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Academic Outreach
Faculty Focused

The Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching

The Division of Outreach and Continuing Education and the Office of Academic Outreach are pleased to support the annual Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching. The purpose of the Paragon Award is to recognize and reward superior online teaching, encourage online faculty to continually grow professionally, and to serve as role models in academic excellence.

The award recipient will receive a $1,000 cash award and trophy. The recipient’s name is also engraved on The Paragon Award Winner plaque which is on display in the J.D. Williams Library. In addition, up to two honorable mentions may be awarded a $500 cash award each.

Award recipients, to include honorable mentions, may be asked to serve on future award selection committees.

Award Criteria

The award is based on work conducted while serving a teaching appointment at the University of Mississippi. The criteria for the award include:

  1. Successful practices in online course design that enhance student learning and engagement;
  2. Innovative and creative use of technology and instructional methods;
  3. Dedication to providing an excellent student learning experience.


Any faculty that taught a fully online course during the specified year is eligible for nomination.

Nomination Procedure

Faculty can be nominated for the Paragon Award by:

  • Department Chair – Chairs will receive a list of potential nominees and the online course taught; can nominate up to three.
  • WOW! Grant Recipients – automatically nominated after fulfilling the Terms of Award from the specified year.
  • Online Course Enrichment – automatically nominated after completion of revisions and teaching the revised course during the specified year.

Nomination Package

Nominees will be notified by Academic Outreach of their nomination. If a nominee wishes to accept a nomination for the Paragon Award, they will need to submit the following to the award selection committee:

  1. Prepare a narrative statement that fully addresses the three criteria for the Paragon Award and how your online course meets or exceeds all three criteria, and include your teaching philosophy.  The award selection committee will not view courses; therefore, narrative statements should be as thorough as possible.
  2. Provide the course syllabus for the specific nominated course (term/year).
  3. Provide samples of student comments (please limit these to no more than 5 comments) specific to the nominated course (term/year).
  4. Provide additional supporting documents (ex: screen shots of your course, any course materials created by the instructor, video walk through of your course, etc.).


  • Chair Nominations: November 16 – 11:59 pm December 6, 2020
  • Nomination Package Submission: January 7 – 11:59 pm January 31, 2021
  • Award Recipient Announced: Mid to Late February 2021
  • Award Presentation: Toolbox Talks 2021 (virtual presentations) – March 24, 2021 at 10:30am – noon

For questions and concerns about the Paragon Award, contact Mary Lea Moore at