Bellet Awards Committee Streamlines Process, and Prize Money Is Increased

Issue Date: 
October 2, 2006


Since the Tina and David Bellet Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Awards were established in 1998, 24 faculty members in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences have been recognized for teaching innovation and passion, and commitment to students. The honorees represent departments throughout the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. But while their disciplines vary, they were all judged to be excellent educators by committees of their peers and students.

The month-long call for nominations for the 2007 Bellet Awards begins today. Students and faculty members may submit nominations to Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Regina Schulte-Ladbeck at 140 Thackeray Hall. Faculty members who meet all criteria and who receive three or more nominations will be invited to participate in the first round of review by submitting a dossier.

According to Schulte-Ladbeck, there are some notable changes to this year’s nomination process. Also, the prize money has increased.

“We have moved the call for nominations to October and the request for dossiers to the beginning of November,” she said. “Our hope is that by starting the process earlier in the year, we will provide candidates with more time to assemble their materials before the end of the term.”

The dossier requirements have also been amended. Last year, candidates were required to submit all undergraduate teaching evaluations for the past three years. This year, candidates are limited to submitting evaluations for three recent undergraduate courses.

Another change this year is that representative annotated instructional materials from an undergraduate setting are limited to 10 pages.

In 2007, each Bellet Awardee will receive a one-time prize of $3,000—up from $2,000 in the past—and, for the first time, each honoree’s department will receive a $5,000 grant.

“Many of our past honorees donated their prize money back to their departments,” explained Schulte-Ladbeck. “We approached the Bellets about incorporating this practice into the administration of the awards, and they were delighted to make the provisions to do so.”

Long-time friends and supporters of Pitt, the Bellets have attended every annual recognition dinner for Bellet Award recipients since the first prizes were given in spring 1999. While they are active philanthropists who donate time and resources to a number of causes and organizations, Tina and David Bellet have a special commitment to teachers. This dedication reflects their positive experiences both as students and in front of the classroom: David has been a guest lecturer at Stanford University and Columbia University, and Tina taught for 10 years in New York City.

In a 1998 interview, David Bellet summed up the mission and the motivation behind the Bellet Awards. “Teachers should be acknowledged, rewarded, and encouraged,” he said.

Arts and Sciences Dean N. John Cooper said, “This award, made possible by the generosity of our good friends, Arts and Sciences alumnus David Bellet and his wife, Tina, provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the centrality of teaching in our mission as a school of arts and sciences, and the value we place on excellence in teaching as a centerpiece for our vision for the future of the school.”

For more information about the Bellet Awards, contact Carol Lynch at