Teaching Excellence Awards for Teaching Assistants

The objective of the June Scott Teaching Excellence Awards for Teaching Assistants is to recognize publicly the contributions, which teaching assistants make towards the achievement of excellence in undergraduate education, and to honour those who have made exceptional contributions to teaching.

The award recipient will receive $2000 for conference travel/professional development.

June Scott Teaching Excellence Award  for Teaching Assistants 2020-21:
Julianna Chianelli from the Department of English & Drama was selected as the recipient of the UTM June Scott Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding teaching by a teaching assistant.

Click here for a list of past award recipients.


Award Criteria

The award is made on the basis of excellence in teaching in its broadest sense. Excellent teachers typically demonstrate the following qualities: display a mastery of, and enthusiasm for, the subject area, and have effective communication skills; have been exemplary in one or more areas of teaching; are judged to be "outstanding," rather than merely "very good"; stimulate and challenge students' minds, and encourage their intellectual development; and are interested in and reasonably accessible to students.


Principal Nominators

Any individual or group at the University of Toronto Mississauga may submit nominations as the principal nominator. Nominations from students are encouraged. 

Nominators are encouraged to read the following guidelines carefully prior to submitting a nomination.


Nominee Eligibility

The award is open to individuals who are currently, or was during the past academic year, engaged as a Teaching Assistant to support a primary course instructor. Individuals considered to be Teaching Assistants are normally members of various Units of CUPE3902. Nominees should be current or recently graduated University of Toronto graduate students with no more than (1) term (H or Y) of experience as a course instructor. Nominees with more than one (1) term of experience as a course instructor will be redirected to the Teaching Excellence Award for Faculty, Sessional Division.

Individuals may be nominated for the award any number of times, but may receive the award only once.


Adjudication Criteria

Nominees will be evaluated for the award by the Adjudication Committee on the basis of outstanding performance in several of the following areas:

  • Outstanding effectiveness as a teaching assistant
  • Excellent command of the subject area
  • Skills in organizing, developing and presenting course material
  • Implementation of innovative techniques that facilitate learning
  • Sensitivity to student learning needs


Adjudication Committee Process

There are no fixed criteria or rules for the selection of award winners. Members of the Teaching Awards Adjudication Committee are encouraged to use their good judgment in weighing different categories of teaching, and different sources of evidence, as they see fit. Winners will be senior teaching assistants who have taught a significant number of courses at UTM; the nomination should focus on work in those UTM courses.


Number of Awards

The role of teaching assistants varies by discipline; they are instructors, discussion leaders, tutors, laboratory demonstrators, markers, advisors, etc. Since it is impossible to compare teaching assistants who have different roles, up to three (3) awards may be made in any one year. The actual number of awards made in each year will be dependent upon the quality of the nominations received. Although the Adjudication Committee may wish to give one award in each of the three academic divisional areas, they are not required to do so. In exceptional circumstances, more than one award may be given in a division.  


Nomination Package Requirements & Format

From 2015, all nomination packages submitted to the Teaching Excellence Award for Teaching Assistants must be submitted electronically as single PDFs, and may not exceed 30 pages (excluding CV). (No hard copies of anything.)

A complete nomination package will include (1) a detailed covering letter from the principal nominator (maximum 5 pages), summarizing and explaining the documentation, and drawing attention to the most significant points brought forward in favour of the candidate, (2) a dossier outlining the nominee's teaching assistant duties and accomplishments in the areas listed under Adjudication Criteria, and (3) miscellaneous requirements outlined below, providing vital summary information to facilitate the adjudication process. The nomination should be clear, comprehensive and well documented. Nominators will need to be selective in the type and amount of evidence they collect to support the nomination package, in order to meet the 30-page limit.

The dossier may include…

  • The nominee's Curriculum Vitae. (Not included in the 30-page limit.)
  • Evaluation of the nominee by the course director.
  • Representative letters from students and others, explaining why they think the nominee is deserving of the award.
  • Course evaluations and/or student opinion surveys, if any exist, normally provided by the Chair of the appropriate department. (Please summarize any raw data.)
  • A sample and summary of other relevant information, such as teaching materials, which demonstrates the award criteria.

As academic departments have different expectations of their teaching assistants, it is not expected that a nomination dossier would include all the above evidence. 

Miscellaneous Nomination Requirements…

  • A title-page that includes the principal nominator’s contact information.
  • A table of contents, and labeled pages dividing distinct package sections.
  • A list of those who have written letters supporting the nomination, including the constituencies represented. (In general, strong nominations include support from several constituencies, such as students, other teaching assistants, and faculty.)
  • A summary, potentially included as part of the covering letter, of the important points brought forth in the letters, including pertinent quotations with the surname, in parenthesis, of the person who wrote the letter.


Deadline for Submission of the Nomination Package

The nomination package must be complete and in PDF format. The PDF should be saved in the name of the nominee. That PDF can then be uploaded to the UTSend at the link below, and using that system, sent to Rong Wu (rong.wu@utoronto.ca)


Nomination packages are due Friday, June 18, 2021 by 5pm.


Notes on Privacy & Confidentiality

  • Nomination packages will be disseminated to Adjudication Committee members, and the membership of those Committees will likely not be set until after the nomination deadline.
  • The successful nominee will be provided with a full copy of the complete nomination package (along with a congratulatory letter).
  • The Adjudication Committee administration will NOT notify unsuccessful nominees of their nomination, nor will the administration provide them (or anyone other than the Adjudication Committee) with a copy of the unsuccessful dossier.
  • Please do not include confidential information in the nomination package.


Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ will be updated throughout the competition. Please refer back here regularly to stay
up-to-date if you are preparing a nomination.

When will I find out the competition results?

  • The Adjudication Committee usually meets in June - August, so you will hear one way or the other shortly thereafter. Only the principal nominators are notified; Nominees themselves are not directly notified.

If the nomination I submitted is unsuccessful, will I be provided feedback?

  • Principal nominators will be provided with the contact information of the Chair of the Adjudication Committee upon request. Requests for feedback should be made directly to the Chair.

Further Questions?

Please contact Rong Wu (rong.wu@utoronto.ca) if you have questions about this year's June Scott Teaching Excellence Award competition.