Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs

Co-sponsored with the American Philosophical Association


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.

2020 Winner


The 2020 winner of the Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs is the P4C Texas/Aggie School of Athens Philosophy Summer Camp for Teens at Texas A & M.

The Aggie School of Athens Summer Camp was founded in 2016 as a week-long summer camp for teens and tweens from the Bryan/College Station community and beyond. It was initially conceived of as a way to bridge the gap between college and pre-college classrooms, allowing underserved populations early access to the kinds of humanistic inquiry that are the hallmarks of a philosophic education.

Since then, the program has increased the number of kids served, partnered with several other institutions on campus to diversify the kinds of programming available, and sought external funding to continue to keep the camp free and accessible. The goal of this program is to help students explore ways in which philosophy can have a tangible impact in their lives.

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