Metcalf Awards

Metcalf Cup and Prize and
Metcalf Awards for Excellence in Teaching


The Cup and Prize and the Awards were established in 1973 by a gift from the late Dr. Arthur G. B. Metcalf to create “a systematic procedure for the review of the quality of teaching at Boston University and the identification and advancement of those members of the faculty who excel as teachers.”

The following criteria are used to select winners of the Metcalf Cup and Prize and Awards:

  1. Excellence in teaching in the context of a research institution:  to what extent does the nominee engage students in the results and creation of new research, scholarship and creative work (i.e., new discoveries, new ideas, new creative work in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professions)? To what extent does the nominee excel across the range of teaching opportunities, including effectively mentoring graduate and/or undergraduate research projects?
  2. Challenge and ambition:  How, and how much, does the nominee challenge students intellectually?
  3. Engagement:  how and to what extent does the nominee engage students in active learning (which could mean discussions, interactive lectures, group and individual projects, service or community-based research and learning, presentations, responsibility for the learning of classmates, etc.)?
  4. Thoughtful evaluation of student work:  how careful and effective is the nominee in providing feedback aimed at improving student work?

The Metcalf Prize and Award winners are selected by the Provost’s Faculty Teaching Awards Committee, which consists of the Chair, a committee member from the previous year, the current Metcalf Prize and Award winners, and the current United Methodist Scholar/Teacher of the Year. The committee also includes two students: one Harold C. Case Scholarship winner and one Dean Elsbeth Melville Scholarship winner.

To be eligible, a faculty member must:

  • Have held a full-time, continuing appointment on the teaching faculty for not less than six semesters;
  • Be teaching during the Spring semester of current academic year;
  • Not be currently under review for promotion or tenure;
  • Not be on sabbatical leave, or leave of absence;
  • Not be a previous winner of the Metcalf Cup and Prize.
  • Lecturers are eligible

Over the course of the year, the committee solicits statements from the Metcalf candidates on their approaches to teaching, reviews student evaluations, examines course syllabi, graded assignments and other course materials, including web-based, and seeks additional letters of recommendation from current and former students. The members of the committee visit the classes of the finalists and, in the spring, present their recommendations to the University President. The Cup and Prize and the Awards are presented annually at Commencement.

More information on each award can be found at: