APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs


The Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs is jointly sponsored by the American Philosophical Association (APA) and the Philosophy Documentation Center. The aim of the prize is to recognize programs that risk undertaking new initiatives and do so with excellence and success. It honors and publicizes these programs so that they may inspire others to follow their lead.

The winning program receives a plaque confirming the award and the host institution receives campus-wide online access to a bundle of philosophy resources for the following year. The value to the host institution is well over $3,000. This brings a tangible benefit to all students and faculty at the host institution, with the intention of strengthening interest in, and support for, the award winning program. The prize is given at a reception at the APA Eastern Division meeting.

2023 Winner

The 2023 winner of the Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs is the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO), affiliated with the University of Washington. This mission of this program is to nurture young people’s curiosity, critical thinking, and desire to explore big questions, through philosophy and ethics programs for students, educators, and families. This mission is based on the conviction that every child’s voice matters, and that philosophy helps young people to express their own ideas and questions confidently and well. Learn more about this program here.

2022 Winner

The 2022 winner of the Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs is the Outreach Invitational High School Ethics Bowl Program, at the Center for Public Philosophy, UC Santa Cruz. This program is held annually for high school students who have never participated in a Regional Ethics Bowl. It provides the necessary resources, including coaching, for any school to join the Ethics Bowl community. Part of what makes this program so vibrant is the enthusiastic, multi-generational collaboration among high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and members of the community. Learn more about this program here.

Eligibility and Criteria

Eligible programs include departments of philosophy in colleges and universities, as well as institutes, societies, publishers, or other organizations that develop philosophy programs or projects aimed at promoting or developing research, teaching, or the public understanding of philosophy. Eligible programs must be based primarily in the United States, though they may have an international dimension. Previous winners may be nominated again after a period of at least five years from the original award date.

Excellence is assessed by a record of achievement, the accomplishment of clearly defined goals, and the appropriateness of the program for emulation by others in the field. Innovation is assessed by the development of new research areas, new interdisciplinary or international connections, new modes of teaching or dissemination, new audiences for philosophical work, or extensions of existing boundaries of the discipline.

The selection committee consists of five people appointed by the APA’s Committee on Lectures, Publications, and Research, and includes two PDC representatives.


Any APA member familiar with a program, including those involved in its creation or direction, may nominate it. Nominations must be supported by at least three statements speaking to the criteria outlined above. Other appropriate supportive material may accompany nominations. To submit a nomination, login to the APA website and fill out the APA/PDC prize nomination form. The Award Selection Committee may, at its discretion, solicit additional information.

DEADLINE: Nominations with supporting material are due each year by June 30.

Nominations remain in effect for three years. Nominees from previous years will be notified of the opportunity to update supporting material. Questions about nomination procedure may be directed to [email protected].

Previous Winners