L&S Teaching Mentors Program
To be named an L&S Teaching Mentor (formerly Teaching Fellow) is an honor granted to TAs from the College of Letters & Science who have achieved outstanding success as students and teachers. Teaching Mentors serve as instructors at the L&S Fall TA Training, which takes place at the start of the fall semester and welcomes ~400 new and experienced TAs from across campus. This document contains information about the Teaching Mentors program, including nomination materials and procedures.
There are 15 winners per year, and each Mentor receives $1000 as a Project Assistant appointment. Nominees do not need to be currently teaching, but ideal candidates are those who have taught successfully in the department, who convey enthusiasm for teaching, and who will serve as good role models for new and inexperienced TAs. Nominees should be:
- Passionate Teachers: they should have a love of learning and helping students learn. They should demonstrate sustained commitment to implementing effective, learner-centered, and innovative teaching methods.
- Effective Teachers of Teachers: they should have a proven track record of supporting, training, and helping other TAs.
- Excellent Facilitators: they should know how to effectively guide learning through thoughtful questioning, rapport building, and active listening.
- Effective Communicators: they should be attentive, timely, empathetic, and thoughtful in their communications with others.
- Awardees must be available for:
- Three trainings over the course of the Summer
- Full-day L&S TA Training in the Fall
- Three drop-in office hours during the Fall semester
- **Note that this work must fall within the student's allowable employment maximums. We will coordinate with L&S Human Resources to confirm that the student is eligible to work these hours. If you have questions about employment and eligibility, please reach out before submitting your nomination.
- Departments may only nominate two candidates for the L&S Teaching Mentor program each year.
- Winners of departmental awards that recognize teaching and those previously nominated or awarded a Campus-wide TA Award are eligible.
- Nominations must be based on TA and/or L(SA) work within the College of Letters & Science.
- TAs are nominated by the department through the submission of the nomination packet, which is comprised of (1) a completed Nomination Form with a (2) PDF of supplemental materials (see below).
- **New this year: We are asking nominators to anonymize the nomination packets.
- Anonymization is an important best practice for maintaining equity.
- To anonymize, replace the TA’s name with either their initials or simply “TA.” Also replace he/him or she/her with they/them. We know this may create grammatical issues on occasion - we understand and will overlook these.
- Please note: anonymization does NOT imply that nominations must avoid all mention of a candidate's personal identities. A person's race, gender, sexuality, and other identities can affect their teaching in myriad ways. We are happy to accept, anywhere in the nomination materials, any relevant discussion of a nominee's identities as they relate to teaching success.
- If anonymization is a barrier to submitting your nomination - please reach out. We can help if necessary.
The nomination form includes the following questions:
- 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 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?
- Upload supplemental materials
- Letter of Recommendation from faculty/staff member(s) (3pg. max)
- Only one letter is allowed but it may be co-written or signed by multiple writers.
- The Letter of Recommendation should speak to the nominee’s excellence in the classroom, experience training or helping other teachers, commitment to improving their own and other’s teaching, and their passion, dedication, or unique approach to teaching. Letters of Recommendation that include specific examples of these qualities will be looked on more favorably.
- Describe a time you failed in the classroom and what actions you took to improve your teaching afterwards. How did those actions impact your students’ learning experience? OR
- Describe a time you helped someone else (or a group of others) improve their teaching.
- Please respond to one of the following prompts in your reflection. Make sure to provide evidence (e.g. specific examples, student reports, anecdotal evidence, improved performance on assignments, etc.) of how your changes benefited student learning. Honest reflections that directly address the chosen prompt will be looked on favorably.
- Descriptions of experience(s) you’ve had that are crucial to the way you think about and engage in your teaching.
- Descriptions or examples of pedagogical activities, such as creation of novel course materials or engagement in communities focused on pedagogy, inclusive teaching, or teacher training.
- Descriptions or accounts of the nominee’s contributions to the departmental teaching mission, such as leadership, support, awareness, or attitude as related to teaching.
- Please contact Lynne Prost at email@example.com with any further questions about the nomination process.