Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

The Lilly Teaching Fellowship for Teaching Excellence enables promising early-career faculty to cultivate teaching excellence in a special year-long collaboration. Each year, up to eight teaching fellows are selected to work closely with CTL on individual projects that typically involve developing or redesigning a course. This is a competitive award program with a long history at UMass Amherst that extends back to 1986. Since then, the Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence has supported leadership in teaching by training over 243 faculty. Past Lilly Fellows include 20 Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA) winners; 22 College Outstanding Teaching Award (COTA) winners; 38 department chairs; and 19 associate deans.

Alexandra Meliou (Computer Science) and Bradley Bennett (Accounting)

Alexandra Meliou (Computer Science) and Bradley Bennett (Accounting), two of the seven Lilly Fellows from 2016-2017

Program Goals

The purpose of this program is to enable promising early-career faculty to develop and expand their expertise in teaching while pursuing the teaching and scholarly activity expected of faculty at a major research university. Lilly Fellows will also share their growing expertise with colleagues at the departmental, school/college, and/or campus-wide levels to ensure that the benefits of this premier program reach and support the greater UMass teaching community.

What Faculty Say About the Lilly Fellowship   

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

CTL is soliciting nominations of faculty members who meet the following criteria when the fellowship year begins in June 2021:

  • Full-time assistant professors, pre-tenure at the time of final application date, with at least two full semesters of teaching experience at UMass Amherst or early-career non-tenure track faculty on continuous appointment but not yet a Senior Lecturer at the time of final application date.
  • Demonstrate considerable promise in teaching and scholarship
  • Demonstrate understanding for student perspectives in teaching, strong interest in undergraduate student success, and a commitment to developing high-impact teaching practices
  • Potential for making a positive impact within the Lilly cohort and on the teaching culture in the home department, school/college, and/or broader campus community


Nomination Process 

The chair/head completes the nomination form for each nominee from their department, and sends the nominations to the dean. A maximum of two nominations are allowed from each department. The role of the dean is to approve the list of candidates submitted to CTL – sending applications to CTL shall be considered evidence of dean approval. The faculty member must be willing to participate in Lilly activities beginning the Summer of 2021 (see next page for details) through the 2021-2022 academic year. Participants will receive summer additional compensation equivalent to teaching a summer course. We also request that the applicant and chair/head disclose possible semester(s) away from campus that would limit Lilly Fellowship availability in the fall and spring. Fellowship nominees from previous years are welcome to reapply. Those who have previously been a Lilly Fellow may not reapply. 

A selection committee will review nomination packages. Pending the volume of nominations, the selection committee may request in-person interviews with finalists only. Fellows will be selected by the end of the spring.



Complete Nomination Packages due from the department to their dean no later than:   Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 5 PM Eastern 
Complete Nomination Packages due to CTL from each college no later than:    Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 5 PM Eastern


Fellowship Components

Please note that the Lilly Fellowship will begin earlier than in prior years, and that Fellows will receive summer adcomp to compensate for the time spent on the course redesign instead of a course release. Beginning in May 2020, Lilly Fellows will:

  • Attend a working session with prior-year Lilly Fellows in mid-May.
  • Attend 2 half-day Lilly Institute sessions in mid-June.
  • Attend a planning session in August.
  • Attend 8 regular cohort meetings throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, with readings and assignments in between (approximately 2-3 hours of work between meetings).
  • Design or substantially redesign a course, which will include developing a new syllabus, learning objectives, assessments, course materials, and activities. 
  • Complete a portfolio that includes reflection essays and baseline teaching and learning data. 
  • Participate in evaluation activities that measure the effect of the program on both the fellows’ teaching and the new or redesigned course.
  • Demonstrate leadership on the topic of teaching by participating in teaching-related workshops, serving on awards committees, collaborating on teaching evaluation projects, or participating in other teaching-related roles and functions on campus.



The UMass administration and CTL staff understand that the Lilly Fellowship will be a rewarding but rigorous experience. Therefore, CTL and the Office of the Chancellor will provide the following in recognition of the substantial commitment necessary to participate in this program: 

  • $6,000 in summer additional compensation will be paid to the fellow to support them in their course (re)design planning.
  • A $3,750 transfer to the fellow (via the home department GOF) after successful completion of all academic year fellowship components. At least half of these funds are intended to go toward support of ongoing course development activities during the summer, such as summer salary, student support, and books and supplies.


Application Process for the 2021-2022 Lilly Fellowship for Teaching Excellence CLOSED - Thank you


Current and Past Lilly Teaching Fellows

For more information, contact Brian Baldi.