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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

Grants & Awards

Penny Bernstein Distinguished Teaching Award

The Award Nominations Deadline has been extended to January 1, 2021.

History of the Award: The Distinguished Teaching Award is one of the annual Animal Behavior Society career awards that recognize contributions to the field of animal behavior.  Since the first recipient, Jane Brockman (1995), distinguished recipients have included among others, Gail Michener (2000), John Alcock (2007), and Bill Eberhard (2009). In 2013, the Society changed the name of the award to the Penny Bernstein Distinguished Teaching Award, in recognition of the contributions made to animal behavior education by the late Penny Bernstein.

Award Criteria: Nominees must be ABS members who are not current officers or committee chairs.  They must have a sustained record of excellent teaching in the classroom or informal education setting (e.g., zoos, aquaria, museums, 4-H programs, research labs, field stations, environmental centers). They should have a reputation among peers and students for excellence in educating people about animal behavior.

Please consider nominating a colleague whose educational accomplishments you admire! It is easy to know about our colleagues’ research by reading publications; it is much more difficult to know about their teaching excellence. Please take this opportunity to recognize colleagues who have demonstrated a sustained record of highly effective and innovative teaching.

We would also like to encourage nominating colleagues from groups underrepresented in STEM. Individuals with marginalized identities face many barriers to success in STEM and academia writ large, so being proactive about nominating these individuals for awards such as the PBDTA is essential to eliminate white supremacy in our culture.

Persons wishing to make a nomination should send a one-page letter providing evidence to support the nomination, and include names of at least two additional peer reviewers and two current or former students or program participants. Names of Department chairs, directors, supervisors, or colleagues may be helpful if you are not at the same institution as the nominee. Please note that self-nomination is encouraged. The Education Committee will solicit supporting materials from the nominee and the peer and student reviewers suggested by the nominator, and will review all materials received to select the awardee.

The recipient of this award receives recognition, a plaque from the Society, and the opportunity to organize an education-related event at an annual meeting.

Nominating letters should be submitted by January 1st, 2021, to: Darren Incorvaia  (


Previous Recipients

Distinguished Teaching Award Year Awarded
H. Jane Brockman 1995
Rudolf Jander 1996
James L. Gould 1997
Douglas K.Candland 1999
Gail R. Michener 2000
Katherine Wynne-Edwards 2001
Robert W. Matthews 2002
George H. Waring 2005
Michael Noonan 2006
John Alcock 2007
William G. Eberhard 2009
Daniel Blumstein 2010
Sylvia Halkin 2011
Stan Braude 2011
David Miller 2012
Alexandra Basolo 2014
Linda S. Rayor 2015
Peggy Hill 2016
Jennifer E. Smith 2017
Susan Riechert 2018
Alicia Mathis  2019
Anna Young 2020
Danielle Lee 2021