2024 Winner

Congratulations to David Smith (education), the recipient of the 2024 Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching.

Read about Smith's lifelong work producing scholarship and creating resources to empower Christian educators.

Watch the presentation and acceptance of this award at the Faculty Awards Dinner.

The Award

The award is funded from an endowment established in memory of George B. and Margaret K. Tinholt. The cash gift is to be used for educational opportunities and experiences that will enrich the recipient’s career through professional and personal development. The recipient will be announced at the faculty award dinner in May.

Past recipients | About the medallion

Purpose of the Award

The Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching is testimony to the fact that the heart of a Christian liberal arts university is the teaching by its faculty, who embody the goals of forming the Christian mind and shaping students’ lives. This award recognizes exemplary teachers and advances outstanding teaching at Calvin University.


Every regular faculty member who has been awarded tenure or a five-year renewable-term appointment is eligible for this award. Previous recipients may be nominated again for this award after four years.

Selection Criteria

Award recipients not only have exceptional teaching skills; they also consistently influence the lives and careers of Calvin University students in lifelong Christian ways. Award recipients will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of a long-term commitment to effective undergraduate teaching.
  • Demonstrated exceptional teaching skills which are evidenced in the testimony and lives of both current and former students.
  • Diverse interests and abilities.
  • Recognition as a competent scholar.
  • Service to the university, the church, the profession, or the community.
  • Above all, service to students as counselor, mentor, and role model, expressing interest in and making lasting impacts on students’ Christian faith, thought, and character.

Selection Process

The deans present initial nominations to the provost. Together the deans and provost determine which nominations to move forward. The deans then work with only the nominees’ department chairs and Provost’s Office staff to build confidential nomination dossiers.

The dossiers are presented to the Professional Status Committee, which makes a recommendation to the president, who selects the award recipient. The dean and chair solicit comments from colleagues, alumni, and current students to supplement the above materials and to be used for the award presentation process.

The award is announced at the spring faculty tributes and awards dinner.

Past Recipients