Tracy M. Sonneborn Award

Tracy M. Sonneborn Award

Honoring faculty teaching and research accomplishments

The Tracy M. Sonneborn Award honors faculty for accomplishments in the areas of teaching and research. The award, named for the late eminent scientist Professor Tracy M. Sonneborn, is given to an exemplary researcher who is also well known as an exemplary teacher.

The winner of the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award will receive a $3,500 cash prize. In addition to this prize, research funds in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded for the purpose of supporting the research or creative activity of one (or more) of the students of the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award winner.

The Tracy M. Sonneborn Award winner will be expected to give a university-wide lecture during the fall semester following the selection. Provost Professors and the Sonneborn Award winner will have their names engraved on plaques in the Indiana Memorial Union. Nominees who do not receive these awards in the current year can be reconsidered the next year, and nominators are encouraged to update the dossiers for reconsideration.

Read about the current Tracy M. Sonneborn Award recipient


Full-time, full professors at IU Bloomington are eligible for nomination.

Professors who hold the rank of distinguished professor, or have an endowed chair, are eligible for the Tracy M. Sonneborn Award.

Nomination process

Any member of the campus community may serve as a nominator, and may nominate multiple candidates each year. Nominations prepared jointly by faculty and students are encouraged. Self-nominations are not permitted. 

The dossier should include:

The official nomination letter, should not exceed three typed pages. It should demonstrate why the faculty member being nominated makes a unique contribution. In particular, it must address and cite evidence concerning:

  1. Why the research/creative activity is extraordinary in quality and originality and has had an impact on other researchers (ideas, theory, or methods) at Indiana University, nationally, and worldwide. Specific examples should be included.
  2. Why the candidate is an outstanding teacher both in and outside of the classroom. We are especially interested in teaching creatively and the influence on both undergraduate and graduate students. The letter should also cite specific, concrete examples such as outstanding curricula development, high quality textbooks, online courses created, and so forth. It should also cite evidence of teaching effectiveness.
  3. Why the individual’s teaching and research are complementary and reinforcing.

We recommend no more than four letters of support that evaluate outstanding achievement in the areas of teaching and research/creative activity. Letters of support may be solicited from faculty at IU or elsewhere, current and former students, or any other knowledgeable individuals inside or outside of IU Bloomington.

Each of the letters of recommendation should be no longer than two typed pages. Each letter should be solicited by the nominator and included in the dossier submitted by the nominator. The nominator should include a list with contact information for each person writing a support letter. 

Include a current curriculum vitae.

Include a current list of the candidate’s teaching activities, including the type of teaching, the section number, name, and size of the courses, or the number of students receiving one-on-one instruction taught during the last five years.

Information about awards to past students and/or publications or employment of past students is also relevant.

A total of no more than eight pieces of evidence of the candidate’s best work should be included in the dossier.

The committee values quality of documentation rather than quantity.

How to submit the dossier

All materials should be assembled by the nominator and sent electronically no later than November 1 to Please indicate in the subject line the award(s) targeted by the nomination.


Committee on Provost Professorships and the Sonneborn Award
Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs
Past Sonneborn recipients
2024David Crandall, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
2024Donna Nagy, Maurer School of Law
2023Debby Herbenick, Applied Health Science
2022Sanya Carley, O'Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs
2021Pamela Braboy Jackson, Sociology
2020Catherine Bowman, English
2019Leandra Lederman, Maurer School of Law
2018Anya Peterson Royce, Anthropology, Comparative Literature
2017Domenico Bertoloni Meli, History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine
2016John L. Lucaites, English
2015Don Hossler, Education
2014Susan H. Williams, Law
2013Anne Pyburn, Anthropology
2012Richard Miller, Religious Studies
2011Stephen Watt, English
2010Carmen Helena Tellez, Music
2009David E. Clemmer, Chemistry
2008Meredith West, Psychological and Brain Sciences
2007W. Claude Baker, Jr., Music
2006David Baker, Music
2005Anthony V. Ardizzone, English
2004Pam Walters, Sociology
2003Milos Novotny, Chemistry
2002David R. Williams, Chemistry
2001George D. Kuh, Education
2000Vic Viola, Chemistry
1999Judith H. Anderson, English
1998Douglas R. Hofstadter, The Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition
1997Linda B. Smith, Psychological and Brain Sciences
1996David Pisoni, Psychological and Brain Sciences
1995Stephen J. Stein, Religious Studies
1994James Naremore, English
1993James Craig, Psychological and Brain Sciences
1992Malcolm Chisolm, Chemistry
1991Martha McCarthy, Education
1990Charles Parmenter, Chemistry
1989Robert J. Meier, Anthropology
1988David Dilcher, Biology
1987Gary Hieftje, Chemistry
1986Janos Starker, Music