Unit 1 Teaching Assistants and Unit 3 Sessional Instructional Assistants Awards

Deadline for nominations: Friday, May 3, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. 

I. Eligibility

These awards are for undergraduate and graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Sessional Instructional Assistants (SIAs) who have taught at UTSC in at least two different terms and have taught in at least one of the terms of the 2018/2019 academic year (Summer 2018, Fall 2018 or Winter 2019 sessions). There are awards in each of the three categories: Undergraduate TA (up to one award), Graduate student TA (up to 2 awards), SIA (up to one award). Note: An individual can only win the award once in each category throughout their career at UTSC. It is important to note that TAs/SIAs should not be encouraged to overwork. Awards are intended for TAs/SIAs who work effectively within the hours of work they are allocated. The list of past recipients can be found at Unit 1 Teaching Assistants and Unit 3 Sessional Instructional Assistants Award Recipients.

II. Criteria 

Nominees are assessed on the basis of outstanding performance in the advancement of student learning.  This might be demonstrated in any of, but not limited to, the following areas:

  1. Clarity of explanations in lab/lecture/tutorial. Successful TAs/SIAs 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 needed. 
  2. Ability to summarize or highlight the essence of the instructor's main presentation.
  3. Approachability. Enabling students to feel comfortable in asking questions and answering them in an effective manner.
  4. Innovation. Contributing to a course web site or helping to develop innovative curriculum material to support the instructor's course goals.


III. The Nomination Package Components

Nominators should state clearly whether the nominee is a graduate TA or undergraduate TA or an SIA. A complete nomination package consists of a PDF file that contains the following:

  1. Letter of nomination written by a member of the University community, detailing the specific contributions of the nominee, which address the selection criteria above. If the nominator is not the course instructor (or academic supervisor) to whom the nominee reports, then the nomination letter needs to be accompanied by a letter of support from the course instructor or academic supervisor.
  2. Up to four supporting letters from others who are aware of the nominee’s teaching. It is key that these letters present clearly evidence why a TA/SIA is effective. For example, what is it that the individual does that changes the student experience, or helps the student learn more effectively, or impacts student lives? Indicating that "She/he is a great TA/SIA” or “the best TA/SIA I ever had" may be a sincere assessment but does little to distinguish among nominations.
  3. Other evidence of outstanding TA/SIA performance. This evidence may be derived from a number of different sources. It is important to offer a range of evidence so that the nominator's claim may be cross-referenced using several sources. Each document presented should be referred to in the nominating letter, explaining the TA's/SIA’s role as appropriate. Examples include the following: 

A class outline This is typically a one-page document that shows a TA/SIA’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. It briefly choreographs what the tutorial/lab will look like (e.g. rationale/goal for class, teaching methods, props needed, sample test questions).
Course handouts/quizzes TAs/SIAs may have assisted in preparing handouts/quizzes to support their explanations or those of the instructor.
Web sites TAs/SIAs 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 can be encouraged to write a short teaching statement about their approach to teaching. This provides the committee insight into their teaching goals and approaches.


IV. Nomination Deadline and Information for Nomination Submission

The deadline for nominations is May, 3, 2019, 5 pm. The complete nomination package should be sent as one electronic, PDF file to: Judy Brunton (brunton@utsc.utoronto.ca), Centre for Teaching and Learning, IC365. Questions regarding the nomination process should be directed to the Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at adteaching@utsc.utoronto.ca.