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Announcement of the 2024 Thurnau Competition

August 16, 2023

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to deans, associate deans, department chairs, and program directors to announce the thirty-sixth competition for the Thurnau Professorships and to invite you to nominate your most extraordinary educators for this high honor.

Each year, Thurnau Professorships recognize and reward a highly select group of five tenured faculty for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Those appointed to Thurnau Professorships hold this title along with their other university titles and receive a $20,000 grant to support activities associated with further enhancing their teaching (e.g., travel, books, equipment, graduate student support). The Professorships are named after Arthur F. Thurnau, a student at the University of Michigan from 1902 to 1904, and are supported by the Thurnau Charitable Trust that was established through his will.

Thurnau Professors have a sustained record of excellence in undergraduate education, as demonstrated by a combination of the following:

  • A strong commitment to students and to teaching and learning,
  • Excellence in teaching, as evidenced particularly by other teaching awards and also the use of effective teaching strategies and notable methods of assessing student learning,
  • Innovations in teaching and learning,
  • A strong commitment to working effectively with a diverse student body,
  • A demonstrable impact on students’ intellectual and/or artistic development and on their lives,
  • Contributions to undergraduate education beyond the classroom, studio, or lab.

It is extremely helpful to the selection committee when the nomination letter explicitly addresses each criterion.

I would be especially grateful if you would help to identify a diverse pool of nominees with respect to such factors as gender, race/ethnicity, and school/college representation.

Any deanassociate dean, department chair, or academic program director may submit a nomination, with the signature of a dean signifying endorsement of the nominee (see Nomination Cover Sheet). It is common for candidates to be nominated more than once before being selected. Please note that it is somewhat unusual, though not impossible, for nominees to be selected early in their post-tenure career. Thurnau Professors will be recommended to the Regents at their February meeting and recognized at the Honors Convocation in mid-March.

The Thurnau Professorships recognize and reward outstanding faculty who devote their attention to providing an excellent undergraduate experience for U-M students. We take the nominations for these Professorships very seriously and hope you will give them your careful attention. Nominations must be submitted by no later than Friday, December 1, 2023. (Nominators in LSA and COE, please note that the deans’ offices have set internal deadlines of October 6 and November 17, respectively.)

If you have questions about the Thurnau Professorships or the nomination procedure, please call or email Ryan Hudson, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), 763-0159 ([email protected]). We look forward to receiving your nomination(s).


Laurie K. McCauley DDS, MS, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Professor

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