TA Awards

Campus-Wide TA Awards

L&S is pleased to collaborate with the Graduate School and the Morgridge Center to celebrate outstanding performances by Teaching Assistants (TAs) across campus. The Campus-Wide TA Awards recognize excellence in a variety of categories. Winners receive a certificate of accomplishment, a $1000 award, and will be recognized at the annual Campus-Wide TA Awards Ceremony.

The deadline to make 2023 Campus-Wide TA Award nominations was Monday, November 20, 2023.

Eligibility & Restrictions

  • Any graduate student who has worked as a TA may be nominated if they are meeting satisfactory progress requirements (as set by the nominating department) and are enrolled as a graduate student.
  • TAs may only be nominated for one award each year.
  • TAs cannot be nominated in an award category they have already won.
  • TAs may only be nominated once for the Capstone Teaching Award (for other awards, TAs may be renominated if they didn’t receive the award).
  • Each department may only nominate three TAs per year.

Nomination Procedures

TAs are nominated by a faculty/staff member in the employing department (i.e. the department where they have held a TA appointment).

  • TAs who wish to be nominated should speak with their TA appointment supervisor.
  • Faculty/staff who wish to nominate a TA should speak with the department Chair or their designee.
  • As there is a departmental nomination limit of three TAs per year, departments are encouraged to develop their own system for determining which TAs to nominate.

Reviewers

  • We need a diverse group of faculty and staff volunteers from across campus to evaluate nominations. 
  • If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, please contact Cathy Yu (L&S Administration).

Questions

Please contact Cathy Yu (L&S Administration) with any further questions about the nomination process.

General Nomination Components

All complete nominations must include the components listed below. Use the panels to the right to view the specific requirements for each award category. 

  1. A completed online Nomination Form (see tabs below for a complete list of form questions)
  2. A single PDF file including:
    • List of Teaching Assignments at UW-Madison (course name, course number, semester/year)
    • 1-2 Letter(s) of Recommendation. See details to the right for the required number of letters for each award. Please review instructions for letter writers in the panel below.
    • Nominee Reflection addressing the corresponding prompt.

Nomination Components by Award

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Early Excellence in Teaching Award

This award recognizes outstanding performance by TAs with fewer than four semesters of teaching experience and whose performance is above departmental expectations for new TAs.

Nomination PDF file components:

  1. List of Teaching Assignments at UW-Madison (course name, course number, semester/year)
  2. (1) Letter of Recommendation from a supervising faculty or academic staff member who is familiar with the TA’s qualifications for the award (see letter writer tips below). 
  3. Nominee Reflection (max. 500 words): Describe in detail your most significant struggle or misconception about teaching. Specific examples and details will be looked on favorably. (To be clear, the committee wants to learn about your misconceptions or struggles, not the struggles or misunderstandings of your students.)
    • What made it apparent to you?
    • What practical steps have you taken in response?  

Advanced Achievement in Teaching Award

This award recognizes TAs with four or more semesters of teaching experience at UW–Madison who are not in the final year of a Ph.D. Final year graduate students who are not seeking a Ph.D. are eligible. 

Nomination PDF file components:

  1. List of Teaching Assignments at UW-Madison (course name, course number, semester/year)
  2. (1) Letter of Recommendation from a supervising faculty or academic staff member who is familiar with the TA’s qualifications for the award (see letter writer tips below). 
  3. Nominee Reflection (max. 500 words) addressing the following:

Part of continually developing as a teacher is about working to bring your teaching habits into alignment with your core teaching values. Tell us about one way you’ve altered your teaching habits, course design, or ways of interacting with students to better align your practices with your values. What effects did you see from this change?

Capstone Teaching Award

This award recognizes TAs with an outstanding teaching record over the course of their UW-Madison tenure. Nominees must be dissertators at the end of their graduate program and planning to defend their dissertations by the end of the academic year.

Nomination PDF file components:

  1. List of Teaching Assignments at UW-Madison (course name, course number, semester/year)
  2. (2) Letters of Recommendation from supervising faculty or academic staff members who are familiar with the TA’s qualifications for the award (see letter writer tips below). 
  3. Nominee Reflection (max. 500 words): Submit a reflection on your journey in teaching and learning at UW-Madison. This should include your growth, significant moments of insight, and major challenges you have navigated.

Excellence in Community-Based Learning Teaching Award

This award recognizes TAs who have demonstrated outstanding instruction using a community-based learning approach. Nominees may be at any stage in their graduate education.

Nomination PDF file components:

  1. List of Teaching Assignments at UW-Madison (course name, course number, semester/year)
  2. (2) Letters of Recommendation:
    • from a supervising faculty or academic staff member who is familiar with the TA’s qualifications for the award (see letter writer tips below). 
    • from a community partner
  3. Nominee Reflection (max. 500 words):
    • Describe your use of a community-based learning approach, including your motivations for using a CBL approach, the outcomes for students and community partners, and lessons learned.

Each completed nomination packet is evaluated based on the following broad categories:

  • Inclusion, Equity, & Student Support
  • Effective & Evidence-Based Teaching Practices
  • Innovation & Adaptability

You will need to answer the following questions in the online form.

Nominee eligibility:

  • Are you able to certify the nominee is currently making satisfactory progress (according to their home department guidelines?)
  • Are you able to certify that the nominee has the endorsement of the Department Chair or their designee?

Nominee information:

  • What is the nominee’s first name?
  • What is the nominee’s last name?
  • What is the nominee’s Wisc email address?
  • What is the nominee’s home department?
  • What is the nominee’s campus address?

Nominator information:

  • What is your first name?
  • What is your last name?
  • What is your title/position on campus?
  • What is your Wisc email address?
  • What is your campus address?
  • We need partners across campus to help review award nominations. Would you be interested in serving as a reviewer?

Award information:

  • What category are you nominating this TA for?
  • You will then be prompted to upload a single pdf file containing the appropriate nomination components.

The letter should start by addressing these prompts.

  • Why is this TA a good fit for this particular award?
  • We know that only excellent TAs are being nominated. Why did you choose to nominate this TA over other excellent TAs in your program? 
  • Describe an experience you had or observed with the nominee that speaks to your decision to nominate them for this particular award. 

The following letter content is generally helpful:

  • Honest reflections on classroom observations

The following letter content is generally unhelpful:

  • Vague statements about TA excellence
  • Quantitative data from student evals
  • Celebrations of “going above and beyond” to the point of overwork or self-sacrifice
  • Descriptions of research accomplishments or academic excellence unconnected to the award.

 

Congratulations to the 2022-23 Teaching Assistant Award winners.

Twenty-one outstanding graduate students received the 2022-23 UW–Madison Campus-Wide Teaching Assistant Awards, recognizing their excellence in teaching.

Meet the Winners

Ceremony Photos