AAPT Awards

The American Association of Philosophy Teachers recognizes and encourages leadership and achievements in the teaching of philosophy as well as scholarship of the teaching and learning of philosophy.  The AAPT awards such leadership and achievements by means of the Award of Merit for Outstanding Leadership and Achievements in the Teaching of Philosophy and the Lennsen Prize for the best paper regarding the teaching of philosophy.

The AAPT has also established a small grants program:

AAPT Grants For Innovation in Teaching.



The Lenssen Prize

In 2000 the American Association of Philosophy Teachers established the Lenssen Prize for the best paper regarding the teaching of philosophy in honor of Mark Lenssen.

MARK LENSSEN (13 January 1949 – 17 March 1999)

Mark Lenssen received his undergraduate education at Pomona College, followed by graduate study at Northwestern University. He taught philosophy at Ohio Northern University from 1978 – when he arrived as an instructor – until his death. He was promoted to professor in 1992, and in 1993 he took over as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. At his death, he was also Head of the Humanities Division and (in his spare time) the men’s tennis coach. Mark’s philosophic focus was the broad field of ethics – important figures in the history of ethics, as well as professional and environmental ethics – and he was so highly regarded as a teacher on the ONU campus that he was posthumously elected teacher of the year in 1999. Among his other professional activities, Mark was a tireless worker for AAPT. He served for many years as the co-editor of AAPT News, working to make writing about the teaching of philosophy better and more available.

Lenssen Prize Guidelines

  1. Purpose: In memory of Mark Lenssen, the American Association of Philosophy Teachers will award a biennial prize for the best essay published on the general theme of philosophy teaching.
  2. The Lenssen Prize: The Lenssen Prize will include a cash award of $200 and be awarded at the biennial conference of the AAPT.
  3. Entry Rules: The Lenssen Prize is offered for the best essay on the general theme of philosophy teaching that has appeared in the two calendar years before the AAPT biennial conference. Members are encouraged to nominate pieces that they found important from other sources.
  4. Prize Committee: The VP of the AAPT will Chair of the Lenssen Prize Committee, which will consist of no fewer than three and no more than five AAPT members in good standing who are not editors of any of the named publications. Members of the Committee shall be ineligible to win the Lenssen Prize. The Committee shall include a Past President of AAPT, and two past or present members of the AAPT Board. The Committee’s decision as to which Prize candidate should receive the award shall be final. The AAPT Board shall retain the authority to award, or not award, the Lenssen Prize at the end of any competition period.


Lenssen Prize Winners


Recipient: KATE PADGETT WALSH, ANASTASIA PROKOS, and SHARON R. BIRD, “Building a Better Term Paper: integrating scaffolded writing and peer review,” Teaching Philosophy, 37:4 (Dec. 2014).
Honorable Mention:
Tom Dougherty, Samuel Baron, Kristie Miller, “Female Under-Representation Among Philosophy Majors: a map of the hypotheses and a survey of the evidence,” Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 1/1 (2015); Paul Green, “How to Motivate Students: a primer for learner-centered teachers,” AAPT Studies in Pedagogy 1 (2015), 47-60.


Recipient: ANN J. CAHILL and STEPHEN BLOCH-SCHULMAN  Argumentation Step-By-Step: Learning Critical Thinking through Deliberative Practice,”Teaching Philosophy, 35:1 (2012): 41-62.
Honorable Mention:
Emily Esch, “A Cognitive Approach to Teaching Philosophy,” Teaching Philosophy, 36:2; Jeffrey Maynes, “Thinking about Critical Thinking,” Teaching Philosophy, 36:4; Patrick Stokes, “Philosophy Has Consequences! Developing Metacognition and Active Learning in the Ethics Classroom,” Teaching Philosophy, 35:2.


Recipient: JOHN RUDISILL for “The Transition from Studying Philosophy to Doing Philosophy,” Teaching Philosophy 34:3 (2011): 241-271.
Honorable Mention:
Stephen Bloch-Schulman, “When the ‘Best Hope’ Is Not So Hopeful, What Then? Democratic Thinking, Democratic Pedagogies, and Higher Education,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 24:4 (2010); Cynthia Coe, “Scaffolded Writing as a Tool for Critical Thinking: Teaching Beginning Students How to Write Arguments,” Teaching Philosophy, 34:1 (2011); John Immerwahr, “The Case for Motivational Grading,” Teaching Philosophy 34:4 (2011).


Recipient: DARYLCLOSE for “Fair Grades,” Teaching Philosophy, 32:4 (2009): 361-398.
Honorable Mention:
Alexandra Bradner, “Teaching Modernity in Appalachia,” Teaching Philosophy 31:3 (2008); J. Carl Ficarrota, “How to Teach a Bad Ethics Course,”  Teaching Philosophy 32:1 (2009); Margaret Watkins, “Persuasion and Pedagogy: On Teaching Ethics with Jane Austen,” Teaching Philosophy 31:4 (2008).


No prize awarded


Recipient: DAVID W. CONCEPCIÓN, “Reading Philosophy with Background Knowledge and Metacognition,” Teaching Philosophy 27:4 (2004).


Recipient: JAMES CAMPBELL,The Ambivalence Toward Teaching In The Early Years Of The American Philosophical Association,” Teaching Philosophy 25:1 (March 2002).


Recipient: DEBORAH R. BARNBAUM,Teaching Empathy in Medical Ethics: The Use of ‘Lottery Assignments’,” Teaching Philosophy 24:1 (March 2001).


 Awards of Merit

Since 1990, the American Association of Philosophy Teachers has announced several recipients of their Award of Merit for Outstanding Leadership and Achievements in the Teaching of Philosophy.


Awardees include Martin Benjamin, Myles Brand, Terry Bynum, James Campbell, Daryl Close, Betsy Decyk, James Friel, Nancy Hancock, Michael Hooker, Tziporah Kasachkoff, Eugene Kelly, John Ladd, Rosalind Ladd, Matthew Lipman, Richard Schacht, Robert Solomon, Robert Timko, William Whisner, Arnold Wilson, and Emily Esch.