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Esther Farfel Award

Nomination Process

The University of Houston announces the annual Esther Farfel Award, the highest honor accorded to a University faculty member. The award, a symbol of overall career excellence, carries a cash prize of $10,000.

Extended Nomination deadline:  November 27, 2023

Fall Nomination Checklist


Nominees must be tenured faculty members who have held a full-time continuous faculty appointment at the University of Houston for at least five academic years prior to the year of nomination. Tenured faculty members who have otherwise held a full-time continuous faculty appointment for five years, but who have served in either an interim or full-time senior administrative role (i.e. dean or above), are excluded from nomination until a minimum of three years after they have returned to their tenured faculty position in a full-time capacity.

Nominees must demonstrate excellence in all areas of faculty responsibility. For those tenured faculty members who may have held a temporary position as an interim university administrator, the time spent in that interim administrative position will not be considered a break in faculty service for the purposes of this nomination. The selection committee will consider only those nomination packages where the nominee has demonstrated excellence in all three of the categories listed below:

  1. The significance of national/international impact of the candidate's research or creative activity; and
  2. Evidence of outstanding teaching ability; and
  3. Distinctive and exemplary service to the University, the profession, and the community.

Nomination Process

Faculty, staff, administrators, students, and alumni may make nominations. In addition, the selection committee actively solicits nominations. Nomination is a two-step process with separate documentation being requested at each step. The required documentation for each step is listed below and in the appropriate checklists:

Step 1: Nomination deadline: November 27, 2023

  1. Submit the nomination form, a two-page letter of nomination and the nominee’s current full academic curriculum vitae electronically as a single PDF document via email to (please label the document with the nominee’s last name, first name). The maximum pdf file size is 20mb.
  2. After the selection committee conducts the initial review of nominations, candidates will be notified of the results by mid-December. Finalists may then choose to proceed with the nomination process as follows:

Fall Nomination Checklist

Step 2: Finalist supporting materials deadline:  February 1, 2024

All documents should be submitted as PDFs as outlined on the finalist checklist. The documents should be emailed as four separate  PDF documents containing the materials under the categories of Nomination, Research, Teaching, and Service. The maximum file size for each emailed PDF is 20mb. Please use the finalist checklist provided when preparing the nomination package. A copy of the final checklist can be downloaded using the link appearing below. 

To be competitive for a Farfel award, nominations require supporting materials to be included for each of the following three categories: research and scholarship; teaching; and service. For recommendations from external letter writers, please provide a summary of the credentials of each referee and a description of qualifications, and relationship, if any, to the nominee.

Finalist Checklist

  • Research and Scholarship
    Six letters supporting the quality and significance of the nominee's research and scholarship, at least three of which must be arm's length reviewers from outside the University of Houston community. A one paragraph (1/2) page maximum) description of the qualifications of each arm's length reviewer is required, along with their name, title, rank, position, institutional affiliation, and disclosure of any prior relationship between the candidate and the reviewer. Please do not include CVs of the arm's length reviewers
  • Teaching
    Four letters addressing the contributions of the nominee to teaching must be included — three from among the nominee's current or former students and one from a UH colleague. Provide a list of students the nominee has mentored and their current employment or position (if known). Documentation of quality teaching, including summarized and comparative student and department and/or college course evaluations for at least the previous two years. Documentation may also include activities such as course development, advising and other contributions to student learning.
  • Service
    Three letters documenting distinguished and exemplary service to the University, the profession, and the community.

Committee Composition

The Farfel committee is appointed annually by the Office of the Provost and consists of seven members including the immediate past winner of the Farfel Award. The Chair of the Teaching Excellence Award's committee will be an ex officio member of the Farfel committee.

Selection Process

The selection committee may contact the references for more details. The committee will then review the nominations and recommend a finalist by early March. After the Provost and the President approve the recommendation, the President will inform the recipient of the award. The award will be presented at the Faculty Awards ceremony at the end of the spring semester.