TA Teaching Excellence Award

The University of Toronto acknowledges the work of teaching assistants, and the contributions they make to teaching and learning at this institution, in a number of ways.  Since 2003, the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program has awarded the Teaching Excellence Award to TAs across the university. Recipients will receive a monetary award, the opportunity to participate in the TA Award winner panel at Tri-campus TA Day, and a certificate. 

TA Teaching Excellence Award Recipients
Shaghayegh (Shay) Chavoshian, Biomedical Engineering
Cassandra Olsen, English
Sam Sanchinel, Women and Gender Studies
Qusai (Q) Hassan, Chemistry
Paul Pritchard, Sociology

Ryan Borochovitz, Centre for Drama and Performance Studies
Titilola Aiyegbusi, English
Ivonne Rebeca Lopez-Miranda, Chemistry
Utkarsh Chadha, Engineering
Thomas de Boer, Civil Engineering
Jandell-Jamela Nicholas, Geography & Planning
Marcin Janczak, French
Daniela D Rodriguez, Economics
Xin Yi Lim, Spanish and Portuguese
Cassandra Olsen, English

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 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. Non-student-facing contracts (e.g. grading only) can be counted in these hours.
  • They have held a TA appointment during the current academic year (May 1, 2022 – April 30, 2023) 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 colleagues, your department, and students know how they can nominate a TA. All nominations are anonymous, and a TA should not be involved in this process beyond sharing a link to this page. 

TAs are prohibited from soliciting nominations for the award. Reporting of such behaviour may result in removal of nominations from consideration. TAs may inform students that the award exists and direct them to the appropriate web link. They may not ask students or faculty directly to nominate them for the award. Faculty and undergraduate students are actively encouraged to engage students in nominating a TA for the award. 

A nomination file is opened for a candidate when the minimum number of two online forms or nomination letters are completed.

  • 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
  • Nomination letters must directly speak to the selection criteria.

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. Applications should demonstrate evidence for 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 submit all materials to  the TATP, accompanied by a COVER LETTER, by April 12th, 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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