The University at Buffalo has a firm commitment to providing students with instruction of the highest quality. The instruction delivered by graduate students who serve as teaching or graduate assistants—or as instructors—is a critical element of that institutional commitment.
The Excellence in Teaching Award for graduate teaching assistants is awarded in recognition of exceptional ability in teaching by UB graduate students. Students will be selected based on superb and creative performance in the classroom or laboratory, engagement with mentoring and advisement, and a commitment to the high academic standards in teaching.
- The nominee must be a current, full-time UB graduate student.
- The nominee may be nominated a total of two times over the course of their time as a graduate student. Previous Excellence in Teaching Award recipients are no longer eligible.
- The nominee must have been involved in teaching at UB for the equivalent of at least one academic year (does not have to be during consecutive semesters).
- The nominee must be enrolled in the spring 2023 semester.
Teaching assistants who supervise laboratory sections, recitation sections or their own courses, are equally eligible.
The following must be provided by the candidate's sponsor:
- Candidate Information
- Candidate's Department Information
- Candidate's Mentor Information
- Sponsor Information and Selection Criteria: The candidate’s sponsor should clearly address how the candidate’s performance specifically fulfills each of the following award selection criteria:
- Teaching skill. The nominee must perform superbly and creatively in the classroom or laboratory (i.e., show evidence from quantitative assessments of teaching and/or summaries of qualitative evaluations and course materials).
- Mentorship/advisement. The nominee must be concerned with the intellectual growth of individual students, must measurably facilitate their growth and must help students achieve academic excellence (i.e., show evidence of accessibility outside of the classroom, and a description of mentoring/advising activities in the candidate’s personal statement).
- Academic standards and requirements. The nominee must set high standards for students (i.e., show evidence from duties and responsibilities, course material presented, and degree of course difficulty).
- Teaching History and Observations, to include:
- Up to five listings of the nominee’s teaching history and faculty observations and should include the following for each:
- Name of course, semester and year taught, and the number of students enrolled.
- A specific description of the candidate’s teaching role and duties in each course/section.
- An indication of the candidate’s responsibilities for grading.
- Faculty observations (Maximum of 250 words each). First-hand commentary from sponsors and other faculty members who have witnessed a candidate’s in-class performance. Place the candidate’s work in an appropriate professional, disciplinary and/or pedagogical context.
- Up to two testimonials from a candidate’s own students using the Student Testimonial Form (located on part six of the online nomination form) for each. Testimonials that address the selection criteria of teaching skill, mentorship/advisement, and academic standards and requirements are most helpful. Do not include testimonials from fellow graduate students.
- Copy of candidate’s current unofficial transcript.
The following must be provided by the candidate:
- Personal statement. The candidate should submit a two-page, double-spaced statement describing the following:
- Teaching approaches in the classroom or laboratory.
- Philosophy of mentoring/advising and methods used to mentor/advise individual students.
- Academic standards and requirements, including methods used to evaluate student performance and the reason those methods were selected.
- Participation in or facilitation of teaching related professional development.
- Commitment to inclusive teaching.
- Course information. The candidate should include a syllabus summary for up to two courses or laboratories taught, only if the candidate created the syllabus. Please include the following:
- A course description, course materials and methods of evaluation and assessment.
- A description of the candidate’s responsibilities (design of experiments, design of case studies, design of PowerPoint or other presentations, etc.) for the course(s).
- A short description of any innovative or extraordinary aspects of the course(s) adopted to improve students’ educational experiences.