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Leahy Faculty Award For Learning Innovations:

Call for Nominations

Description of the award: This award was established in memory of Patricia Leahy, a PT faculty member here, to acknowledge faculty's innovative efforts to increase their students' learning. For almost a decade, an anonymous donor annually supported the Patricia Leahy InnOvations with Learning (OWL) award. In 2004 the donor established an endowment to continue this award in perpetuity. After a terrible accident, Patricia Leahy was our donor's physical therapist. He felt that Patricia Leahy was especially helpful to get him to walk again. Soon after that Patricia Leahy was unable to conquer her own personal tragedy. To memorialize a truly innovative teacher, our donor, Dr. Charles Gibley, supported the InnOvations with Learning award and it became the Patricia Leahy OWL award. To more accurately reflect the purpose of the award, the name was changed to the Patricia Leahy Award for Learning Innovations.

Faculty members' use of new instructional strategies typically require much planning time, a willingness to take risks, reflection on what is happening, and an ability to make changes when necessary. As the title implies, this award's emphasis is on innovations that increase student learning.

One of the original purposes of the award was to recognize faculty who are experimenting with their teaching and to provide a dissemination vehicle for their innovative idea. With the success of the Teaching and Learning Center's annual editions of the Document of Innovations, many of the USP faculty's wonderful innovative ideas are being disseminated across the campus. Some of them have been adapted and used by other people. Thus, the Document of Innovations has assumed some of the purposes of the award. A higher goal of the award is to recognize faculty who are implementing large scale innovations, or ones with great impact. All submissions are now being included in the Document of Innovations.

Appropriate innovations: The innovation must have had a large impact on student learning. Examples of large impact on student learning include a much more desirable course learning outcome especially compared to a previous approach, or a more positive attitude towards learning the material. These innovations might include completely revising a course, revising an entire educational program, integrating several courses or disciplines, greatly changing how students learn or are assessed in a course, or a course with a new approach. A completely new course taught in an innovative way is also eligible. The innovation must have been implemented at least twice. The second or later implementations should reflect feedback and insights from the earlier version(s) of the innovation. The most successful innovations have been implemented repeatedly. The faculty must have assessment data (quantitative or qualitative) that substantiates that the innovation has had a large impact on student learning.

The number of students who participate in the course is not a relevant consideration since course sizes vary so much at USciences.

Groups of faculty who have collaborated on the development of a new approach are encouraged to apply. Inter-course or interdisciplinary innovations are also encouraged.

Eligibility: Full-time faculty members who are in at least their third year of employment at University of the Sciences may apply. The award winner(s) from the previous year are not eligible to apply, but may apply again in subsequent years. Faculty who did not win in previous years are encouraged to reapply. To strengthen their proposal they might want to improve their innovation the assessment of its impact, or the clarity of their submission. The innovation must have been developed by the submitter(s) and implemented within the last two years. The strategy need not be original; adaptations of innovations tried elsewhere are acceptable. Faculty members may only submit one nomination for which they are the primary innovator per year, but secondary authors may be primary on a different innovation submitted the same year. If several courses were innovative, the instructor may group all of them together into an integrated submission showing how all of his/her teaching has changed.

Selection Criteria:

1. How innovative is the idea. The submitter(s) should describe how the course was taught before the innovation to show how innovative it is now. Submitters of new courses may also describe how it is innovative compared to other courses. Since teaching is so diverse, the submission should discuss why this course is innovative within a particular discipline or with this particular type of class.

2. Clear description of what was done including 1) a description of the rationale or goals of the innovative educational activity; 2) a description of the innovation and its implementation; 3) outcomes, especially learning outcomes; 4) a discussion of the impact of the innovation; 5) a reflection on what is working and why it is working. This should include an analysis of how the innovation was improved over time and how this innovation will be used in the future: either improved upon or implemented as is; 6) a description of student reaction to the innovation and; 7) an articulation of why this innovation had an impact. These seven criteria will form the basis of the submission.

3. A statement of learning outcomes and how they were assessed. This should include a description of the impact on student learning. The submission should include credible quantitative or qualitative data on the assessment of student learning or attitudes. For example, better overall scores on tests, more students doing well in the course, or better student products due to changes made by the instructor, especially compared to a previous approach. Data that suggests students have a more positive attitude towards learning the material, such as data from focus groups or surveys, may be provided in addition to or instead of the data mentioned above.

4. Clarity of the entire submission (the written documents and the poster presentation) will impact the judges' ranking.

If in the opinion of the judges, none of the submissions are worthy of the award, no award will be given that year.

All faculty who submit may request feedback on how they can improve their innovation and how they can increase their chances of winning in the future.

Submission materials: Each of the following should be submitted:

1) Complete the following innovations description template.

2) A 2-3 paper abstract using 12 font size and a standard easy to read font and an electronic copy of the same submission. This is safeguard to be sure we received the submissions as occasionally electronic submissions have not been received. The description should address the innovation, its impact and how you determined that it had a large impact. Submitters should address each of the selection criteria. Along with the demographic information given in the template, this narrative will be published in the annual edition of the Document of Innovations.

3) Supplemental material containing assessment data such as tables, figures, graphs, etc. may be included in an appendix. This appendix is limited to 3 pages.

4) If the innovation was submitted or accepted for a presentation at a professional meeting or published in a referred publication, it should be noted. Authors may place narrative or tables from these publications in the description. This is not a criterion for selection.

5) Present a poster at the annual Teaching and Center Educational Innovations Poster Day in May. Large professional looking posters are not required; individual Powerpoint slides are fine. Since judges interact with the presenters, it is a good idea to be present, but this is not a requirement. If technology will enhance the clarity of the presentation, it may be used. Using technology is not part of the selection criteria.

Judges Scoring Rubrics of the Leahy Award

Component 1 - lowest rating 2 3 4 - Highest rating
How innovative is the idea for the discipline and type of course. Not at all innovative. Somewhat innovative in scope. Is an innovative idea, but may not have any further applications within his course or elsewhere. Is a brilliant idea that will be maintained, or could be adapted to other courses or situations.
Description of what was done including
1) goals,
2) mplementation,
3) its impact and
4)why it had this impact
5)reflection on why it is working, and 6) student reaction
Description is unclear or incomplete Description includes less than half of the aspect listed in the selection criteria or less than half are clear Clearly describes
4-5 aspects listed in the selection criteria, a few are not clear.
Very clearly describes all six of the aspects listed in on the left.
A statement of learning outcomes and how they were assessed. Lacks credible data or a description of the impact on student learning. While data are given it is not clear what is the impact since comparisons are no given. Innovation has some impact on student learning. Innovation shows a great deal of impact on learning.
Analysis of how the innovation was improved over time and how it will continue. Innovation has not been sustained or will not be continued. Shows limited insight into how it was or will improve or for new courses is an improvement over what is done in other courses. Shows continued improvement over time, with some insights into why and how it improved. For new courses, a clear rationale for why this is an improvement over other courses. Sustained implementation, shows continued improvement over time, with insights into why and how it improved. For new courses, describe why and how this is an improvement over other courses.
Clarity of the entire submission (the written documents and the poster presentation.) Entire submission lacks clarity. Either the poster or the abstract is clear, but the other one is not clear. Description is clear and understandable. Description is extremely clear. Readers or attendees at the session can understand the idea easily without clarification.

Please complete the form, electronically that may be found at
Innovation Submission Form

Deadline for submission: The Monday after classes resume from Spring Break.

    Review Committee: The review committee will be composed of previous Leahy/OWL recipients and selected members of the Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee to help balance the committee

    Recognition: The winner will be announced at the annual Faculty Council Recognition Luncheon. The Patricia Leahy Award for Learning Innovation award will be given a cash prize, a plaque and his/her name will be inscribed on the cumulative plaque. Top candidates will also be recognized.

Recipients of Previous Leahy/OWL Awards:

  • 1994 Susan P. Barker, M.S.
  • 1994 Leigh Ann Hewston, M.Ed.
  • 1994 Rick S. Hock, Ph.D.
  • 1994 John R. Porter, Ph.D.
  • 1995 Anthony G. Calamai, Ph.D.
  • 1995 Lisa E. Davis, PharmD.
  • 1995 Motria M. Krowczenuak, PharmD.
  • 1995 Margaret T. Weis, Ph.D.
  • 1996 Susan P. Barker, M.S. |
  • 1996 Leigh Ann Hewston, M.Ed.
  • 1996 Charlotte Gale, M.A.
  • 1996 Alison Mostrom, Ph.D.
  • 1996 Paul Halpern, Ph.D.
  • 1997 Peter Miller, M.H.S.
  • 1998 James C. Pierce, Ph.D.
  • 1998 Clyde M. Ofner, III, Ph.D.
  • 1999 Z. Annette Iglarsh, Ph.D.
  • 2001 Robert L. Feldman, M.S.
  • 2002 Barbara Bendl, M.Ed.
  • 2002 Alison Mostrom, Ph.D.
  • 2002 Amy Kimchuk, M.A.
  • 2002 Kevin C. Wolbach, M.S.
  • 2003 Peter J. Miller, Ph.D.
  • 2004 Ellen Flannery-Schroeder, Ph.D.
  • 2005 Andrew M. Peterson, PharmD.
  • 2006 Bernard J. Brunner, Ph.D.
  • 2007 Karen J. Tietze, PharmD.
  • 2008 Salar Alsardary, Ph.D.
  • 2009 Christine Flanagan, MFA
  • 2010 Alison Mostrom, Ph.D.
  • 2010 Catherine Purzycki, M.S.
  • 2010 Kevin Wolbach, M.S.
  • 2010 Jason Porter, B.S.
  • 2010 Leslie Ann Bowman, A.M.L.S.
  • 2010 Eva Agbada, M.L.S.
  • 2012 Therese E. Johnston, PT, PhD, MBA


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