Campus-wide Teaching Assistant Awards: Nomination Guidelines for Departments

This document explains the TA award categories, eligibility requirements, nomination materials, and nomination deadline.

Fall 2016 Deadline: Friday, November 18th

These awards honor excellence on the part of UW-Madison Teaching Assistants. Departments are encouraged to keep these awards in mind as they review the performance of their TAs.

The College of Letters & Science, with additional funding support from the Graduate School, takes a leading role in recognizing the critical role of TAs in undergraduate instruction by organizing the campus-wide TA awards, which are distributed at the end of each fall semester. Up to five winners are selected in each award category and winners receive a $500 award.

Early Excellence in Teaching Award - recognizes outstanding and inspirational performance on the part of new TAs (those with fewer than four semesters of teaching experience)

Exceptional Service Award - recognizes TAs who, in addition to their regular duties, perform exceptional service related to the educational mission of their department and our university (volunteerism, committee work, mentoring, etc.). Nominations should focus on the service performed outside of the TA's regular duties.

Innovation in Teaching Award - recognizes TAs who bring extraordinary creativity to their teaching and have developed or adapted teaching methods or techniques in new and innovative ways

Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award - recognizes TAs who have performed as outstanding teachers throughout their UW-Madison tenture. Nominees for the Capstone award must be dissertators at the end of their graduate careers and planning to defend their dissertations by the end of the school year for which they are nominated. Thus, TAs may be nominated only once for the Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award.

Nomination Guidelines for Departments:

  • TAs from all UW-Madison schools and colleges are eligible to apply.
  • Any TA who is deemed outstanding by her/his department and who meets the departmental standard for satisfactory progress as a graduate student is eligible to be nominated for an award. 
  • Departments may nominate up to three TAs per year and may distribute those nominations across the award categories as they see fit.
  • A department or program may nominate an individual TA in only one of the four campus-wide award categories per year.
  • Nominations for TAs who team-teach a course can be submitted as a single nomination, but they must include complete nomination materials for both TAs. Note: winners would share the $500 award.
  • Nominees need not be TAs at the time of the nomination or award, but they must be registered graduate students at the time of the nomination.
  • TA nominees who do not receive an award can be renominated in the same award category and for other TA awards in following years. However, a TA can be nominated only once for the Capstone Ph.D. teaching award.
Required Nomination Materials:

1. A completed nomination form: 


2. A department endorsement or nomination.
  • a one-page letter indicating that the department endorses the nomination and the nominee meets the eligibility criteria established for the award
  • the letter may come from the department Chair, Associate Chair, the head of the department awards committee, or other authorized faculty or academic staff member
  • if the TA nominee is a graduate student in a department different from the one they have held teaching appointments, then the employing department should submit the endorsement letter and nomination

3. Letter(s) of recommendation from a supervising faculty or academic staff member

  • One recommendation letter is required for Early Excellence, Exceptional Service, and Innovation awards; two letters of recommendation are required for Capstone Ph.D. Teaching award nominees
  • recommendations should come from the faculty/academic staff who are the most familiar with the TAs qualifications for the award
  • letters should focus on the candidate's teaching excellence and qualifications for the award, rather than their research accomplishments

4. A list of teaching assignments at UW-Madison

  • Please list the course name, UW-Madison course number, and semester/year.

5. A Summary of student evaluation scores

  • summary must include an explanation of the rating system or scale used in the evaluation
  • please summarize, do not include raw data
  • when possible, please include the ranking system of the nominee compared to other TAs teaching the same course

6. Excerpted student comments (2 pages maximum)

7. A campus copy of the candidate's transcript

8. A personal statement from the nominee (2 pages maximum, double spaced).

  • Please direct the nominee to the L&S TA Resource Center website ( for a description of the personal statement guidelines for each award.
  • Note: Nominees for the Early Excellence and Exceptional Service awards are required to write a personal statement. Nominees for the Innovation and Capstone awards are also required to submit a statement.

**Please submit all nomination materials as one single PDF document to Brian Bubenzer ( by the deadline.  No hardcopies are needed.

Information about the Campus-wide TA Awards can also be found on the L&S TA Resource Center website.

Please direct questions to Brian Bubenzer (265-0603).

Keywords:TA, teaching award, graduate students, campus-wide TA awards   Doc ID:24869
Owner:Brian B.Group:College of Letters & Science
Created:2012-06-26 15:39 CDTUpdated:2016-10-18 14:50 CDT
Sites:College of Letters & Science
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