Ethics re: asking to be nominated for an award?
January 23, 2020 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Tell me what you think about the ethics of asking a former student to nominate me for a teaching award?

I teach at a major university, and I pour my heart and soul into teaching. There is a call for nomination for university-wide teaching awards. I am early in my career and something like this would make a big difference, and I would like a shot at it.

I know (from unsolicited emails, teach evaluation comments, conversations) that many of my former students loved my classes, and would be willing to nominate me. I also know that they don't pay attention to calls like this. Would it be unethical of me to draw their attention to the call for nomination? and to gently welcome nominations? Or perhaps suggesting that they could nominate anyone they wish?

The former students I'd contact are no longer in my course and are not my advisee (i.e. I do not have any power over them), but I still worry that this would be coercive in subtle ways.

Please share your thoughts!
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is absolutely something you can do ethically! I have done this for mentorship awards - I e-mail a few people I think might be willing to nominate me, say that they are soliciting nominations, ask that they consider nominating me, and say that I'd be happy to provide any other information they would like.

If you don't feel comfortable soliciting nominations from former students, you can also ask a supervisor, colleague, or peer to nominate you.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:01 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Do not feel bad if they reject the idea. You could raise the awards in class and remind students they can nominate anyone. Do it ethically, tell other teachers in other departments about this and get them to tell students about it. Empowering students to have a voice for teachers they appreciate is a lot more fulfilling and memorable than lobbying an old teacher to do the same thing.
posted by parmanparman at 4:03 PM on January 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

It's not unethical. But the easiest way to make sure it's not uncomfortable or pressured for anyone is to have a colleague who is invested in your tenure case (if possible, a faculty mentor) to email the former student, and say they are looking for a student who knows your teaching well to nominate you.
posted by nantucket at 4:09 PM on January 23, 2020 [19 favorites]

As an undergraduate, I was asked to do this in just the way nantucket describes. A good option.
posted by grouse at 4:11 PM on January 23, 2020

Nantucket is correct. This is how I’ve seen it done.
posted by Knowyournuts at 6:20 PM on January 23, 2020

Yep, what Nantucket said. Or ask your department chair, who is the one who approached me when I was asked to write a similar letter. They're invested in their faculty winning awards!
posted by avocet at 6:45 AM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

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