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Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award

As the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year institution, the California State University endeavors to be a national leader for providing affordable degree opportunities for students from all backgrounds. On every CSU campus, outstanding faculty are leading the way, redesigning courses, applying innovative teaching practices, and more effectively using data to address equity gaps.

With generous support from Foundation partners, the Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award recognizes the vitally important role that faculty play in providing high-quality instruction and their commitment to student success. This systemwide award recognizes faculty who are implementing innovative practices that significantly improve learning and course outcomes. The award also acknowledges faculty who have demonstrated leadership at the department, college, or university level to improve student success and outcomes in courses with traditionally low success rates or persistent equity gaps.


Tenure-track faculty, tenured faculty and lecturers from all disciplines are eligible for this award. 

Recipients must demonstrate innovative teaching practices, course design, redesign, or the development of exemplary supplemental support programs to promote student success. Consideration will also be given to faculty who demonstrate extraordinary leadership to advance student success. 

Faculty leadership activity should be intended to institutionalize or expand innovative practices. Leadership activity can also be associated with effective department, college or campus changes that improve student outcomes. 

Eligible candidates must provide defensible evidence associated with outcome improvements and/or clearly demonstrate the positive impacts of targeted innovation or leadership efforts. Emphasis will be placed on exemplary efforts and a continuous record of innovation to promote student success. Innovation and leadership achievements must be associated with improvements in student outcomes. 

Faculty who have previously been awarded or nominated for other campus or systemwide awards are eligible for nomination with one exception: Wang Family Excellence Award recipients will be ineligible for two award cycles, the year the Wang Award is received and the following year.

Nomination and Review Process

Nominations from students, faculty and staff must be submitted to the Office of the Chancellor by June 15, 2018, 11:59 p.m. (PST) at Self-nominations will be accepted. Submissions must include a letter of nomination not to exceed 1500 words outlining the nominee’s innovative practices or leadership accomplishments. 

Nominations may include up to five short testimonials (written or video) to be uploaded to the FILA website. Written testimonials should be no more than 700 words and video submissions should be no longer than three minutes. Nominations must include compelling evidence demonstrating the efficacy of leadership activities or innovative practices and their contribution to student success. Nominations will be reviewed by a faculty-led committee.

Selection Committee

The Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award selection committee will be chaired by a CSU faculty member. Minimally, members of the committee will include

  • four faculty members to be determined by ASCSU
  • two staff members from the Office of the Chancellor to be determined by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Students Affairs
  • one student to be determined by the California State Student Association

If the committee expands due to workload, faculty shall remain the majority. The committee shall remain proportional to its original composition. In the first year of this award program, the selection committee will consider a campus-level review process for subsequent years.

Review of Nominations 

The selection committee will review all nomination materials and accompanying testimonies to determine award recipients. A formal review of each nomination will consider innovative and leadership efforts in following categories: 
  • Teaching 
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Policy reform or improvement
  • Collaboration with local or national organizations
  • Advising and/or use of data to advance student success
  • Mentoring
  • Student advocacy (local and national)

Notification and Award

Resources available for the 2018 awards will accommodate one Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award-winner from each CSU campus. 

However, the review committee is not required to select an awardee from each campus. Each awardee will receive a $5,000 cash award and $10,000 will be allocated to academic departments to support awardee activities. This may include:
  • travel
  • reduction in teaching load
  • contract continuation for lecturers
  • equipment to promote effective teaching
  • campus convening to demonstrate award-winning practices
  • professional development
  • other activities determined by the awardee
Costs for reductions in teaching load will be calculated at the replacement rate. The awardees and respective campus presidents will be notified in early fall 2018. The selected awardees will be formally announced at the Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium on October 18-19, 2018.


For questions, please contact Dr. James T. Minor at or (562) 951-4307.