Lilly Teaching Fellowship

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 August 2020:

  • Full-time tenure-track position (or tenured for no more than one calendar year) with at least two full semesters of teaching experience at UMass Amherst or early-career non-tenure track faculty on continuous appointment
  • Demonstrate considerable promise in teaching and (for TT faculty) research
  • 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 enclosed 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 chair/head and dean agree that they will be able to provide a 1-course release during the 2020-21 academic year, or an alternative arrangement that will allow equivalent time in the faculty member’s schedule to engage fully in the activities of the program.  We also request that the applicant and chair/head disclose possible semester(s) away from campus that would limit Lilly Fellowship availability. Fellowship nominees from previous years are welcome to reapply. Those who have previously been a Lilly Fellow may not reapply.

A selection committee comprised of former fellows and CTL staff 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 mid-March 2020.


Complete Nomination Packages due from the department to their dean no later than:  Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 5 PM Eastern Complete Nomination Packages due to CTL from each college no later than:  Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 5 PM Eastern

Fellowship Components

During the 2020-21 academic year, Lilly Fellows will:

  • Attend regular cohort meetings every 2 weeks, 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:

  • A $7,000 grant to the fellow’s home department to be used toward the cost of one course release during the fellowship year.  Nominations must include agreement by the department chair/head and dean that such a release can be arranged, or an alternative accommodation for equivalent time can be provided.
  • A $5,000 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. 

Current and Past Lilly Teaching Fellows

For more information, contact Brian Baldi.

Please check back in early October for the 2021-2022 Fellowship Application.