TA Awards: Frequently Asked Questions

This document contains more detailed information about TA awards on the UW-Madison Campus and in the College of Letters & Science, including award categories, eligibility, nomination materials, and nomination procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions for Campus-wide TA Awards

Awards will be granted to:
  • Early Excellence in Teaching Award: Outstanding new TAs (those with fewer than four semesters of teaching experience)
  • Exceptional Service Award: TAs who perform exceptional service to the UW-Madison learning community
  • Innovation in Teaching Award: TAs who have developed or adapted new teaching methods
  • Capstone Ph.D. Teaching Award: TAs who have performed at a high level as students and teachers throughout their graduate careers   

Who is eligible for these awards?

  • Any TA deemed an outstanding TA by his/her department and who meets the departmental standard for satisfactory progress as a graduate student is eligible.
  • 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. 
  • An individual TA may be nominated in only one award category in the fall competition.  TA nominees, who do not receive an award, can be renominated in the same award category in following years. However, a TA may be nominated in the Capstone Ph.D. teaching category only once.   
  • Award winners can be nominated for a different award category in subsequent award cycles.  
  • Campus-wide TA Award nominees and award winners can be nominated for the L&S Teaching Fellow Award in the same or a subsequent academic year.  
  • Departments may nominate no more than three TAs in the fall award period; departments can distribute those nominations across the Campus-wide TA Award categories as they see fit. Departments may nominate two candidates for the Teaching Fellow Award.   
  • Nominations for TAs who team-teach a course can be submitted as a single nomination, but should include nomination materials for both TAs.  Note: winners would share the award.  

What do I need to send along in the nomination packet? 

Each nomination packet must include:  
  • A completed nomination form
  • A department endorsement and nomination.  This should take the form of a one-page letter indicating that the department endorses the nomination and the nominee meets the 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.  In the case where a TA is a graduate student in a department different from the one they have held teaching appointments, the employing department should submit the endorsement letter and nomination.
  • A 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 candidates teaching excellence and qualifications for the award, rather than their research accomplishments. Two letters of recommendation are required for Capstone Ph.D. teaching nominations, which must address the outstanding quality of the nominee's teaching. Letters of recommendation for the Early Excellence, Exceptional Service and Innovation awards must address the nominee's special qualifications for the award. The recommendation letter for L&S Teaching Fellow nominees should address the nominee’s potential as a Teaching Fellow.
  • A list of teaching assignments at UW-Madison (course name, UW-Madison course number, semester/year).
  • A summary of student evaluations. The committee finds it especially useful if you can provide a summary table of scores.  Wherever possible, please include a comparative ranking of the nominee compared to other TAs teaching the same course. No matter what method is used for presenting the data, this summary must include an explanation of the rating system or scale used. Do not include raw data without a thorough explanation of the rating system.
  • Excerpted student comments (up to two pages for Campus-wide TA Awards and up to three pages for Teaching Fellows nominees)
  • The candidate’s transcript, a campus copy is sufficient.
  • Each award nomination requires a personal statement from the nominee (2 pages or less, 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, the 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.
  • Nominees for the L&S Teaching Fellow Award should include a personal statement (2 pages or less, single-spaced) that explains your teaching philosophy and your interest in taking a leadership role in the L&S TA training program. Specific workshop topic suggestions are not required, but nominees are encouraged to discuss your particular areas of interest in college teaching. 
Nomination Forms:
Note: Nomination forms are active (alterable) PDF files, which can be filled out using Adobe Acrobat. A free version can be downloaded here: http: //get.adobe.com/reader/

Who can submit the nomination?

Nominations must be submitted by departments, not TAs.  

If the TA is a graduate student in a department different from the department where they teach, then the employing department (ie the department where they have held TA appointments) should submit the nomination and endorsement letter.

The department endorsement should take the form of a one-page letter indicating that the department endorses the nomination and the nominee meets the 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 you are a TA who is interested in one of the awards, please notify your teaching department or your teaching supervisor. If you are a supervisor who knows of a TA who should be nominated, please contact your Chair. If you are a student who would like to see your TA nominated, please contact the department administrator or the TA's faculty supervisor.  

Who judges the nominations, and where should they be sent? 

The awards committee consists of representatives from the College of Letters and Science, the School of Business, the School of Education, the College of Engineering, and representatives from the other schools and colleges that employ Teaching Assistants. If you are a faculty or staff member interested in serving on this committee, please contact Brian Bubenzer at bubenzer@ls.wisc.edu or at (608) 265-0603.  

Nominations should be sent to:

Brian Bubenzer
Assistant Dean
307B South Hall
1055 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706-1394  

I have questions about an award. Whom do I contact?  

Assistant Dean Brian Bubenzer at bubenzer@ls.wisc.edu.

See Also:




Keywords:FAQ fellow packet   Doc ID:45366
Owner:Brian B.Group:College of Letters & Science
Created:2014-12-02 10:48 CSTUpdated:2016-11-03 11:44 CST
Sites:College of Letters & Science
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