NOMINATIONS FOR THE UTSC TA TEACHING AWARD
In January 1992, Scarborough College Council (as it was then) established
an award to recognize the contributions made by Teaching Assistants (TAs)
to our undergraduate program. Two awards are made annually to graduate
students. In 2002, Council approved a third award to recognize an outstanding
undergraduate Teaching Assistant.
receives $200 and a citation.
Assistants in courses at the University of Toronto at Scarborough in the
Summer/Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 sessions are eligible to be considered
for this year's awards.
may be made by students and/or supervising faculty.
2. A letter of nomination
and four supporting letters, together with any relevant supporting teaching
materials, should be sent to:
Secretary to the Committees of the Council at the University of Toronto
at Scarborough Room
Note: Nominators should state clearly whether the TA is a graduate or undergraduate student.
Student nominators should download and read Tips for Student Nominators for further information and may wish to use the Template for Student Nominators for the nominating letter.
For questions on materials to include in the candidate's nomination or
regarding assembling the materials, please contact:
Director of Centre for Teaching and Learning
3. The deadline for
nominations: Nominations must be received by TBA.
SELECTION CRITERIA FOR TA TEACHING AWARD
TAs may be nominated for the UTSC TA Teaching Award on the basis of outstanding performance in any of, but certainly not constrained to, the following areas:
- Clarity of explanations in lab/lecture/tutorial--successful TAs may have been shown to bridge the gap between instructor and student, helping to identify key concepts or areas for review, using examples to illustrate these concepts and providing additional explanation where necessary. Successful individuals are likely adept at summarizing or highlighting the essence of the instructor's main presentation.
- Approachability--making students feel comfortable in asking questions and answering them in an effective manner.
- Innovation--individuals may have contributed to a course web site or developed innovative curriculum materials to support the instructor's course goals. Individuals might also have applied for a Teaching Enhancement Grant (Graduate TAs only) to support some educational initiative.
- Effectiveness--it is important to note that TAs should not be encouraged to overwork. Awards will only be made to TAs who work effectively within the hours of work they are allocated. The quality of the TA's impact on student learning is the focus, rather than the quantity of hours they are available.
Evidence of outstanding TA performance may be derived from a number of different sources. It is important to offer a variety of documents (rather than simply volume of one type of documentation such as letters) so that the nominator's claim may be triangulated using several sources. Each document presented should be referred to in the nominating letter, explaining the TA's role in creating or implementing it if appropriate. Suggestions include the following:
- Student letters--it is very important that letters say explicitly why a TA is so effective. What is it that the individual does that changes the student experience, helps the student learn more effectively, impacts student lives, etc? It is not sufficient for a letter to say "this is a great TA/the best TA I ever had," since most nominees will have such letters and it is impossible to distinguish between them.
- A class outline--this is a one-page document that shows a TA's lesson plan for a class. It gives evidence of organization and explanation and indicates the relationship of the lab/tutorial to the instructor's lecture. The outline does not simply give a list of the TA's notes. It briefly choreographs what the tutorial/lab will look like (e.g. rationale/goal for class, teaching methods, props needed, sample test questions, etc).
- Course handouts/quizzes--TAs may help prepare handouts/quizzes to support their explanations or those of the instructor.
- Web sites--TAs may contribute to the development or maintenance of course web sites or may have developed on-line modules, discussion lists, etc. The URL or a sample page of the site might be given.
- Teaching Statement--a nominee might be encouraged to write a short teaching statement about their approach to teaching. This gives the committee insights into their teaching goals.