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.


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. We encourage applicants to look at examples from previous winners in order to get a sense of the range of topics, programs, initiatives, and services that have stood out as innovative in past years.

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, attend the POD conference;
  • If chosen as a finalist, participate in a virtual 30-minute Q&A session with the selection committee one or two weeks before the conference;
  • Attend the conference awards ceremony either virtually or in-person.

Application Process

The submission portal will open in the week of June 10, 2024. To apply, submit the following materials by Friday, July 12, 2024:

  • Title of your Innovation
  • Category (Teaching and Learning; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Consulting with Faculty; Workshops, Seminars, Conferences; Organizational Development; Teaching Assistant Development; Faculty Development Using Technology; Other). Note that the choice of category is for informational purposes only and has no impact on the selection process.
  • 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

The selection committee, comprised of former recipients of the Innovation Award and at-large POD Network members, 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, “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 the remaining submissions. The submissions with the highest scores become the finalists for the Innovation Award. Typically there are 3–5 finalists. Selected finalists will be notified in the week of September 23.

Round 3:
Each finalist team submits a poster to the chair of the Innovation Award selection committee. Posters will be presented at the poster session. In the two weeks prior to the conference, finalists will sign up for a virtual 30 minute meeting with the selection committee. These meetings are informal and require no preparation; they are intended to help the committee determine which of the finalists’ submissions best meets the criteria of the Innovation Award. The committee will meet to determine a winning submission, which will be announced at the conference awards ceremony.

POD Innovation Award Rubric

Advice for successful proposals

The following suggestions come from the current members of the Innovation Award Committee, whose perspectives have been shaped by reviewing dozens of proposals each year. Generally speaking, successful proposals:

  • Address all the rubric criteria in their description with specificity and detail;
  • Emphasize innovation, since it is weighted most heavily in the rubric. “Innovation” can mean an entirely original idea or changes to an existing concept or practice; if your proposal takes the latter form, be sure to articulate what has changed and what makes it innovative;
  • Indicate, if applicable, whether and how the innovation could be borrowed, adapted, or replicated by other educational developers and institutions (this consideration falls under the accessibility/expertise component of the rubric).
  • Share a website to support your entry if you have one, but do not rely on it to communicate the significance of or details about your innovation. During the first round of scoring, all submissions are scored for their degree of innovation based only on the content of the submission form, so make sure that the description of your innovation makes a persuasive case on its own terms. Websites are supplemental material. The committee holds off on reviewing them until the second round in order to ensure an equitable review process, as not all submissions come with links to websites.

2024 Submission Deadline

Friday, July 12


Eva Dobler | POD Innovation Award Chair | [email protected]