Higher-Education Venture Introduces a $500,000 Prize for Teaching

The Minerva Project, the ambitious, for-profit venture that seeks to open a new kind of higher-education institution on par with top-tier universities, on Monday announced plans to award an annual $500,000 cash prize to a faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional innovations in teaching. The first so-called Minerva Prize will be awarded next year, and will be administered by a nonprofit organization called the Minerva Academy, which touts a former Nobel Prize winner as its leader. The Minerva Project has also attracted attention for receiving $25-million in seed money, and for adding some prominent higher-education personalities to the ranks of its leadership.

“It’s interesting because they’re putting a stake out there for us all to evaluate — if they’re able to pull it off,” said Kevin Guthrie, the president of Ithaka, a nonprofit group that conducts research on the use of digital technologies in higher education. “It’s a valuable test, trying to reimagine or rebundle educational services in a post-digital world.”

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