Purpose of the Awards
The GA/TA Awards for Educational Practice
The GA/TA Awards for Educational Practice (up to two awards) honours GA/TAs who have enhanced, maximized, or deepened student learning through the following means:
- By contributing effectively to a positive learning-centered environment by using scholarly and/or learning-centered strategies, methods, techniques, and learning experiences (which may include learning-centered assessment or feedback strategies, methods, techniques, or models).
- By incorporating practical, transferable skill development (communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, literacies, numeracy, teamwork, leadership, love of life-long learning) into learning experiences, consistent with the University of Windsor graduate attributes.
- By modeling high standards and expectations, reliability, availability, integrity, adaptability, respect, honesty, caring, and responsibility as a teacher.
- By interacting with students in such a way that they feel inspired, motivated, engaged, and critically challenged.
The GA/TA Award for Educational Leadership
The GA/TA Award for Educational Leadership (one award) honours a GA or TA (or team of GA/TAs) who have played an active role in shaping or transforming the teaching and learning environment of the University of Windsor, through the following means:
- Initiating, facilitating, or coordinating efforts to improve the teaching and learning environment at the departmental, faculty, or institutional levels. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Leading, individually or in collaboration with others, teaching and learning events at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level – such as open houses, GATAcademy, science fairs, teaching and learning conferences, workshops, seminars, discussion groups, and learning communities.
- Organizing, creating or otherwise leading initiatives for pedagogical information-sharing, skill-development, or pedagogical innovation, among GA/TAs at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level – such as a GA/TA guide, wiki, website, journal, or newsletter.
- Participating as a student representative in curriculum refinement and development activities at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level.
- Promoting and helping others to implement, scholarly and/or learning-centred strategies, methods, and techniques in instruction, assessment, mentorship, or other forms of teaching.
- Identifying and solving, by oneself or in collaboration with others, teaching and learning problems at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level.
- Effectively mentoring other GA/TAs in teaching and learning, while modeling high standards and expectations, reliability, availability, integrity, adaptability, respect, honesty, caring, and responsibility as a teacher.
Decisions regarding GA/TA Awards are made on the basis of nomination packages, which are targeted to demonstrate achievement of the criteria for the GA/TA awards. Nomination packages include the nominee’s teaching dossier.
At any point during the nomination process, you’re invited to contact the CTL for help. Just email Dr. Pierre Boulos (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ask questions or set up an appointment.
STEP ONE: Determine whether the nominee meets the eligibility criteria
- The nominee must be either:
- Presently employed as a GA/TA at the University of Windsor, OR
- Has been employed as a GA/TA at the University of Windsor within 12 months of the call for nominations.
- The nominee has not previously won the award for which he or she is being nominated.
- A nominee who has won a different award is still eligible.
STEP TWO: Complete the online nomination form
- The nominators must be:
- A past or present student of the GA/TA, OR
- A colleague who is well informed of the nominee’s teaching excellence or educational leadership, OR
- A faculty member who is well informed of the nominee’s teaching excellence or educational leadership, OR
- A staff member who is well informed of the nominee’s teaching excellence or educational leadership.
- GA/TAs may not nominate themselves.
STEP THREE: Create a nomination package
Nomination packages must be:
- No longer than 40 pages, including letters and appendices.
- Well-organized and readable
- Primarily textual, though where appropriate, audio-visual supplementary material may be included, provided that any video or audio are no more than 15 minutes in length, combined, and are playable on multiple hardware formats using common software.
The nomination package has two components:
- A cover letter from the nominator that explains why the nominee should win the award, providing concrete and relevant examples of what the nominee has done to meet the award criteria, and situating the nominee’s work in the context of his/her disciplinary and departmental norms.
- Nominee’s teaching dossier which should include:
- A teaching philosophy (no more than 2 pages), explaining the nominee’s beliefs and values regarding teaching, how those beliefs and values drive his or her teaching practices, and how he or she has developed as a teacher.
- curriculum vitae of 2-8 pages, focusing on details regarding one’s teaching experience (including, but not limited to, GA/TA work).
- Evidence for teaching effectiveness, including but not limited to:
- formal and informal feedback from students, colleagues, faculty or staff
- teaching artefacts (e.g., lesson plans, constructive student feedback, rubrics, assessment plans, course materials, etc.)
- letters from students and/or faculty supervisors (should be included in the dossier, signed, with contact information)
- previous awards and/or nominations
- teaching and learning presentations and publications
- professional development activities (e.g., workshops, courses, conferences, etc.)
Please note that if you are sharing samples of student work, you must obtain the permission of the student, if possible. If it is not possible to get in touch with the student who completed the work, ensure that there is no identifying information in the work, so the student is as anonymous as possible.
STEP FIVE: Submission
Complete nomination dossiers (as PDFs) must be received by the Centre for Teaching and Learning by 5:00 on the day nominations close. Late nominations will not be accepted.
Past nominees have told us that the process of creating their dossiers was worth the effort, even if they didn’t win – and that’s intentional. The process of creating a good nomination package inspires and guides reflection on what really matters the nominee as a teacher, and by requiring you to provide evidence of the effect you’d had, requires you to think about your teaching in a more scholarly manner. From another perspective, this process ensures that the award committee can base its decision as much as possible on evidence rather than conjecture.
Nominators and nominees are encouraged to consult with the CTL for feedback regarding their dossier preparation (email@example.com). Model dossiers from past GA/TA Award winners are available for browsing at the CTL by appointment.
Nomination dossiers will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of:
- A committee chair from the Centre for Teaching and Learning
- The committee chair does not have voting privileges, except as a tie-breaker.
- Two faculty members that, as a group, represent a broad range of GA/TA responsibilities.
- One representative from the GATA Network.
- One GA/TA award winner (when possible).
Whenever possible, committee representatives will be drawn from a diverse range of departments and faculties.
What the Award Entails
Winners will be announced publicly in such places as in the University of Windsor Daily News and on the CTL website, and letters will be sent to each winner’s nominators, department head, and faculty dean, in case they wish to follow up with their own form of recognition.
Excerpts from the winners’ nomination packages may be used and/or made public on the GATA award webpage.
Winners will receive a framed certificate, free registration at the next Windsor teaching and learning conference (or similar conference), and a copy of a teaching-related book such as Wilbert McKeachie’s Teaching Tips.
Winners will also be recognized at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence, alongside award-winning faculty members.
Brief biographies and photos of all winners, including summaries of the accomplishments that resulted in their awards, will be kept on the CTL website for future recognition and inspiration.
Questions and comments may be directed to Dr. Pierre Boulos, firstname.lastname@example.org.