Teaching awards recognize outstanding performance in the classroom; however, some recent studies have concluded that teaching awards may be perceived by peers and administrators as having been achieved at the expense of decreased research productivity. In this study, we interviewed 12 heads and chairs from departments with recent winners of the U.S. Department of Agricultures’ Excellence in College and University Teaching in Food and Agricultural Sciences Awards Program to identify the perceptions of teaching awards and the value of teaching excellence within their departments. Qualitative analysis of the interviews revealed four salient themes regarding the valuation of teaching awards and teaching excellence: culture of teaching excellence; evaluation of teaching effectiveness; relationship between teaching and research; and outcomes from winning teaching awards. Recognition of teaching excellence though receiving a teaching award was viewed by department heads and chairs as a complement to one’s collective role as a faculty member and not a detriment to one’s research productivity. This work should inspire more faculty members who excel in the classroom to partner with their administrators to submit teaching award applications.