BIPOC TA Teaching Excellence Award

The Teaching Assistants’ Training Program’s (TATP) Teaching Excellence Award was created in 2003 to recognize the outstanding contributions of teaching assistants at the University of Toronto. The award seeks to value the work of TAs who regularly inspire and challenge undergraduate students.

The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Colour) Teaching Excellence Award is being launched in 2022, in response to a recommendation in the Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Task Force to recognize lived experiences of members of various Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities whose experience in academic settings have been disproportionately impacted by systemic barriers and other forms of discrimination, as well as highlight their accomplishments and excellence in teaching practice at the University of Toronto. Recipient will receive a monetary award, the opportunity to participate in the TA Award winner panel at the Tri-campus TA Week, and a certificate.

BIPOC TA Teaching Excellence Award Recipient
Titilola Aiyegbusi, English

Aalaya Milne, Kinesiology and Physical Education

Eligibility Requirements

Please attentively examine the eligibility and ineligibility requirements before putting in an application. This award recognizes TAs who have contact time with undergraduate students. 

TA is eligible if: 

  • They self-identify as a member of a Black, Indigenous and/or racialized community
  • They receive 2 or more student nominations (NB: Faculty may submit a nomination, but evidence of student support will be required as well). 
  • They have at least 100 hours of TA experience at the University of Toronto prior to the current academic year. 
  • They have held a TA appointment during the current academic year (May 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024) in an undergraduate course. 
  • They have been a member of CUPE 3902, Units 1, 2, or 4 and enrolled in the School of Graduate Studies. 
  • They have been a previously shortlisted nominee. 

TA is ineligible if: 

  • They were a previous winner. (Those who have previously been shortlisted can reapply). 
  • They are a TA holding their first TA appointment at the University of Toronto in the current academic year. 
  • They have taught for less than 100 hours as a TA at the University of Toronto prior to the current academic year. 
  • They have only taught graduate students or have held exclusively administrative positions. 

Nomination Process

How to be nominated: 

If you are a Teaching Assistant who would like to share information about this award, please let students, colleagues, your department, and supervising instructors know how they can support your nomination. Again, as a self nominee, you can inform your former students that the award exists and direct them to the appropriate Nomination Form. You may ask students or faculty directly to support your nomination for the award.

A nomination file is opened for a candidate when the following criteria are fulfilled: 

  • A Self-Nomination Form (link) is filled out and submitted.
  • At least 2 (two) nominations from former students of the TA are submitted using the Student Nomination Form (link)

Additional letters of support can come from faculty or staff. Please note that these nominations will only be accepted from individuals with direct experience as: a student of the TA; a direct supervisor of the TA with knowledge of their teaching activities; or a colleague (staff or faculty) who has directly observed the teaching of the TA. Faculty members are encouraged to submit nominations; however, evidence of student support is mandatory to be considered for the award. These nominations can be submitted using the Faculty Nomination Form (link)

For shortlisted candidates: 

  • The TATP will contact TA nominees for additional supporting documentation if the candidate is shortlisted for the award. 
  • Faculty please note: Shortlisted candidates must provide a faculty reference letter in addition to an initial nomination. 


  1. Nominations Open: November 6, 2023
  2. Nominations Close: February 23, 2024 at end of day (5:00p.m.)
  3. Short List Announced: March 22, 2024
  4. Supporting Material Due: April 12, 2024 at end of day (5:00p.m.)
  5. Winners Announced: April 30, 2024

Selection Criteria (TA)

With the understanding that TAs in different disciplines will be required to perform a variety of duties and fulfill a wide range of responsibilities, candidates must demonstrate sustained and ongoing excellence in their teaching, and should exhibit the following: 

  • Accessibility: actively uses strategies to create an accessible learning environment and content that reduces barriers to learning and supports the inclusion and engagement of all students. 
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion: employs teaching practices and pedagogies that advance equity, diversity, and inclusion (e.g., incorporates and advances anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and decolonizing efforts; integrates intercultural perspectives; takes action to address issues of inequity and injustice; etc.). 
  • Organizational skills: demonstrates ability to effectively organize, structure, and facilitate tutorials, labs, or classes. 
  • Commitment to reflective practice and growth: demonstrates critical reflection on their own teaching over time, evidenced by development of their teaching practice in response to feedback and/or by pursuing opportunities to continually enhance their teaching practice. 
  • Communication: provides clear examples and explanations; effectively communicates expectations; relates current issues/research to student experiences, while highlighting concrete applications. 
  • Quality of feedback: provides effective feedback and mentoring to students. 
  • Student engagement: demonstrates ability to encourage a wide range of participation and engagement from all students. 
  • Innovative teaching: uses creative and/or new teaching strategies; develops and/or uses effective materials/tools (e.g., handouts, demos, assignments, etc.). 

Supporting Documentation (TA) for Shortlisted Candidates 

Shortlisted candidates for this award will be asked to provide ALL the following documentation in an award dossier (please note this is not a teaching dossier): 

  • cover letter (one page) summarizing why you are a strong candidate for the award. Please include your program of study, the courses you are TAing, a brief overview of the contents of your teaching dossier, and the names of faculty nominators, 
  • An abbreviated CV that includes a summary of all your teaching experience. 
  • One or more letter(s) of support from a faculty member familiar with your teaching. 
  • teaching philosophy statement addressing your beliefs and practices about teaching and learning in your discipline. Information on Preparing Your Teaching Philosophy Statement is available.  
  • Sample teaching materials, each of which should be contextualized by a brief description of how it relates to your teaching philosophy, practices, or strengths. Please provide a variety of teaching materials, totaling no more than 60 pages. All materials must have been drafted by the candidate, not a faculty member or Course Coordinator. Sample teaching materials could include some of the following (all elements are not required):
    • sample lesson plan for a tutorial or class
    • sample quiz or test
    • examples of exam questions
    • examples of essay questions
    • instructions for an in-class activity
    • selected slides from a lecture or tutorial presentation (with a lesson plan or talking points; do not include full slide decks)
    • tutorial syllabus
    • instructions for an individual assignment
    • unsolicited emails from students from a course TA’d between January 2022 and December 2023
    • course evaluations (if available) from a course TA’d between January 2022 and December 2023 


  • Any information that may identify your students must be removed. First names are okay; full names, email addresses, etc., are not. 
  • DO NOT INCLUDE MATERIAL FROM CURRENT STUDENTS. This would include emails, letters, or student work.  
  • Additional letters or emails from students or faculty members may also be included. 

 Shortlisted candidates must email all materials to the TATP, accompanied by a COVER LETTER, by April 12th, 2024 at end of day (5:00 pm). 

BIPOC TA Self-Nomination Form

If you have any questions about this award or the process, please contact us. Your identify is complex and personal – we understand and respect that. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential and are only used for the purposes of the adjudication of the award.

Nominations Close: February 23, 2024 at end of day (5:00 pm)

Student Nomination Form 

Thank you for taking the time to nominate a TA. All nominations are confidential.

If you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please contact the TATP.

Nominations Close: February 23, 2024 at end of day (5:00 pm)

Faculty Nomination Form

Thank you for taking the time to nominate a TA. All nominations are confidential.

If you have any questions regarding the nomination process, please contact the TATP.

Nominations Close: February 23, 2024 at end of day (5:00 pm)

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