Rock the vote: the Lindback Award at ‘Nova



Tara Powers

Villanova students will be able to nominate their favorite professors for the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award beginning within the next week.

The award is presented to one full-time faculty member each year and has been awarded at Villanova since 1961.

The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation funds a cash prize for the award recipient, although the amount of this stipend has changed over time.

Past recipients of the award include Dr. John Immerwahr of the philosophy department, Dr. Theresa Capriotti of the College of Nursing and Dr. Anthony Godzieba of the theology department. A professor can only receive the award once.

The nomination and selection process takes places in three stages.

The first stage is student voting; ‘Nova students beyond their first year will be able to nominate three professors they feel are most deserving of recognition.

A system-wide e-mail will be sent out to inform students about the voting process.

The e-mail will include a link to Novasis, which will lead students to the voting interface.

Reminder e-mails will follow until the student casts his or her vote.

“I’m going to fill up their inboxes ’til they vote, and then they’ll stop receiving them,” said Dr. Rick Eckstein, chair of the Lindback Award Committee and professor of sociology.

In the second stage, a committee of six former Lindback recipients, as well as one student representative, will gather to review the student responses and take a tally of the votes.

“We extract anywhere from 10 to 15 people who will represent each college,” Eckstein said. “Each college must have at least two nominees.”

This list is then passed on to full-time faculty members, who cast one vote each for the colleague they feel merits the award.

During the third stage, the committee will use the data from student and faculty voting along with previous years’ results, valuing consistent nominations and longevity at Villanova to compile a list of five to six finalists.

A portfolio is then collected from each of the finalists that includes syllabi, exams and teaching philosophies.

In addition, two members of the committee observe a class taught by each finalist.

“I’m very excited to see some of ‘Nova’s best teachers at work,” said senior Elizabeth McElwee, this year’s student representative for the committee. “This is a great opportunity for students to recognize some of the great professors at ‘Nova and show them their work is appreciated.”

The committee also looks for the finalists to have developed new courses, demonstrated curricular innovation and increased student engagement to make students more active learners.

“It’s important to the committee that someone has been having a solid career and does this over and over again, that they have a track record of superior teaching,” Eckstein said.

This year, for the first time, the Faculty Congress is coordinating the introduction of a new teaching award for adjunct faculty.

Funds have been secured that will provide for a cash prize for this award as well, although planning is still in its initial stages.

Students will be able to nominate three adjunct faculty members for this award on the same Web site that the Lindback votes are cast.

Last year, out of nearly 4,000 eligible students, about 1,000 voted, according to Eckstein.

“We did better last year because the people in UNIT came up with a great interface,” Eckstein said. “This is a chance the students have to direct where we go – everything starts from the student list.”

Voting will continue until the end of classes this semester, and the awards will be presented at graduation ceremonies in May.