Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Illinois State University
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Outstanding University Teacher Award- Graduate Teaching Award

(revised March 2013)

Overview

These awards are for graduate students who make outstanding contributions to teaching as part of their program and educational experience at Illinois State University. These awards are designed to recognize persistent, focused, and purposeful dedication to striving for excellence. This includes: learning about and applying effective instructional practices across a wide range of teaching activities; evaluating the effectiveness of those practices; and reflecting on personal values and professional experiences to shape future teaching practices. This award has three categories:

  • Level I: Doctoral degree graduate assistants with sole responsibility for instruction in a course.
  • Level I: Master’s degree graduate assistants with sole responsibility for instruction in a course.
  • Level II: Master’s or doctoral graduate assistants directing labs or discussion groups associated with a course taught by a faculty member, or who have significant responsibilities team-teaching or co-teaching a course.

Eligibility Criteria

Graduate teaching assistants currently holding at least a .25 FTE appointment (6-10 hours per week) related to one of the above award categories, or who have held such an appointment for at least one full term (fall, spring, or summer) of the current academic year at the time of their nomination, are eligible.

Note: Current graduate student members of the University Teaching Committee are ineligible.

Nomination Procedures

  • At the Department/School Level
  • At the College Level
  • University Teaching Committee Process

Nominators

Any current or former ISU department chairperson, school director, division head, or dean; any current or former ISU full- or part-time faculty member; or any current or former full- or part-time ISU student may nominate someone meeting the eligibility requirements for this award. Nomination letters or emails should be sent directly to the candidate’s department chair/school director. Nomination letters/emails should:

  • Provide the nominee’s name and academic department/school
  • Explain the nominator’s basis of knowledge of nominee’s teaching
  • Explain why the nominee should be considered for this award

Selection

The chair/director should use a selection process developed and implemented in consultation with the DFSC/SFSC to identify no more than two nominees each year and forward those names to the Chair, University Teaching Committee, via email no later than 4:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of April. Nominees should then prepare their teaching portfolios and submit them to their chairs by the first Tuesday of September (or a date arranged with the chair/director). Chairs/directors then forward completed portfolios to their college dean’s office no later than the third Tuesday of September.

Each dean, dean’s appointee, and/or selection committee, in conjunction with the College Council, shall do the following:

  • Each college may nominate up to three candidates for each award category. (An exception is the College of Arts and Sciences, which may forward up to three in each category for each division: social sciences, sciences, humanities.)
  • Each nomination should include the candidate’s application materials, including the nomination form signed by the candidate’s chair/director and dean.
  • Nominations should be sent to the special email address included in the letter sent to deans from CTLT Director Claire Lamonica. If you need assistance, please contact Dr. Lamonica at cclamon@IllinoisState.edu.
  • All materials must be received electronically no later than 4:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of October. No late nominations or materials will be accepted.
  • The college should notify each nominee’s department chair/school director of the college-level outcome.
  • Chairs/School directors should notify their department’s nominees of college outcomes.

The UTC shall evaluate nominees’ materials to select recipients and notify each finalist of the outcome. In the case of portfolios of equal merit, preference shall go to those who have not previously won the award.

Please Note: Teaching in Action Videos

Nominees for Graduate Student Teaching Awards should note that the portfolio preparation guidelines for this award are designed to prepare qualified award winners to be nominated for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ Excellence in Teaching Award. Thus, eligible winners of a university-level award at Illinois State should be able to apply for this regional award without substantive revisions to their portfolios. More information about the MAGS award and how entries are evaluated is available from the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools.

Note that in the rare instance that your teaching record might not include elements for every section of the portfolio identified here, as a last resort you should insert a single page with the title of the section and the phrase “Nothing to report” in place of the essay. The list of contents that should be included in a portfolio is followed by explanations of each item to guide portfolio preparation.

Teaching Portfolio Contents

Nominees should scrupulously adhere to all page length restrictions. The 2-page limit assumes 12-point font with 1” margins, and includes images and tables.

See this list for general tips on creating a compelling teaching portfolio.

  • Table of Contents
  • Letter of Nomination #1-Faculty Member
  • Letter of Nomination #2-School/Department Administrator
  • A Current CV
  • Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  • Evidence of Instructional Design, Innovation, and Delivery, Course Management, and Student Learning
  • Teaching in Action Video
  • Student Evaluation of Teaching
  • Evidence of Scholarship in Teaching/Learning
  • Evidence of Effective Student/Colleague Mentoring
  • Selected Artifacts

Length: 1 page
Use the following list as your table of contents (even if you do not have materials for each and every section) and to organize your portfolio so that reviewers can find your materials. For printed portfolios, using labeled dividers for each section will help evaluators find pertinent materials. For electronic portfolios, using those topics as primary links will similarly help evaluators find pertinent materials.

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Letter of Nomination #1-Faculty Member
  3. Letter of Nomination #2-School/Department Administrator
  4. A Current CV
  5. Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  6. Evidence of Instructional Design, Innovation, and Delivery, Course Management, and Student Learning
  7. Teaching in Action Video
  8. Student Evaluation of Teaching
  9. Evidence of Scholarship in Teaching/Learning
  10. Evidence of Effective Student/Colleague Mentoring
  11. Selected Artifacts

The letter of nomination should be written by the faculty member most familiar with your teaching and should include a description of any honors you’ve previously earned in recognition of excellence in teaching in your school/department.

The letter of support should be written by either the graduate director or the chair/director of your school/department. This letter should include a description of any honors you’ve previously earned in recognition of excellence in teaching at the college or institutional level.

It may not be necessary to provide the committee with your entire CV. You may choose to focus this version of the document on the information most pertinent to your work as a teacher.

Do include standard CV items, as appropriate, pertinent, and helpful, especially

  • References to teaching experience and assignments
  • Instruction-related recognition (including your nomination for this award)
  • Citations for SoTL work

The following elements of your portfolio should total no more than 6 pages, double spaced.

  • Statement of Teaching Philosophy
  • Evidence of Instructional Design, Innovation, and Delivery, Course Management, and Student Learning
  • Teaching in Action Video
  • Student Evaluation of Teaching
  • Evidence of Scholarship in Teaching/Learning
  • Evidence of Effective Student/Colleague Mentoring
  • Selected Artifacts

This statement should identify your foundational beliefs about teaching and learning and explain how you implement those beliefs into your instructional activities. The best Teaching Philosophy Statements articulate teaching philosophies that reflect significant time and effort to develop and refine and articulate the instructor’s fundamental approaches to teaching. Also, the best teaching philosophies are reflected throughout the rest of the elements that make up the portfolio and present the instructor’s approaches to teaching and ongoing development as a professional.

Be Sure To:

  • Identify your foundational beliefs about teaching and learning.
  • Explain how you implement your beliefs about teaching and learning through your instructional activities.
  • Include attention to the ways in which your teaching is culturally responsive.

This part of your narrative should provide evidence of the, likely significant, effort you have put into designing and delivering innovative, well-managed courses that have been effective in promoting student learning.

Few of us really enjoy watching videos of our teaching, but the best teachers make use of such tools to reflect on and learn from their own teaching in action.  Thus, in accordance with requirements for the “Excellence in Teaching” award offered by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS), Illinois State University now asks Graduate Student Teaching award nominees to submit a “Teaching in Action Video.”  As noted on the MAGS website, your video

  • may not be more than 10 minutes long (and may be shorter)
  • should feature your teaching in any one of a variety of teaching settings, including (but not limited to) lecture hall, classroom, laboratory, seminar room, studio, etc.
  • will be assessed on the quality of your teaching and student learning (as demonstrated through student engagement, enthusiasm, knowledge of subject matter, etc.), NOT on the quality of the video

Teaching in Action videos should be uploaded to YouTube. Include a link to the video in your portfolio.

In addition, you must sign a video release form and include it in your portfolio. You must also have a signed release from each student in the class who appears in the video, which you should keep for your own records.

This portion of your narrative should include the course numbers and titles for all courses you have taught as a graduate teaching assistant at this institution, the number of students enrolled in each, your instructional responsibilities, and a summary of student evaluations.

This portion of your narrative should include information about any publications, presentations, or grant proposals submitted/funded which focused on teaching/learning; evidence of how pedagogical research informs your teaching.

This portion of your narrative should describe your effectiveness as a mentor of undergraduate students and/or your fellow graduate students.

Nominees may include up to (but no more than) five artifacts or forms of documentation. The small number means that nominees must be selective about what they include, based on their judgment about which items best illustrate, illuminate, support, and reinforce their teaching record as described in the rest of the portfolio. Also effective are artifacts that demonstrate the effectiveness of your practices and activities by including information and evidence on student outcomes. The most effective artifacts will be those that are cited explicitly and contextualized in the essay(s) relevant to the artifact.

Artifacts can include forms of documentation typically included in a standard teaching portfolio, but can also include other items that nominees believe are important to understanding themselves as teachers. For example, if a nominee has articulated his or her success in course development activities in an essay, materials related to that effort are a possible artifact. If a nominee has articulated his or her emphasis on instructional innovations in an essay, materials related to that effort might be considered as one of the artifacts. Note: Nominees are required to obtain students’ permission to include student work in the portfolio and, when appropriate, to remove all identifying information from any student work.

For each artifact, you can provide a cover page with an explanation (approximately one-half page single spaced) explaining what the artifact is, what theme/practice/idea that it is intended to illustrate or convey, and which portfolio elements are pertinent.

2019-02-06T09:55:04.448-06:00 2019