The Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence


The Gerald J. Swanson Prize for Teaching Excellence is designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching at the University of Arizona.


The Prize was created through a gift from the Thomas R. Brown Foundation in honor of Gerald J. Swanson, University of Arizona Professor Emeritus. Throughout his more than 40 years at UA, Dr. Swanson's introductory economics course was legendary--a "must take" course for business and non-business majors alike. Each semester, students on the course waiting list lined up outside Gerry's office to plead their case for admission to his class. At the course's conclusion, it was not unusual for students to give Gerry a standing ovation. Professor Swanson's talent for teaching was unparalleled, won every available award at the University of Arizona, and thousands of UA alumni still recall their college economics course fondly because he taught it so well

Number of Awards

The university will present up to five awards annually (depending on funding available), with a prize amount of $5,000 per award.


  • Nominees must be currently teaching an undergraduate course at the University of Arizona.
  • Full professors, assistant or associate professors, career track, professors of practice, lecturers, teaching professor and graduate teaching assistants are eligible for nomination.
  • Prize winners are not eligible to win the award for two academic years from their winning date.

Nomination Process

The Office of the Provost will solicit one nominee annually from each college. Anyone at the university may submit a nomination (faculty, staff, and current students). The Dean of the college where the nominee teaches will choose one nominee from their college to recommend to the Provost.

The nomination packet for the Provost must be submitted through Arizona Cultivate: and include:

  • A letter of nomination from the Dean.
  • Nominee's current curriculum vitae.
  • Statement of teaching philosophy and how it is incorporated into the classroom (2 pages maximum).
  • Evaluation summaries from students across courses for the past three years. This may include both TCEs and SCSs. We acknowledge that SCSs were not collected in Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and were offered as an opt-in for Fall 2020. Thus, student evaluations from Spring and Fall 2020 will not be required. 
  • Letters of recommendation from students (minimum of 1 maximum of 4).
  • Letters of recommendations from peers and relevant administrators (minimum of 1 maximum of 2).

Inclusive excellence is the engine that drives the value and practice of diversity and inclusiveness at the University of Arizona. At the center of Inclusive Excellence is the recognition and acceptance of the talents, world-views, perceptions, cultures and skills that faculty communities bring to the educational enterprise. The University of Arizona recognizes the power of a diverse community and strongly encourages nominations of individuals with varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the University of Arizona also recognized the importance of contributions of the nominee to the HSI mission.

Submission of Materials

Materials are to be submitted through Arizona Cultivate:

Review the nomination packet carefully before submitting to make sure that all of the required material is accurate and included. Packets that are incomplete may be delayed.

Selection Process

The Office of the Provost will review and select four to five awardees annually (depending on funding available).


The Office of the Provost will send a letter to the winning educator, their respective Dean and the Thomas R. Brown Foundation. Through the generosity of the Thomas R. Brown Foundation, all awardees will be invited to an annual celebratory dinner where the prizes will be presented by the Provost. Prize winners are not eligible to win the award for two academic years from their winning date.

Due Date

Monday, December 4, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Awardees will be announced by April of 2024.

For More Information

Please contact: Dr. Adrián Arroyo, +1 (520) 621-2121 or email