The Alvin Singh Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence Award

Alvin Singh
Alvin Singh

The Alvin Singh Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence Award has been established in 2020 in memory of Alvin Singh by the UTM Biology Department with generous contributions from faculty, students, staff, family and friends.

Alvin started as a teaching assistant in the Biology department in the fourth year of his undergraduate degree. He continued as a teaching assistant after he graduated in 2012 (BSc., Specialist in Behaviour, Genetics and Neurobiology/Biology Major), offering his support in more than 14 Biology Department courses. At the time of his death, Alvin was in the process of advancing his teaching career and was enrolled in the Master of Education program in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Alvin was a talented educator who left a lasting impact on every student he taught. His positivity, warm smile and kind heart will be greatly missed by all.

In remembrance of Alvin and his love of teaching, the Biology Department will present the award annually to an outstanding MSc or PhD candidate in the Department of Biology at UTM with a passion for teaching, learning, and mentoring others. Recipients will receive a monetary prize and will have the award recognized on their official academic record.

Important dates for 2020-21 Award

Nominations Open: November 23, 2020

Nominations Close: March 19, 2021

Winner(s) Announced: September 30, 2021

Eligibility:

  • MSc and PhD students in good standing who are UTM-affiliated, are supervised (or co-supervised) by a UTM based faculty member in the Department of Biology at UTM
  • Who held a CUPE 3902 Unit 1 teaching assistant position during the previous academic year (May 2020 – Apr 2021)
  • Have received at least two nominations from undergraduate students and a nomination from a faculty course instructor or a teaching staff member  

Selection Criteria:

The award is based on excellence in teaching. Factors to be considered by the selection committee include the teaching assistant's ability to:

  • motivate, engage, and challenge students
  • be helpful and approachable
  • be well prepared for labs or tutorials
  • conduct the lab or tutorial in an organized and clear manner
  • have a good grasp of the subject matter
  • communicate interest and enthusiasm in the course material
  • provide constructive and timely feedback on course work
  • demonstrate a positive attitude towards teaching and learning

Nomination Process    Submit your nomination here

A nomination file will be open for a candidate when the following criteria are fulfilled: 

  1. Have received at least two nominations from undergraduate students
  2. Have received at least one nomination from a Biology faculty course instructor or a Biology teaching staff member

Student nominations:

Students in a particular course may nominate a teaching assistant for the award. Each student submitting a nomination must be registered in the course in question in the current academic year and must have direct experience as a student of the teaching assistant being nominated. The student comments/nomination should address one or more of the criteria outlined above and should include specific examples. The comments should not include actual student work.

Faculty Course Instructor/Teaching Staff Member nominations:

Faculty course instructors or teaching staff members may nominate a teaching assistant based on feed-back from students, evidence of excellent work, or direct observation of the TA’s performance.

The Selection Committee: UTM Biology Executive Committee

The committee will shortlist few candidates who will be contacted to provide further documentation:

  • Recommendation letters in addition to an initial nomination
  • A brief statement of teaching philosophy highlighting their contributions to the course
  • Sample teaching materials
  • Other documentation (e-mails from students)

University of Toronto has set-up the active on-line donation link where additional gifts to the Alvin Singh TA Graduate Student Excellence Award can now be processed: https://donate.utoronto.ca/alvin

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