Excellence in Teaching Award

The Graduate College's annual Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes one outstanding master's teaching assistant and one outstanding doctoral teaching assistant for their achievements in the classroom.

The UC Excellence in Teaching Award master's student winner and doctoral student winner will be nominated to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award competition.

Upcoming Award Cycle

Applications for the 24-25 application cycle will be due in late November, 2024. 

Previous Award Cycle

The Graduate College award selection committee will select one outstanding master’s teaching assistant and one outstanding doctoral teaching assistant for the 2024 Excellence in Teaching Award. Nominated students must meet the eligibility criteria below. Nominations must be submitted directly to the Graduate College by Thursday, December 14, 2023, by 5 p.m. (extended deadline).

The recipients of the UC Excellence in Teaching Award for master’s and doctoral students will be announced by January 15, 2024. The UC Excellence in Teaching Award master’s student winner and doctoral student winner will be nominated for a 2024 Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award.


The Excellence in Teaching Award competition is open to all graduate students with teaching responsibilities enrolled in a UC graduate degree program during the calendar year 2023.

Submission Requirements

Nominations will be accepted from students, faculty, and staff members.

The nomination package will only be accepted via the submission form. Nominations which do not adhere to submission requirements, including deadlines, page limits, formatting, and video length, will not be considered.

Nomination package: 

  1. Letter of support from the head or chair of the student’s department/school/division: includes description of any departmental/school/division awards or honors presented to the nominated student for excellence in teaching.
  2. Current curriculum vitae.
  3. Nominee’s Teaching Portfolio: maximum of 6 pages, double spaced, in a 12-point font with one-inch margins.
    1. Statement of Teaching Philosophy [15 points]. Please convey your core ideas about being an effective teacher. Share your values and beliefs related to teaching and learning. Discuss your goals and the methods or strategies you use to achieve those goals.
    2. Evidence of instructional design for improved student learning [30 points]. In your experience as an instructor, explain how you have used instructional design to develop learning materials, experiences, activities, and environments that promote better student learning. This could include content production, learning activities, student-instructor interaction, peer-to-peer interaction, and effective assessments, among other things.
    3. Video clip of “Teaching in Action” (10-minute maximum/electronic link provided using YouTube or other video sharing website) [30 points]
      1. Use a video clip for a collegiate level course or above to demonstrate how you have implemented key elements of your teaching philosophy and instructional design. A variety of teaching settings may be used for the video including but not limited to lecture, facilitated discussion, lab, etc. as appropriate to the course. The focus should be on activities that demonstrate exceptional or innovative instruction or student learning, such as student engagement, personalized learning, project-based learning, etc. For asynchronous online courses, a video presentation by the instructor of key engaged learning activities, or learning environments, would be an example of good evidence. Some graduate schools provide video production support for their nominees, which enables them to focus on their instructional demonstration. 
      2. When recording class activity, pass around a sheet where all present students give their signed permission for the specific video(s) that will be shared with this award committee. The sheet(s) will not be included as part of the teaching portfolio. Submit sheet(s) as a separate document (item 4 below).
    4. Evidence of Effective Student/Colleague Mentoring [10 points]. Describe your experience with mentoring students outside of the classroom, whether that be related to the courses you teach or in other settings. Additionally, discuss any experience you have with mentoring your peers or colleagues in the context of teaching.  
    5. Evidence of Professional Development [15 points]. Explain how you have used professional development opportunities to improve your teaching skills. If appropriate, how have you aligned professional development with the feedback you have received on your teaching?
  4. Permission sheet(s) for class activity recording, signed by all present students. If submitting multiple sheets, combine the files into one single PDF.

Nominations must be submitted directly to the Graduate College, via the submission form, by 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 14, 2023. The submitter is responsible for uploading all required materials for this award competition. Submitters will NOT be notified if materials are missing or the wrong file is uploaded, and the nominator/nominee will NOT be allowed to add missing materials or update materials after the deadline.