Beyond Criteria

The guidelines were modified significantly in March 2013 and again in 2016 and will apply hereafter.


The criteria for the Fellowship are simple; nominees are expected to demonstrate excellence in two equally weighted categories:

  • Educational leadership
  • Teaching

However, selecting ten people to invite into the Fellowship is not a procedure of measuring dossiers against criteria and pinpointing those who “win.” Almost every nominee meets the criteria.

This challenge does not call for more criteria, however, or a more precise process, but rather the Selection Committee applies a blend of appreciation and discrimination, openness and sensitivity to the messages in the dossiers.

The Selection Committee encounters a wide range of messages—a struggle against hegemony, a novel teaching approach, social change and advocacy, ethical business practices, second languages giving voice, irresistible compulsions to share the true loveliness of calculus or cuneiform or civet cats or clavicles or Cicero.p>

The narratives change every year. The Committee listens carefully to the stories and looks for compelling messages. In many cases, the dossiers present such a rich description that nominees rise from the pages almost fully formed. The best of the best always surprise.

Harmony within the dossiers is also important. Student voices are clear and consistent with the teaching philosophy. Letters of support align with statements about educational leadership. Humility balances with courage and confidence. Critical incidents reveal successes and victories, but also expose disappointments and challenges. Every part of an excellent dossier serves to delineate the whole person, without padding or puffery.

Committee members do not vote for winners; instead, they work toward consensus. They agree on which ten people to invite into the Fellowship, fully confident these ten are outstanding teachers and leaders, making a difference to students and learning, complementing and contributing to the Fellowship.