Katie Geneva Cannon Excellence in Teaching Award


The Katie Geneva Cannon Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes the importance of teaching and honors outstanding teaching in the field. Given the considerable shifts in the higher education landscape in recent years, and the effects these shifts have had on teaching and learning about religion, this award underscores the importance of recognizing teaching excellence across a wide variety of contexts.

View the list of past winners.

Membership in the American Academy of Religion is required for nominators and nominees.

Nominations of others and/or self-nominations are welcome.


  • Outstanding pedagogical performance in a higher education learning context, as demonstrated by the teaching and learning statement, representative syllabi, letters of recommendation, and other evidence of teaching excellence.
  • Development of innovative and/or exceptionally effective teaching methods, courses, and curricular materials, examples of which might include community-based education, grant projects on pedagogy, effective program design, contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning, and/or contributions to teaching as a means of enhancing the public understanding of religion.
  • Commitment to professional identity as a teacher of religion, including student or peer mentoring, workshop facilitation or design, and/or educational leadership at the local institution or professional societies.
  • At least five years’ experience teaching in a higher education learning context.

Nomination Instructions

To be eligible for consideration, a completed nomination form and the following required nomination materials must be submitted through the AAR Award Nominations Portal by the deadline.

  • 1) Nomination Letter: A one-page cover letter wherein the nominee should outline the nomination materials and highlight their achievements with respect to the criteria listed above.
  • 2) Syllabi: Two (2) representative recent syllabi, along with supporting documentation such as descriptions of particularly effective learning activities and/or assignments.
  • 3) Teaching Statement: A teaching and learning statement of no more than 1000 words in which the nominee should respond to the following:
    • Describe the context in which you teach about religion and how you practice effective pedagogy therein.
    • Describe the pedagogical arc and purpose of your syllabi.
    • Describe a pedagogical situation where you know your students are learning. 
  • 4) Letters of Recommendation: Two (2) letters of recommendation from colleagues that can knowledgeably discuss the nominee’s achievements in teaching and learning about religion.
  • 5) CV: A curriculum vitae of no more than three pages that fronts achievements in teaching and learning.

Nominations without the required supporting materials cannot be considered. If a letter of recommendation is coming from a non-AAR member, the person submitting the nomination will need to gather the letters of recommendations and submit them.

Due to the volume of nominations submitted, the AAR staff cannot notify the nominee and/or solicit the nominee for the supporting materials.

Late, emailed, or partial/incomplete nomination forms and/or required nomination materials cannot be accepted.

Submit a Nomination

Selection Process

  • The members of the AAR Committee on Teaching and Learning review all eligible nominations and select the award winner.
  • The award winner is typically announced in early spring.
  • The award is presented to the winner by the Chair of the AAR’s Committee on Teaching and Learning at a special session at the AAR Annual Meeting.


For questions, please contact [email protected].





Award Amount