Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA) Committee

For over 40 years, the Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA) has recognized exceptional teaching and dedication to the Institute’s mission and students. The DTA Committee reviews nominations made by the student body and recommends candidate(s) to the Senate, which confers the award jointly with the administration and Board of Trustees. The recipient addresses the student body at Commencement and presents the mace at graduation ceremonies.
View past winners


Members, 2023–24

The Distinguished Teacher Award Committee consists of 7–11 voting members: the chair of the committee, who is elected by the Senate from among constituents; at least four Senate constituents each drawn from different schools, as well as the Library and, jointly, those departments not associated with a school; and one undergraduate and one graduate student selected by student government. Committee members need not be senators to be elected.

  • Dean Sidaway, Chair (Associate Professor, Fashion Design, School of Design)
  • Jim Finn (Associate Professor, Film and Video, School of Art)
  • Daisuke Endo (Adjunct Assistant Professor, UG Communications Design, School of Design)
  • Steven Pestana (Adjunct Instructor, Digital Arts, School of Art)
  • Laura Henriksen (Visiting Assistant Professor, Writing, School of Liberal Arts & Sciences)
  • Alex Austin (Student Success and Assessment Librarian, Library)
  • Lakshya K N (Undergraduate Student)
  • Jackson Chen (Graduate Student)

The committee chair is elected each spring for the upcoming academic year, and committee members are elected each fall. See Nominations for details on deadlines and procedures.

Senate officers are non-voting ex-officio members of every Senate committee unless otherwise elected, appointed, or specified.


The Distinguished Teacher Award Committee

  • coordinates nominations by the student body and competition for the annual medal design,
  • determines eligibility and criteria of excellence in teaching to guide review of candidates, and
  • recommends the Distinguished Teacher Award candidate(s) to the Senate no later than the March meeting of the Senate each year.

The DTA Committee Chair, as well as part-time faculty serving on the committee, receive compensation according to the Senate Compensation Policy and Standing Rules.

Nominations & Elections

The DTA committee chair and members are nominated from and by constituents and elected by the Senate each year. See Nominations for details on deadlines and procedures.

Meeting Minutes


DTA Selection Process

(Approved by the Senate on January 31, 2017.)

The Pratt Institute Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA) originates with the student body and is then conferred by the Academic Senate, the Administration and the Board of Trustees. As such, it is an all-Institute recognition. Nominations of the Distinguished Teacher by students are by electronic balloting. Selection is made by the DTA Committee, which forwards its recommendations to the Senate. The Senate forwards the finalist to the Administration for approval by the Board of Trustees.

E-balloting and committee deliberations are designed to provide a democratic selection process that assures the anonymity of nominations and accuracy of results. Each eligible student may submit one e-ballot containing nominations for up to three different faculty candidates. The process includes the following safeguards:

  1. Authentication of student eligibility
  2. Preservation of anonymity of student nominators and confidentiality of nominations.
  3. Conformance to nomination rules.
  4. Validation of nominations.
  5. Validation of electoral results.

E-Balloting Process

  1. Student will receive an email with a unique link.
  2. Student clicks on the link to vote and goes to the e-ballot page.
  3. Student fills out e-ballot and submits form.
  4. Information is stored in the voter database along with student ID number for retrieval and verification upon the close of nominations. Student names are not shown on the voter database.
  5. Email reminders will be sent only to students who’ve not yet voted.

Nomination Criteria

The following suggested criteria for determining excellence in teaching should be used as a guideline, not as a list of requirements. It is recommended that faculty candidates should demonstrate the following:

  1. Subject expertise and the ability to impart this expertise to students.
  2. Current and relevant activity in the discipline or profession.
  3. Thorough preparation for class.
  4. Helpful academic and career advisement of students.
  5. Collegiality and cooperation campus-wide, good rapport with students.

Faculty Eligibility

  1. Recipients must be employed (full-time or part-time) a minimum of four semesters (not necessarily consecutively) at Pratt Institute.
  2. Previous recipients of the award are eligible after a class generation of 5 years.
  3. Faculty may be nominated as a team only if a course is team-taught.
  4. Faculty with student status (who may be taking a class), are eligible as long as they are not self-nominated.
  5. The President of the Academic Senate is not eligible.
  6. The Award may be given posthumously.

Student Eligibility

  1. Eligible student nominators include all undergraduate and graduate students with One-Key credentials.
  2. Each eligible student may nominate a faculty member only once and each eligible student may nominate up to three faculty candidates.