CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation 

Nominations are now closed.

The CQ Press Award for Teaching Innovation honors a wide range of new directions in teaching.

The award, supported by CQ Press, carries a cash prize of $500 and financial support for travel costs, and is presented at the APSA Annual Meeting or Teaching and Learning Conference.

Nomination Information

Examples of eligible nominations include a professor that used an innovative course syllabus or a new multimedia approach to reaching students.

All submissions should include:

  • Personal statement (written by the nominee) detailing the teaching innovation, its impact, and why this innovation deserves this honor.
  • Letter of nomination from nominating faculty (if relevant), briefly summarizing the teaching innovation and its impact, and explaining why it deserves this honor.
  • Other supporting documents of nominee and/or nominator’s choosing.


2020 CQ Press Award Committee

Chair: Desiree S. Pedescleaux, Spelman College

Michael Munger, Duke University 

Rachel VanSickle-Ward, Pitzer College


2019 Award Recipient 

Jennie Sweet-Cushman is an assistant professor of political science at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she teaches courses in public policy, American politics, women and politics, and research methods. She was the 2018-2019 “Teacher of the Year” in Chatham’s School of Arts Science and Business.

2018 Recipient: Eric Loepp, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Dr. Loepp is being recognized for his work creating what he calls a “data-driven classroom.” In his data-driven classroom Dr. Loepp uses students as a subject pool to generate a large bank of data via surveys at the beginning of the course and integrates the results into class throughout the term to illustrate how data is generated and analyzed. As a colleague noted in his nomination letter, this approach allows the instructor to “generate greater student interest in political science as well as to give students firsthand experience in the conduct of social scientific research.”

2017 Recipient: Brooke Thomas Allen, Macomb Community College, "Gerrymandering as Art: A New Method for Teaching Redistricting"
This hands-on, creative technique maximizes critical thinking while teaching the complicated concept of redistricting to students from various diverse backgrounds at a community college in Metro Detroit. The assignment combines traditional lectures and classroom discussions with small group interactive actives designed to analyze congressional districts for a team-based in-class presentation and public "Art" poster exhibit competition displayed on campus.

2016 Recipient: Professor Amanda Rosen, Webster University
Dr. Rosen is recognized by her colleagues for being a true classroom innovator, at the forefront in the academic literature on the use of games and simulations in the classroom to teach a wide range of subjects, as well as the classroom itself. It is clear that she has a knack for creating games, exercises, and simulations that engage students and help them learn challenging material. Dr. Rosen has also found an innovative way of teaching research methods that excites and engages students. Her “Best Breakfast in Town Project” incorporates both group and individual components and takes students from the first stage of reviewing the existing literature on the subject through the research design process.  She has presented on this project at the APSA Annual Meeting, has blogged about it on the Active Learning in Political Science (ALPS) blog, and will be discussing it in a co-authored paper at the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference in 2016.

2015 Recipient: Victor Asal, SUNY, University at Albany
Dr. Asal is recognized widely by his colleagues for his innovative teaching practices, most particularly for his development of classroom simulations. Both his scholarship on teaching and learning and its practice in his classroom qualified him for top consideration for this prize. He is a long-time member of APSA, a frequent participant and former track moderator of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, a widely published author advocating the innovative use of games in teaching, and an engaged mentor and collaborator in political science. He is the founder and contributing editor of the Active Learning in Political Science blog, an open resource for ideas on pedagogy in the field. He is well known for his innovative simulations and games such as “Classical Realism” simulation or “Hobbes Game,” which are widely used in the classroom; his frequent peer-to-peer outreach efforts; and his service to the political science community. Dr. Asal’s simulations challenge students to think critically and have made him one of the leading scholars on this topic. According to his nominator, he does not simply gift his innovations to his own students, nor does he simply share them with the wider academic world: he also encourages and supports innovation in others. 

2014 Recipient: Mika LaVaque-Manty, University of Michigan
Professor LaVaque-Manty's submission entitled, "Gamifying Large Courses to Promote Initiative, Problem Solving, Collaboration, and Reflection," details his systematic approach to gamifying his course-using a point system-in order to promote student engagement and autonomy through collaboration. Through gamification, students are given a variety of paths to meet requirements and are encouraged to use a variety of platforms - from videos to blogs - to interact with each other and the material and to take on new learning challenges. At least one of these platforms, a public blog written by mostly first-year students, was named one of the "100 Best Blogs for the Literati" in 2009. Of particular interest is Professor LaVaque-Manty's work to create a space for students to become innovative participants in their own learning and to engage in what he calls "safe failures." His course design-which is informed by political theory, and strategies such as metacognition and self-regulated learning-demonstrates how professors can use robust pedagogical principles to engineer their courses in ways that inspire strong student commitment and creativity. Moreover, the fact that other faculty have modeled their courses on his designs signals his leadership in and impact upon the area of pedagogical innovation. 

2013 Recipient: Professor Brian M. Harward, Allegheny College
Professor Brian M. Harward received the award for his careful implementation of a campus partnership, with an external archives and research center for service learning, which focuses on the law, the courts and the judicial process. Professor Brian M. Harward is the director of a campus partnership with the Robert H. Jackson Center. This partnership is based upon a model of service-learning and student research and is embedded into specific courses, the departmental curriculum and the campus mission. His innovative approach demonstrates how political science faculty, their departments, and their campuses can expose students to experiential learning, reinforce curricular priorities and desired proficiencies, and provide essential skill experience, while meeting the needs of external organizations.

2011 Recipient: Professor Marjorie Randon Hershey, Indiana University
Professor Hershey received the award for teaching innovation in the field of graduate education and teacher training for her three module graduate seminar designed to prepare students for the demands of teaching. This three part Preparing Future Faculty module represents an innovation, not only in the form of the pedagogical tools and collegial teaching community that has been made available to young aspiring political science professors, but it also serves to enhance the learning experience of current and future political science students, and ultimately teaching and learning in the discipline of political science.

2010 Recipient: Professor Jerry Goldman, Northwestern University 
Professor Goldman Dr. Goldman created Pocket Justice, a free technological tool that allows faculty and students broadened access to Supreme Court cases using the iPhone and eventually other smart phones. Goldman is also the founder and director of the OYEZ project, a multimedia archive focused on the US Supreme Court. These resources provide students and faculty studying civil liberties or constitutional law with searchable access to transcripts of the public arguments, opinions and audio of key Supreme Court decisions. These innovative pedagogical tools invite students to witness and access the Supreme Court decisions which have influenced American politics and public policy.