NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS)

Program Solicitation



LETTER OF INTENT DUE DATE(S) (optional): September 18, 2002

FULL PROPOSAL DEADLINE(S): November 20, 2002



Small NSF logo

   The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

   To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Web Site at:


  • Location:
4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230
  • For General Information (NSF Information Center):
(703) 292-5111
  • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):
(703) 292-5090
  • To Order Publications or Forms:
Send an e-mail to: pubs@nsf.gov
or telephone: (301) 947-2722
  • To Locate NSF Employees:
(703) 292-5111



Program Title: NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS)

Synopsis of Program:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to promote improvements in the education of undergraduates who enroll in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) courses. The NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars (DTS) recognizes and rewards individuals with distinguished records of educating undergraduates while also contributing significantly to the scholarship of a STEM discipline. DTS is part of NSF's efforts to promote an academic culture that values and rewards members of the community who contribute to both disciplinary scholarship and the STEM education of undergraduates, including students who are not majoring in STEM disciplines. The Director's Award is the highest honor bestowed by the NSF for excellence in both teaching and research in STEM fields, or in educational research related to these disciplines. The awards will be conferred at a ceremony held at the National Science Foundation.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):




A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements





    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements


The purpose of the National Science Foundation Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars is to recognize individuals with demonstrated excellence and promise of future success in both scientific research and the education of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) and to enable the expansion of their efforts. Awardees will be honored for their leadership in their respective fields as well as for their innovations and effectiveness in facilitating student learning. The National Science Foundation (NSF) will identify distinguished teaching scholars from among those faculty who are both meritorious scholars and exemplary educators.

The Director's Award embodies the high priority the NSF places on promoting the efforts of outstanding scientists, mathematicians, and engineers working at the frontiers of scientific knowledge who are also committed to advancing the frontiers of STEM education. The Award will foster innovative and far-reaching developments in STEM education, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific and educational missions of the NSF, enhance connections between fundamental research and undergraduate education, and highlight the importance to the Nation's future of citizens who are informed about STEM.


This program recognizes and honors those faculty members who have made outstanding contributions in both research and teaching. It is intended to promote the continued and expanded efforts of these individuals with a history of substantial impact on both: (a) the research in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline or on STEM educational research; and (b) the education of undergraduate students, including those who are not STEM majors. This program is driven by the need to: provide leadership at all institutions of higher learning for developing excellence in STEM education; promote to leadership positions those individuals who exemplify the ability to be involved in and contribute creatively and significantly to both teaching and scholarly activity; and provide exemplary faculty role models. The award will be given to those who contribute to the scholarship of teaching through their example and by their successes in the education of undergraduate students, and whose past efforts in STEM education are acknowledged by their peers. Thus, the award will be given to those individuals who demonstrate a combination of past accomplishments and the potential for future contributions.

This program contributes to efforts that promote an academic culture that values and rewards members of the academic research community who contribute significantly to both the scholarship of their discipline and the education of undergraduates who have diverse interests and aspirations and who are enrolled in courses in STEM fields. The program aims to have an impact on: (a) the scholars themselves, (b) other faculty, (c) academic institutions, and (d) undergraduate students. The award will support scholars' continued activities and growth as educators and researchers and enhance their visibility and influence as leaders in reforming the culture of institutions of higher education. Through their continuing activity as educators, these scholars will influence the STEM education of a broad spectrum of students, including STEM majors, future K-12 teachers of science and mathematics, and all students as citizens in a society increasingly dependent on science and technology.

The program seeks to influence the academic culture by:

NSF seeks to elevate the importance of undergraduate STEM education by recognizing and encouraging the efforts of faculty who apply their intellects to creative and effective introductory undergraduate educational activities. It is expected that such faculty will translate and incorporate their scholarship into successful instructional practices and further develop the scholarship of teaching. This program seeks to recognize those faculty who bring the excitement and richness of scientific discovery to students in introductory courses, including those students who do not initially plan careers in STEM fields as well as those who do.

In addition to providing compelling evidence of past accomplishments, all proposals must describe: what is to be accomplished during the award period; how, in general, the funds would be used to complete these activities; how the activities are consistent with the intent of the program; and how the project will be evaluated. Educational activities may, for example, focus on:

NSF is most interested in supporting projects that will likely have an impact beyond the department and institution of the awardee, that promote respect for teaching efforts at the undergraduate level, and that maintain the prestige of the award. Projects must demonstrate the support of and commitment from the president and key academic officers of the applicant's institution and indicate how the project will continue beyond the life of the award. Also, projects must include an evaluation plan to help determine the effectiveness of the project's activities.


The categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program announcement/solicitation.


Under this solicitation, proposals may be submitted for any amount up to $300,000 for a four-year project. NSF expects to fund approximately 5 awards depending on the quality of submissions and the availability of funds. Approximately $1.5 million is anticipated to be available for this initiative in FY 2003. Anticipated date of awards: April 2003. Although there is no limit on the number of proposals that an institution may submit, no more than one award will be made to a single institution in this fiscal year's competition.


A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Letters of Intent: A letter of intent is optional but encouraged before submitting a full proposal and is intended to enhance the efficiency of the review process. The letter of intent is not a preliminary proposal. It is a brief statement by the applicant that addresses the intent to submit a proposal to the NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Letters of intent should be sent by electronic mail to dts-prog@nsf.gov by September 18, 2002.

Full Proposal:

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

No more than one individual will be named as NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar for a given proposal. Letters of support should address the accomplishments of the PI only. If other personnel are essential participants or contributors to the proposed project, they may be listed on the budget form as personnel. In the rare case that such collaborators/contributors are listed as Co-PIs, a justification should be provided.

The proposal Project Description should include the following:

Additional Requirements

At least two letters of reference from peers that address the impact of the work of the Principal Investigator (applicant) on the discipline and two letters from peers that address the impact of the applicant's work on the education of undergraduates, including non-science majors, must be submitted. These letters may be e-mailed by their authors to dts-prog@nsf.gov, faxed to 703-292-9015, or mailed to: National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education, Room 835, DTS Program, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230. References must be received by November 27, 2002; it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that letters of reference have been received.

A Project Data Form (NSF Form 1295) must be submitted (via FastLane) as part of all proposals. The information on this form is used to direct proposals to appropriate reviewers and to determine the characteristics of projects supported by the Division of Undergraduate Education. In FastLane, this form will show up in the list of forms for your proposal only after you have (1) selected "Distinguished Teaching Scholar" and "DIVISION OF UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION" as the NSF organizational units on the Cover Sheet and (2) saved the Cover Sheet.

A budget justification of up to three pages must accompany the budget forms and provide details about budget line items.

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-131) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations: None

Other Budgetary Limitations: Award amounts up to $300,000. Duration for all awards is 4 years.

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):

Letters of Intent (optional): September 18, 2002
Full Proposals by 5:00 PM local time: November 20, 2002

A letter of intent is optional but encouraged before submitting a full proposal and is intended to enhance the efficiency of the review process. The letter of intent is not a preliminary proposal. It is a brief statement by the Principal Investigator that addresses the intent to submit a proposal to the NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Letters of intent should be sent by electronic mail to dts-prog@nsf.gov by September 18, 2002.

D. FastLane Requirements

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this Program Solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this announcement/solicitation.

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Proposers are no longer required to provide a paper copy of the signed Proposal Cover Sheet to NSF. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov.


A. NSF Proposal Review Process

Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest, at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

The two National Science Board approved merit review criteria are listed below (see the Grant Proposal Guide Chapter III.A for further information). The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Mail and/or Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the identities of reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the closing date of an announcement/solicitation or the date of proposal receipt (whichever is later). The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at one's own risk.


A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See section VI.A. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions;* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/grants/grants_gac.htm. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpm. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web site at http://www.gpo.gov.

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on project participants (individual and organizational), activities and findings, publications, and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.


General inquiries regarding  NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars  should be made to:For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:


The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gp. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.

Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service (http://www.nsf.gov/home/cns/start.htm) to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Awardees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program announcement/solicitation for further information.

The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090, FIRS at 1-800-877-8339.

The National Science Foundation is committed to making all of the information we publish easy to understand. If you have a suggestion about how to improve the clarity of this document or other NSF-published materials, please contact us at plainlanguage@nsf.gov.


The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

Pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(b), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, or to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation (3145-0058), 725 17th Street, N.W. Room 10235, Washington, D.C. 20503.

OMB control number: 3145-0058.