SGA Open Education Award

The Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Tennessee has partnered with the University Libraries to establish an annual award for instructors who create, adapt or use Open Educational Resources (OERs) in their classrooms.

These awards (up to three per academic year) recognize faculty and lecturers whose exemplary use of quality OERs promote and contribute to a culture of openness and knowledge sharing. In doing so, instructors increase student access to course materials, lessen the financial burden on students and their families, and mitigate the overall cost of receiving an education.

Nominate an Instructor

Students, send in your nominations:

Please note: Materials that are accessible to UT students through licenses negotiated by the University Libraries (e.g., articles in a database) are not considered Open Educational Resources.

What is an Open Educational Resource?

Open Educational Resources are teaching and learning materials that are free of cost and access barriers. OER creators license their work for reuse and modification, typically under a Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to freely use, adapt, and/or share the resource. Both Educause and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition have fact sheets on OERs. Open textbooks are one example of OER.

About the SGA Open Education Award

In 2016, UT’s SGA passed legislation to establish of an award recognizing instructors who make use of OERs in the classroom, including open textbooks. Working with SGA’s Academic Affairs Committee, the Libraries helped create the Open Education Award.

Students enrolled at UTK and UTIA may nominate any instructor who uses OERs in a course. A maximum of three faculty members receive the award each year. Faculty members at all ranks, including but not limited to lecturers and professors, are eligible. When determining awards, care will be taken to recognize faculty members holding diverse ranks.

Members of SGA’s Academic Affairs Committee collaborate with the Libraries’ Dean’s Student Advisory Committee to review the nominations. In their review, the panel of judges considers these criteria: impact on learning, innovation in teaching, and economic impact on students.

Faculty and students are invited to attend a campus reception hosted by the UT Libraries in April, where winners receive a non-monetary commemorative award for their teaching. Award recipients will be announced in campus media outlets.


The SGA legislation, award criteria, nomination form, and information provided here are modeled on Texas A&M University’s SGA Open Educator Award.

Dr. Bruce Herbert, Director of the Office of Scholarly Communications at Texas A&M University (TAMU) Libraries, presented a poster about the award at a 2016 SPARC meeting and has shared documentation in TAMU’s digital repository, OakTrust:

This page is licensed under a CC-BY license.


Questions about this award should be sent to UT’s Scholarly Communication and Publishing Librarian, Rachel Caldwell.

The Open Sandbox

Join us for an exploration of open source digital research tools. Workshops are open to all.

The Open Sandbox is an exploration of open source digital research tools.