POD Innovation Award


It was at the 1986 annual POD conference in Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania, that Marilla Svinicki and Marilyn Leach launched the Bright Idea Award (BIA). Their purpose was to recognize innovative ideas that improve learning and teaching, as well as enhance the general effectiveness of higher education faculty members. The basic intent was to share innovative ideas with the POD membership and encourage others to adapt the ideas for their own use, as well as to develop useful innovations themselves.

Continuing this tradition at each annual conference of the POD Network, the Bright Idea Awards were presented to participants who implemented creative ideas for the enhancement of teaching and learning and/or faculty development. In 2004, the name of the award was changed to the POD Innovation Award. Recipients are recognized at the Awards banquet and receive an engraved trophy.

See examples from Previous Winners.


The POD Innovation Award recognizes POD Network members who have developed and implemented creative ideas for educational development. This recognition is presented at the annual conference. The purpose of the award is twofold:

  • To encourage participants to share their ideas with colleagues in the POD Network.
  • To recognize those working in any area of educational development: faculty, graduate student, instructional, or organizational development.


We encourage both new and experienced participants at the annual POD conference to submit an entry. We welcome submissions on any topic related to educational development, though in 2020 we particularly encourage submissions relating to:

  • Individual, CTL, or institutional responses to COVID-19
  • Anti-racist pedagogy or other educational development initiatives that support educational equity and people of color in the academy.

To win the POD Innovation Award, at least one author listed on the innovation poster submission is required to:

  • Be a member of POD at the time of submission
  • If chosen as a finalist, present at the poster session at the POD conference and distribute a handout describing their Innovation Award. Online arrangements will be made for 2020.
  • Attend the awards ceremony (when the conference is held in person). In 2020, the awardees will be honored online due to COVID-19.

Application Process

To apply, submit the following materials:

  • Title of your Innovation
  • Category (Teaching and Learning; Consulting with Faculty; Workshops, Seminars, Conferences; Organizational Development; Teaching Assistant Development; Faculty Development Using Technology; Other)
  • Abstract of your innovation (max. 75 words)
  • Description, including the innovation’s goals, what makes it innovative, its impact, and its outcomes (500 words or less. Use the Innovation Award Rubric to guide and organize your submission )
  • Contact information for all contributors

Selection Process and Award Rubric

A committee of POD Network members representing various programs and institutions will review the submissions with the following process and rubric:

Round 1:
The POD Innovation Award committee determines the submissions that best meet the criterion of Innovative on the Innovation Award Rubric. The submissions with the highest scores move on to Round 2.

Round 2:
The Innovation Award Rubric is used to review each submission. The submissions with the highest scores become the finalists for the Innovation Award.

Round 3:
At the Annual POD Conference, each finalist submission team presents a poster at the Poster Session. The committee reviews the posters and speaks with the finalists. The committee then deliberates to determine the submission that best meets the criteria of the Innovation Award. In 2020, the finalists will present their posters virtually, and the committee members will meet virtually to review posters and determine a winner.

POD Innovation Award Rubric


Adriana Streifer | POD Innovation Award Chair | acs6h@virginia.edu