Campus-wide Teaching Assistant Awards: Nomination Guidelines for Departments

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

Campus-wide Teaching Assistant Awards

Fall 2020 Deadline: To be announced 

  • Submit all nomination materials as a single PDF document to Brian Bubenzer ( by the deadline.  
  • No hard copies are needed.
  • Awards are distributed at the beginning of each spring semester.
  • Departments are encouraged to keep these awards in mind as they review the performance of their TAs. 
  • Up to five winners are selected in each award category; fifteen awards in total
  • Winners receive a certificate and $500 award

Award Categories

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 tenure. 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:

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. Research accomplishments may be mentioned as well, but teaching is the focus of these awards.

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 in a way that will be useful to the evaluation committee; 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, single spaced).

Nominees for the Early Excellence Award should explain the steps you took to overcome a challenge you faced while teaching. 
Nominees for the Exceptional Service Award should explain how your service contributes to your department, campus, and/or the broader community.
Nominees for the Innovation in Teaching Award should explain your teaching innovation and its pedagogical significance.
Nominees for the Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award should write a statement describing the evolution of your teaching philosophy.

 For more information, visit TA Awards Frequently Asked Questions

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

See Also: