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Campus-Wide TA Awards

The UW-Madison Campus-Wide TA Awards recognize the outstanding work of UW-Madison teaching assistants. This document contains information about the award categories, eligibility requirements, nomination materials, and nomination procedures.

The deadline to make 2021-2022 Campus-Wide TA Award nominations is Monday, November 8 (end of business day). To make a nomination, submit a Nomination Form, including a PDF of Supplemental Materials (described below).

Award Categories

There may be up to five recipients in each of the following categories. Winners receive a $1,000 award.

  • Early Excellence in Teaching Award: recognizes outstanding performance by TAs with fewer than four semesters of teaching experience and whose performance is above departmental expectations for new TAs.
  • Exceptional Service Award: recognizes TAs who perform exceptional service in the UW-Madison community, including volunteer work, committee work, and mentorship.
  • Innovation in Teaching Award: recognizes TAs who bring extraordinary creativity to their work and have developed or adapted teaching methods or techniques in new and innovative ways. Nominations should focus on the originality, creativity, and effectiveness of the TAs teaching practices. 
  • Capstone Ph.D. Teaching 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.
  • The Dorothy Powelson Teaching Assistant Award: recognizes outstanding performances by TAs in the natural sciences. 
  • **New this year: Excellence in Community-based Learning Teaching Award: recognizes TAs who have demonstrated outstanding instruction using a community-based learning approach. 

Nomination Process

  • Current and former TAs may be nominated if they are meeting satisfactory progress requirements (as set by the nominating department) and are enrolled as a graduate student.
  • Nomination materials should be submitted by the TA’s 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 are nomination limits, departments are encouraged to develop their own system for determining which TAs to nominate (see Restrictions below).
  • TAs are nominated by a faculty/staff member in the employing 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):

PDF of Supplemental MaterialsThese materials must be submitted as one PDF compiled in the following order:

  1. Nominee’s transcript (a campus copy is sufficient).
  2. List of teaching assignments at UW-Madison (course name, UW-Madison course number, semester/year).
  3. One* letter of recommendation from a supervising faculty or academic staff member who is familiar with the TA’s qualifications for the award.
    • Letters should focus on the candidate’s qualifications for the teaching award, not their research accomplishments. 
    • *Two letters of recommendation are required for the Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award, which must address the outstanding quality of the nominee's teaching.
    • *Two letters of recommendation are also required for the Excellence in Community-Based Teaching award. One letter must come from a community partner. 
  4. Summary of student evaluations (one page).
    • Include a summary table of scores and a comparative ranking of the nominee relative to other TAs teaching the same course, when possible.
    • Must include an explanation of the rating system or scale used. Do not include raw data without a thorough explanation of the rating system.
  5. Excerpted student comments (up to two pages).
  6. Nominee personal statement (up to 500 words).
    • Early Excellence in Teaching Award: Identify a significant challenge you overcame or attempted to solve. Admitting to struggles and ongoing development will be seen as a strength, not a weakness in these statements.
    • Exceptional Service Award: Describe your service work and how it contributed to your department, campus, and/or the broader community.
    • Innovation in Teaching Award: Describe your innovative approach to teaching and learning, and explain the significance of your work.
    • Capstone Ph.D. Award: 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. 
    • The Dorothy Powelson Teaching Assistant Award: Describe your approach to excellent teaching in the Natural Sciences.
    • Excellence in Community-based Learning Teaching Award: 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.


  • TA may only be nominated for one award each year.
  • TAs cannot be nominated for an award they have already received.
  • TAs may only be nominated once for the Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award (for other awards, TA may be renominated if they didn’t receive the award)
  • Only three TAs may be nominated by a department each year

Review Committees

  • We need a diverse group of faculty and staff volunteers from across campus to serve on review committees. 
  • Each committee reviews nominations from one award category and selects winners. 
  • If you are interested in serving on a review committee, please contact Cathy Yu (L&S Administration)


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

Keywords:TA Awards, Teaching Assistant   Doc ID:106090
Owner:Lynne P.Group:L&S KB
Created:2020-09-23 09:03 CDTUpdated:2021-12-16 14:47 CDT
Sites:L&S KB
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