Recognizing Faculty

Providing a simple letter of appreciation goes a long way in recognizing faculty efforts

Jessica Barlow, Director, The Sage Project at San Diego State University

The success of Sustainable City Year (SCY) programs is due in large part to the willingness of faculty to participate in the program and to ensure that the students in their participating courses are able to deliver quality work. And though the SCY model is set up to make it easier for faculty to participate than not, some faculty still may find that they are putting in more effort through participation. Giving them recognition, and making sure that their chairs and deans are aware of their efforts, can go a long way in keeping them on board year after year. 

One simple way to provide them with this recognition is to send them a short letter of appreciation at the end of the semester or academic year in which they participated, and copying the letter to the administrators within their academic unit. These letters can in turn be used as evidence of teaching excellence in their tenure and promotion files. It’s especially effective to make the letter formal, signed, and on official letterhead! 

Here’s a template of what such a letter could look like: 

Dear ____:
I would like to thank you for your participation in the [SCY PROGRAM] for the [SEMESTER/ACADEMIC YEAR]. The outstanding work that you and your [COURSE NUMBER] students have done for the City of [CITY NAME] surrounding their efforts to address [PROJECT] has been critical to the success of the [SCY PROGRAM]. I note that [ADD 1 SENTENCE DESCRIBING ANY OTHER NOTEWORTHY DETAILS, LIKE INTERNSHIPS, JOBS, NEWS ITEMS, INTERESTING ANECDOTES THAT CAME ABOUT]. 
It has been a pleasure working with you this past year, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to collaborate in the future.
Best wishes,
cc:     [CHAIR]