Information on Submitting Nominations for the Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching

Information on Submitting Nominations for the Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching

This award was named in honor of Nancy T. Watts, PhD, PT, FAPTA, who was a distinguished member of our academic community for many years and one of our most loyal friends.

History of the Award

In 1989 a Committee was established to develop eligibility, criteria and a selection process for an Award for Excellence in Teaching. The first Excellence in Teaching Award was awarded to Nancy T. Watts, Professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions Commencement on June 16, 1989. In 1996, the award was renamed the Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching to honor the first recipient of the award. See the award winners in past years.

Nancy T. Watts, PhD, PT, FAPTA

Professor Emerita Nancy T. Watts, PhD, RPT

Nancy T. Watts was Professor Emerita at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She was a physical therapist and educator.

Dr. Watts came to the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1974 as Assistant Director of Educational Planning, where she was instrumental in the creation of the Institute of Health Professions. After the Institute was launched, she came to serve as Director of the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy as well as Acting Provost.

Throughout her professional life, Dr. Watts focused on educating health care professionals. Her major academic interests concerned interdisciplinary education, clinical teaching, the economics of health care, and clinical reasoning.

Dr. Watts taught and consulted in Britain, Scandinavia, Africa, and Latin America. In addition, she was on the original founding board of the Foundation for Physical Therapy, which was created to promote and foster research, and was active in the World Confederation for Physical Therapy.

She received several awards and honors from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), including the Baethke-Carlin Award for Excellence in Academic Teaching and the Mary McMillan Lectureship, the organization's highest award. In 1986 Dr. Watts was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (FAPTA), the highest honor among APTA's membership categories.

Dr. Watts passed away April 4, 2011 at the age of 83. She was a true pioneer, and her influence and impact will continue to be felt for years to come by the Institute and the many individuals whose lives she touched.

The Nancy T. Watts Award for Excellence in Teaching honors her legacy.

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Purpose of the Award

To honor and award a distinguished Institute faculty member who has excelled in meeting the excellence in teaching criteria and is recognized by students, faculty colleagues, and other members of the community.


All regular and adjunct faculty of the MGH Institute of Health Professions, who have not already received the award, are eligible for the award. See a list of past winners. Nominations will stay active for three years.


A committee with representation from faculty, students, and the Board of Trustees will evaluate the nominees' qualification for evidence of:

  • Commitment to enhancing the educational experience of Institute students
  • Creativity in teaching methods
  • Openness to student and faculty colleague evaluation
  • Success as a mentor to faculty or students

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Please assemble the following items into a single ELECTRONIC packet and email it to the Office of the Provost by April 16, 2018:

  1. A cover letter from the nominator(s) describing how the candidate meets the selection criteria for the award
  2. Between two and six supporting letters, from both students and colleagues, attesting to the candidate's teaching excellence 
  3. Sample materials that demonstrate creativity in teaching methods (if appropriate).

A committee consisting of students, faculty, and a trustee shall be appointed by the Provost to review the nominations and select the person to receive the award.

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