Innovation in Teaching Award

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The Cognella Innovation in Teaching Award for Family Science

Cognella and the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) have partnered to recognize outstanding Family Science teachers through the Cognella Innovation in Teaching Award for Family Science.

We’re looking for those teaching in higher education who have gone above and beyond within the past year to introduce cutting-edge teaching practices to their courses that better engage students and advance scholarship in the discipline.

The first-place winners of the award will receive $1,000 cash, and the second-place winner will receive a $500 Cognella book credit. The prizes will be awarded during the NCFR Annual Conference, November 20-23, 2024 in Bellevue, Washington.

Submissions for the 2024 awards are now open and will be accepted through May 31, 2024. Read on to learn about eligibility details and submission requirements, then submit your work or nominate a peer who’s making a difference through innovative teaching practices in Family Science.

If you have any questions regarding the award or the application process, please contact the award team at

  • Applicants and nominees must have taught at least three Family Science or Family Life Education courses during the 12 months immediately leading up to the award submission deadline (May 31, 2024).
  • Applicants and nominees must be current NCFR members.
  • Applicants and nominees must demonstrate innovative teaching practices within the discipline.
  • Applicants and nominees must hold a doctoral degree in their respective discipline.
  • Individuals who have won this award within the past five years are not eligible.
  • Demonstrates significant innovation within the past year in teaching in any of the following:
    • Lifespan and child development
    • Aging
    • Social policy with children and families
    • Diversity/social justice issues
    • Research methods
    • Family theory
    • Family life education
    • Marriage and the family
    • Trauma
    • Stress/mental health/self-care
    • Within the online classroom
  • Actively promotes and implements innovative teaching practices
  • Acts as a role model for creating and sustaining a culture of creativity
  • Motivates students to learn and stimulates interest in the subject
  • Demonstrates innovations that have influenced the methods and teaching effectiveness of other faculty
  • Utilizes best practices and/or unique use of technology in teaching

A panel of individuals will evaluate all applications in accordance with the award criteria. The panel may include experts in the Family Science discipline, Cognella authors, and members of the Cognella Editorial Team.

Applicants may submit their own work or be nominated by others.

All applications must include:

  • A complete award application (download the form HERE)
  • One letter of reference from each of the following:
    • A colleague, administrator, or supervisor
    • A former or current student
      • Each letter must reflect the stated criteria for consideration, including relevant examples of innovative teaching practices exercised by the nominee.
  • An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae for the nominee

Please submit all materials in full (a total of four (4) documents) to by May 31, 2024.

All entries must be received, in full, by May 31, 2024. Applicants are solely responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline and that all materials are received.

Please send all applications to

The first-place recipients (2) will receive:

  • $1,000 cash
  • An award plaque
  • Public award announcements through Cognella and NCFR

The second-place recipient (1) will receive:

  • $500 in Cognella book credit
  • An award plaque
  • Public award announcements through Cognella and NCFR

Award winners will be notified by July 1, 2024, and the awards will be presented during the NCFR Annual Conference, November 20-23, 2024.