are an important and respected part of the intellectual community. (Fellow from humanities, 1997-98)

Needless to say, my students have already benefited tremendously from my involvement in the Lilly Program, but as a wonderful and unexpected gift, I have also begun to see more actively the close connection between my teaching and research. They no longer seem such antagonistic forces, each competing greedily for my time. (Fellow in social science, 1992-93)

The Fellows Program gave me ideas on how to balance academic life to fulfill not only teaching responsibilities but also scholarship activities. The Teaching Fellows Program is uniquely valuable to junior faculty members wishing to improve their teaching experience and balance their academic careers. (Fellow from science, 1997-98)

The Teaching Resource Center opened a new world inside the University for me, one where success is coupled with a sense of ease, and where collaboration and dialogue among colleagues is valued more than individualistic competition. (Fellow from humanities, 1998-99)

The Teaching Fellows Program provides significant interaction between colleagues at the University from such diverse disciplines as music, religious studies, foreign languages, engineering, and so on. Thus it becomes an important program for junior faculty development. (Fellow from engineering, 1997-98)

The University Teaching Fellows Program achieves such goals as these:

  • Enables faculty Fellows to reconsider one or more of the undergraduate courses they frequently teach, with an eye to making their academic disciplines clear to their students.
  • Offers Fellows and Mentors opportunities to explore together effective teaching technologies, strategies, and course designs, as well as to develop innovations.
  • Encourages interdisciplinary discussion about a wide variety of teaching and professional issues, including, for instance, communicating with students and integrating teaching and research.
  • Develops collegiality, extending the intellectual community and enriching the faculty.
  • Encourages Fellows and Mentors to develop an ongoing critical eye toward their own teaching.

Faculty members chosen as University Teaching Fellows receive a research grant during the summer at the end of their fellowship year to support them in developing one or more new or existing undergraduate courses. Throughout the academic year, they meet for monthly workshops and a September retreat in order to learn more about course design and teaching with specialists from inside and outside U.Va. Other Program activities include confidential, individual work with a Mentor (selected by each Fellow) and one or two work-in-progress meetings to share ideas about ongoing course development projects.