Gold Shield Faculty Prize

About the Gold Shield Faculty Prize: An Award for Academic Excellence

The Gold Shield Faculty Prize, offered by Gold Shield Alumnae of UCLA, annually provides an unrestricted $30,000 award to an exceptional mid-career full professor who has a distinguished record of undergraduate teaching, research and University service. In the spring of each even-numbered year, an outstanding professor from the north campus (Arts and Architecture, Humanities, Social Sciences, Music, Theater, Film & Television) is selected. In the spring of each odd-numbered year, a recipient is selected from the south campus (Physical Sciences, Health Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering, Nursing). In 2022 the recipient will be selected from the north campus.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gold Shield Alumnae, the Faculty Prize was conceived, to focus on rewarding outstanding faculty in their mid-career years at UCLA and supporting their advancement to distinguished senior faculty. The Prize was first awarded in 1986, following a three-year campaign to establish the necessary endowment to fund the Prize. Initially, the Prize was given every two years. With the continued support of Gold Shield members and friends, the endowment has continued to increase in value, enabling annual awards. As of, 2021 Gold Shield Alumnae is proud to have awarded twenty-five (25) awards. Notably recipients include Nobel Laureate, Andrea Ghez, who received the Gold Shield Faculty Prize in physics and astronomy in 2004 and the 2020 Nobel Prize in physics.

The Gold Shield Faculty Prize recognizes and rewards UCLA faculty members who have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishment in undergraduate teaching and in research or creative activity, together with evidence of service within the University. In the belief that distinguished senior faculty receive significant recognition and reward, Gold Shield seeks through the Faculty Prize to recognize high-achieving faculty in the middle years of their academic careers.

Eligibility - (Link to Nomination recruitment letter to faculty)

  • Only nominees from the designated area of campus will be considered in a given year. In 2022, the recipient will be selected from the north campus disciplines.
  • Nominees must hold the rank of Full Professor and must have held that academic title for at least one year.
  • He/She/They may currently teach students at the graduate or undergraduate level.
  • Preference will be given to nominees who are in the middle years of their academic careers, typically Professor Step I through V, inclusively.
  • Preference will be given to nominees who have received a terminal degree in their field at least 10 years prior to being nominated for the Faculty Prize.
  • Exceptions to the preferred criteria shall be considered, given increased diversity among UCLA faculty.

Selection Criteria

In evaluating many outstanding professors, the main characteristics the Gold Shield Faculty Prize Selection Committee considers are an exemplary record in teaching undergraduate students, extraordinary accomplishment in research or creative activity, and evidence of University service. These should be demonstrated by excellence in the following areas:

  • Meaningful contributions to undergraduate education at UCLA (e.g., impacting students' lives in a significant way).
  • Effective approaches to teaching (i.e., through varied engagement methods with students, curricular innovation, or significant impacts such practices might have at a local or national level).
  • Size, number, and diversity of classes taught.
  • Influence on the professor's field of research, including notable outcomes of the research or creative activity; work in more than one discipline or specialty; and any national or international recognition.
  • Evidence of service within the University, at the departmental and/or campus wide level, as well as dedication to UCLA, enthusiasm, and creativity.
  • Support from colleagues.
  • Demonstrated commitment to an equal learning environment and to issues of equity,, diversity, and inclusion.

The Selection Process

Chaired by the previous year prize recipient, the Gold Shield Faculty Prize Selection Committee is composed of eight members: two Gold Shield representatives, four five Senate faculty, including previous Faculty Prize recipients and one undergraduate Gold Shield Scholar student.

The Selection Committee will review the nominations over a three- to four-week period following the nomination deadline. The Prize recipient will be selected in April 2022 and announced in May.

Entry Instructions

All nominations are required to be submitted exclusively as an email attachment to Sandra Hwang,

Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

  • Paper nominations will not be accepted.
  • Nominations must be submitted by a UCLA faculty member other than the nominee.
  • Self-nominations will not be considered.

Steps in Compiling the Nomination Packet

This letter is critical. It should describe what makes the candidate's teaching, research and creative activity truly distinguished as opposed to good or merely satisfactory.

The judges need a concise presentation of the nominee's degrees earned, career advancement, teaching experience, other teaching awards, publications, service and other creative work. Priority should be given to activities, achievements, and service that focus on undergraduate education.

Please list the course titles with the year taught and approximate enrollment, and provide student evaluations. Please include numerical ratings for the nominee along with average department ratings for comparison.

Please provide no more than the last five undergraduate courses taught. Student comments are given substantial weight in the judging process. Letters of support from students are optional, but no more than three.

Letters must be written by faculty who are in the nominee's field and/or are familiar with his or her work. While other letters also may be submitted, letters from faculty colleagues will carry the greatest weight in the judging process. The letters should discuss the professor's success in dedication to teaching and research, and give specific examples of how the nominee fulfills the criteria for the Faculty Prize.

If you have any questions, please contact: Sandra Hwang, Gold Shield Faculty, Prize Coordinator, at

You may also contact Anne-Marie Spataru, Gold Shield Faculty Prize Chair, at

The Gold Shield Faculty Prize Selection Committee will name one recipient of the Gold Shield Faculty Prize for 2022. The honoree will receive a $30,000 cash award in two $15,000 installments. Effective July 1, 2016 recipients should spend or transfer the full award amount within three fiscal years of receiving the funds. The Faculty Prize Recipient will be announced in May 2022. 

He/she/they will be honored at Gold Shield’s fall event and receive an elegant plaque to memorialize the award. It is customary for the Gold Shield Faculty Prize recipient to be the featured speaker at a subsequent Gold Shield program.

Gold Shield Faculty Prize Recipients

2021 – Adriana Galván, Psychology and Dean of Undergraduate Education

2020 - Janet O'Shea, World Arts and Cultures/Dance

2019 - Paul Barber, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

2018 - Daniel Fessler, Anthropology

2017 - Daniel Blumstein, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

2016 - Charlene Villaseñor Black, Chicana/o Studies and Art History

2015 - Neil Garg, Chemistry & Biochemistry

2014 - Brenda Stevenson, History

2013 - Luisa Iruela-Arispe, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

2012 - Kevin Terraciano, History

2011 - Matthew Lieberman, Psychology

2010 - David Gere, World Arts and Culture

2009 - Robin Garrell, Chemistry, Biochemistry

2008 - Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Chair, Cesar E. Chavez Chicano Studies

2007 - William J. Kaiser, Electrical Engineering

2006 - Robert N. Watson, English

2004 - Andrea Ghez, Physics and Astronomy

2002 - Richard B. Kaner, Chemistry and Biochemistry

2000 - Utpal Banerjee, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

1998 - Bob Goldberg, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

1996 - Peter Narins, Physiological Science

1994 - Albert A. Braunmuller, English

1992 - J. William Schopf, Earth and Space Sciences

1990 - Jeffrey Alexander, Sociology

1988 - Patricia Marks Greenfield, Psychology

1986 - Michael E. Jung, Chemistry and Biochemistry

For more information about the nomination process for the Gold Shield Faculty Prize:

Please contact Sandra Hwang, Gold Shield Faculty Prize Coordinator, at You may also contact Anne-Marie Spataru, Gold Shield Faculty Prize Chair, at

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