CI Teaching Excellence Award

In 2015, the TATP launched the first-ever TATP award specifically for graduate student Course Instructors! This award recognizes one graduate student whose outstanding work as a sole-responsibility Course Instructor shows evidence of educational leadership, meaningful contributions to course and curriculum development, and impact on student learning.

In each award year (May 1 – April 29), one Course Instructor Award will be offered. The successful candidate will receive a monetary award and a certificate. All shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend the University of Toronto’s annual Teaching & Learning Symposium. The Symposium, hosted by the University President, is a full-day event showcasing innovative teaching research and effective teaching practices, and is an event reserved for U of T faculty members, librarians and appointed staff. The shortlisted candidates will participate as Special Guests.

Preference will be given to Course Instructors who have held more than one appointment.

If a student would like to nominate their graduate student Course Instructor, they should speak to their department.

2023 Winner: Leanne Toshiko Simpson, OISE

  • Peter Serles, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
  • Sabeen Kazmi, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
  • Storm Jeffers, Sociology
  • Zachariah Black, Political Scienc

Eligibility Requirements

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

To be eligible, all of the following requirements must be met. The CI:  

  • has an appointment between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2024.  
  • has held at least one previous appointment as a CI prior to January 1, 2024. Preference will be given to CIs who have held more than one appointment.  
  • is currently enrolled (in good standing) in the School of Graduate Studies and is a member of Units 1, 2, or 4 of CUPE 3902 on May 1, 2022.   

** Nominees who have been previously shortlisted for a TATP CI award are eligible. Previous winners of the TATP TA award are also eligible.   

If any of the following apply, the CI is ineligible. The CI:   

  • is completing their first and only CI appointment during the January 2024 semester.   
  • is not enrolled (in good standing) in the School of Graduate Studies, and/or is not a member of Units 1, 2, or 4 of CUPE 3902.  
  • is being nominated for the CI award for a head TA appointment or for an appointment that they co-facilitate with another instructor.   
  • is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Units 1 or 5, or a Sessional Lecturer in Unit 3.   
  • has previously won a TATP CI award.   

If you have any questions about multiple instructors in a single course (e.g., multiple sections with separate instructors), please contact us.  

Nomination Process

How to be nominated:  

Nominations for the CI award must come directly from the department and need to be organized by a supporting faculty member. If a student would like to nominate their graduate student CI, they should contact their department.   

A nomination file is considered complete for a candidate when all the following materials have been received:  

  • 1 Online Nomination Form. This form should be completed and submitted by the department.    
  • At least 1 Letter of Nomination from an appointed faculty member. The letter must be from a faculty member who has direct experience with the nominee and knowledge of the nominee’s teaching activities; for example, through directly supervising their teaching or observing them in the classroom. The letter must address the selection criteria and should speak to any significant or innovative contributions the nominee made to the development of a course. This letter should also identify whether the nominee has been teaching existing courses in the department, has had the opportunity to develop courses from scratch, or has significantly revised/redesigned existing courses.   
  • At least 1 Letter of Nomination from a former student. The letter should address the selection criteria and speak to the impact the CI has had on the nominee’s learning. Where possible, the student can identify any significant or innovative contributions the nominee has made to the course. IMPORTANT: letters from current students of the CI are not permitted; letters of nomination must be from former students.  

Additional letters may be provided by non-appointed faculty (e.g., Sessional Lecturers, CLTAs, or Post-Doctoral instructors), by fellow CIs, or by additional students. However, the above requirements must be met for the nomination to go forward.   

The TATP will contact CI nominees for additional supporting documentation only if the candidate is shortlisted for the award.     

Nominations should be EMAILED to the TATP:   

Timeline:

  1. Nominations Open: November 18, 2022
  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 

With the understanding that CIs in different disciplines will be required to perform a variety of duties and fulfil a wide range of expectations, shortlisted candidates must demonstrate sustained and ongoing excellence in their teaching, and must exhibit the following attributes, skills, or accomplishments:   

  • 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.). 
  • Course design: course structure and organization are effectively aligned (with learning outcomes, assessments, and content delivery). 
  • Student engagement: effectively engages learners, ensuring a wide range of participation from all students; develops interest for the course topic.     
  • Communication: explains complex topics in a way that facilitates comprehension; effectively communicates expectations; relates current issues/research to student experiences, while highlighting concrete applications; provides helpful feedback to students.    
  • Organization: effectively organizes course administration, lesson planning, student learning supports and resources, and coordinates with colleagues/course TAs. 
  • Knowledge exchange: demonstrates depth of knowledge in their field; inspires students to care about the discipline and to reflect on the social implications of their learning; considers a broad range of perspectives and worldviews.    
  • Innovation: uses creative and/or new teaching strategies; develops and/or uses novel materials/tools (e.g., handouts, demos, assignments, etc.).   
  • 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. 

Supporting Documentation for Shortlisted Candidates 

The shortlisted nominee must submit all of the following:  

1. Reference letters  

  • At least one faculty reference letter.  
  • At least one student reference letter.  

** These letters can be the same ones that were submitted with the original nomination; however, they must be re-submitted with the rest of the supporting documentation. 

2. Statement of Teaching Philosophy

3. Teaching Materials (totaling up to 75 pages) 

  • Course syllabus  
  • Sample assignment instructions  
  • Sample lesson plan  
  • Examples of summative evaluations (e.g., test, quiz, exam, final project)  
  • A detailed summary of available course evaluation data  

The shortlisted nominee may also include additional teaching materials:  

  • sample communications with students (e.g., unsolicited emails from former students, instructions or advice emailed to former or current students)  
  • sample feedback to students  
  • examples of student work (anonymous)  
  • departmental feedback on teaching and letters of observation  
  • examples of effective TA coordination (e.g., meeting agendas or minutes, sample instructions for TAs, course resources designed for TAs, sample communications with TAs, suggested grading rubrics)A Cover Letter (one page). In your cover letter, clearly indicate: 
  • your program of study, 
  • courses for which you hold a CI position,  
  • what documentation is being provided, and the rationale for supplying the selected teaching materials (i.e., the qualities or teaching strengths that the materials meant to demonstrate), and  
  • the names of faculty nominators.  

Notes:

  • The teaching philosophy statement and all materials provided must have been prepared by the nominated CI, not a colleague or the Course Coordinator.  
  • Teaching and additional materials can be from current or previous appointments but cannot include any information (emails, feedback, course work) from current students 
  • Any information that may identify your students must be removed. First names are okay; full names, email addresses, etc., are not. 
  • Additional letters or emails from students or faculty members may also be included.

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

Nomination Form 

THIS NOMINATION FORM SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY A DEPARTMENT MEMBER (either department contact or faculty member)

If a student would like to nominate their graduate student Course Instructor, they should speak to their department.

Please note: the nomination package must be prepared and submitted by the department and organized by a supporting faculty member.

If you have any questions, contact the TATP.

Nominations Close: February 24, 2023 at end of day (5:00 pm) 

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