About the Brock International Prize

“The most important thing we do in this life is to educate our children.” John Brock

Why the Brock International Prize in Education?

The Brock International Prize in Education is built upon the belief that the most important thing we do in life is to educate the next generation in order to build a better future for all. Therefore, we continually seek, discover, and award the best and most innovative ideas in education. We are looking for new and better ways to teach all subject areas, organize education programs, educate and mentor teachers, understand learning processes, as well as improve government support and funding of education. We seek educational ideas that will make systemic change and that can be useful to educators anywhere. We award the prize to people who have created innovative ideas and practices that make a demonstrable difference. The prize in not intended to recognize an exemplary career, and, in selecting the recipient of the award, we do not consider a nominee’s education level, number of honors, number of publications, or how well he or she is esteemed. The idea and its usefulness are the important considerations. We want to change the world. We want to enhance peace and prosperity. Education is an instrumental means to do that.

What is the Brock International Prize in Education?

The prize itself is awarded each year at a public ceremony during the Brock Prize Symposium and consists of $40,000, a vellum certificate, and a bust of Sequoyah.

How Do We Make the Ideas Available to the World?

There are two strategic ways that we make the ideas available to the world: through our annual Brock Prize Symposium and through our Best Ideas Network (BIN).

The Brock Prize Symposium is an annual event that is open to the public. During the Symposium, the Brock laureate receives the prize and delivers a keynote address where he/she explains the idea/innovation that earned the award. Therefore, the Brock Prize Symposium seeks to “shine a light” on notable ideas in the field of education and then to encourage the use of those ideas as a springboard for excellence to practitioners, parents, researchers, administrators, and political leaders.

Held at one of the three partnering universities, the Brock Prize Symposium is a signature event to which teachers, principals, university faculty and administrators, education executives, students, and the general public are invited to attend. The event is also broadcast live, and all content is made available online following the event.

Hosted on the Brock Prize website, the Best Ideas Network (BIN) is a robust website and online community that facilitates the discovery, curation, and sharing of paramount ideas in education.  Resources on the site include blogs, videos, podcasts, and resource listings, and represent the “best-of-the-best” from thought leaders and innovators across the education community and around the world. Also featured on the site is a downloadable pdf archive of nomination portfolios for each year’s Brock Prize nominees.

By discovering and awarding educational change-makers through the Brock Prize and sharing the best ideas though the BIN, we hope to be an instrumental part of the innovative cultural transformation occurring in education across the world.

How is the Prize Recipient Determined?

Each year, a jury of nine members selected by the chair of the executive committee deliberates to select the recipient of the Brock International Prize in Education. Jurors include educators and champions of education, university officers, meritorious professors, business and government officials, and others committed to excellence in education.

Each juror nominates one candidate and submits a brief statement on the idea of that individual. During the deliberation process, each juror makes a 30-minute oral presentation in support of his or her candidate. Discussion and elimination voting follow until the laureate for the following year is identified.

What Makes this Prize Significant?

Education is a topic of ever-growing concern in all areas of civilized society. It is a field that is carefully practiced, actively researched, and often undergoing transformation. Where once education was a benefit of a privileged few, today it has become imperative as a means to compete in an increasingly global marketplace of ideas. Put quite simply, to be uneducated significantly diminishes one’s chances of success in life. Given an environment in which so much is at stake, it is important to recognize major innovations in education and adopt them and expand their impact into other education systems.

How is the Brock Prize Administered?

The Brock Prize executive committee supervises the administration of the prize. The committee includes executive officers and representatives from Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa, and the John and Donnie Brock Foundation. The chair of the executive committee and administrator of the prize is Dr. Ed Harris, professor and Williams Chair of Educational Leadership at Oklahoma State University.

For Whom is the Brock Prize Named?

John Brock and his late wife, Donnie, are Oklahoma natives. John is chairman of the board of Medallion Petroleum, Inc. He served as an artillery officer in the Korean War, serves on several boards of directors, and is a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.  Donnie was a former educator, having taught elementary school in Oklahoma and Texas. The Brocks have been active in many civic organizations and are long-time patrons of the arts.

What is the Brock Family Community Foundation?

The Brock Family Community Foundation funds the costs for the awards and expenses of the Brock Prize. The directors of the foundation are Dr. Ed Harris, R. Blake Atkins, attorney; and Thomas W. Wilkins, president of the Trust Company of Oklahoma. The Trust Company of Oklahoma manages the foundation’s funds.