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GATA Nomination Process

Purpose of the Awards

GATA Awards

Both the GA and TA Award for Educational Practice and the GA/TA Award for Educational Leadership serve the following purposes...

  • To recognize and honour exemplary GAs and TAs who contribute to a positive, learning-centred environment at the University of Windsor.
  • To inspire GAs and TAs to recognize their potential for excellence in educational practice and leadership, and motivate them to transform that potential into reality.
  • To publicize examples of excellence in GA/TA educational practice and leadership that can inform the practices of all teachers, while contributing to student and faculty pride in teaching and learning at the University of Windsor.     

To achieve these purposes, there will be one Educational Practice award given to a GA and one award given to a TA, as well as one Educational Leadership award given to a GA or TA, depending on the quantity and quality of nominations.

NEW as of 2016: One GA Award for Educational Practice and one TA Award for Educational Practice
 

The GA/TA Award for Educational Practice

The GA and TA Award for Educational Practice honours a GA and a TA (or team of GA/TAs) who have enhanced, maximized, or deepened student learning through at least four of the following means:

  1. Effectively using scholarly and/or learning-centred strategies, methods, techniques, and learning experiences.
  2. Effectively using scholarly and/or learning-centred assessment and feedback strategies, methods, techniques, or models.
  3. Incorporating practical, transferable skill development (communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, literacies, numeracy, teamwork, leadership, love of life-long learning) into learning experiences, consistent with the University of Windsor graduate attributes.
  4. Modeling high standards and expectations, reliability, availability, integrity, adaptability, respect, honesty, caring, and responsibility as a teacher.
  5. Interacting with students in such a way that they feel inspired, motivated, engaged, and critically challenged.
  6. Creating or contributing to a positive learning-centred environment for University of Windsor students.


The GA/TA Award for Educational Leadership

The GA/TA Award for Educational Leadership honours a GA or TA (or team of GA/TAs) who have played an active role in shaping or transforming the teaching and learning environment of the University of Windsor, through at least three of the following means:

  1. Initiating, facilitating, or coordinating efforts to improve the teaching and learning environment at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level s.  This may include
  • Leading, individually or in collaboration with others, teaching and learning events at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level – such as open houses, GATAcademy, science fairs, teaching and learning conferences, workshops, seminars, discussion groups, and learning communities.
  • Organizing, creating or otherwise leading initiatives for pedagogical information-sharing, skill-development, or pedagogical innovation, among GA/TAs at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level – such as a GA/TA guide, wiki, website, journal, or newsletter.
  1. Promoting and helping others to implement, scholarly and/or learning-centred strategies, methods, and techniques in instruction, assessment, mentorship, or other forms of teaching.
  2. Identifying and solving, by oneself or in collaboration with others, teaching and learning problems at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level.
  3. Participating as a student representative in curriculum refinement and development activities at the departmental, faculty, or institutional level.
  4. Effectively mentoring other GA/TAs in teaching and learning, while modeling high standards and expectations, reliability, availability, integrity, adaptability, respect, honesty, caring, and responsibility as a teacher.


Nomination Process

Decisions regarding GA/TA Awards are made on the basis of nomination dossiers, which are teaching dossiers strategically targeted to demonstrate achievement of the criteria for GA/TA awards.  The process of creating a nomination dossier may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s a worthwhile endeavour. 

Past nominees have told us that the process of creating their dossiers was worth the effort, even if they didn’t win – and that’s intentional.  The process of creating a good nomination dossier inspires and guides reflection on what really matters to you as a teacher, and by requiring you to provide evidence of the effect you’d had, requires you to think about your teaching in a more scholarly manner.  From another perspective, this process ensures that the award committee can base its decision as much as possible on evidence rather than conjecture. 

At any point during the nomination process, you’re invited to contact the CTL for help.  Just email Dr. Pierre Boulos (boulos@uwindsor.ca) to ask questions or set up an appointment.

 

STEP ONE: Determine whether the nominee meets the eligibility criteria

  • The nominee must be either:
    • Presently employed as a GA/TA at the University of Windsor, OR
    • Has been employed as a GA/TA at the University of Windsor within 12 months of the call for nominations.
  • The nominee has not previously won the award for which he or she is being nominated.
    • A nominee who has won a different award is still eligible.
  • If a group is being nominated, ensure that its members truly function as a collaborative, well-integrated team – you will need to demonstrate this in the nomination dossier.

STEP TWO: Complete the online nomination form

  • The nominators must be at least two of the following:
    • A past or present student of the GA/TA, OR
    • A colleague who is well informed of the nominee’s teaching excellence or educational leadership, OR
    • A faculty member who is well informed of the nominee’s teaching excellence or educational leadership, OR
    • A staff member who is well informed of the nominee’s teaching excellence or educational leadership.
  • GA/TAs may not nominate themselves.
  • Complete the online nomination form on the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) website (coming soon).

STEP THREE: Create a nomination dossier

  • The CTL will be happy to help you with your nomination dossier by providing advice, showing you models of exemplary dossiers, and providing feedback on drafts.  Just contact Dr. Pierre Boulos (boulos@uwindsor.ca) to book an appointment.
  • Nomination dossiers must be:
    • No longer than 40 pages, including letters and appendices.
    • Well-organized and readable
    • Primarily textual, though where appropriate, audio-visual supplementary material may be included, provided that any video or audio are no more than 15 minutes in length, combined, and are playable on multiple hardware formats using common software.
  • Nomination dossiers must include the following documents:
    • A cover letter from the nominating party that explains why the nominee should win the award, providing concrete and relevant examples of what the nominee has done to meet the award criteria, and situating the nominee’s work in the context of his/her disciplinary and departmental norms.
      • Completed by nominator(s)
    • curriculum vitae of 2-8 pages, focusing on details regarding one’s teaching experience (including, but not limited to, GA/TA work).
      • Completed by nominee
    • A teaching philosophy (no more than 2 pages), explaining the nominee’s beliefs and values regarding teaching, how those beliefs and values drive his or her teaching practices, and how he or she has developed as a teacher.
      • Completed by nominee
    • Letters (no more than 2 pages each) that detail how the nominee meets the award criteria by making reference to concrete examples and situating the nominee in his or her disciplinary or departmental context.  Letter must be from:
      • At least two current or former students, at least one current or former faculty supervisor, AND
      • At least one GA/TA colleague or staff member detailing how the nominee meets the award criteria.
      • Letters should be addressed to “The GA/TA Awards Committee”
      • No more than six such letters in total. 
      • Letters should not be sealed.  They should be included in the dossier, signed, with contact information. 
    • Formal and informal feedback from students, colleagues, faculty or staff regarding the nominee’s teaching – such as a summary of student evaluations, classroom observation reports, and unsolicited student letters or emails.  These should be organized and summarized rather than presented raw.
      • Collected and organized by nominee and nominator(s)
    • Evidence of:
      • Reflective and intentional effort to develop teaching knowledge and skills – i.e. through participation in a teaching certificate program, workshops, credit or non-credit courses, seminars, conferences, learning communities, or independent study.  Nominees who can relate practical applications of what they learned through such activities will be more impressive.
      • Achievements relevant to the ward criteria, including but not limited to:
        • Examples of exemplary constructive, written, feedback given to students.
        • Records of previous teaching awards won.
        • Samples of materials prepared to aid student learning.
        • Abstracts of presentations and publications on teaching and learning.
        • Any other documentary evidence demonstrating that the nominee has had a positive influence on student learning, retention, or degree completion.

Please note that if you are sharing samples of student work, you must obtain the permission of the student, if possible.  If it is not possible to get in touch with the student who completed the work, ensure that there is no identifying information in the work, so the student is as anonymous as possible.

STEP FIVE: Submission

  • Complete nomination dossiers (as PDFs) must be received by the Centre for Teaching and Learning by 5:00 on the day nominations close.  Late nominations will not be accepted.

Nominators and nominees are encouraged to consult with the CTL for feedback regarding their dossier preparation (boulos@uwindsor.ca).  Model dossiers from past GA/TA Award winners are available for browsing at the CTL by appointment.


Selection Process

Nomination dossiers will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of:

  • A committee chair from the Centre for Teaching and Learning
    • The committee chair does not have voting privileges, except as a tie-breaker.
  • Three faculty members that, as a group, represent a broad range of GA/TA responsibilities.
  • Three GA/TAs (past award winners when possible).
    • At least one must be, or have been within the previous 12 months, a graduate assistant.
    • At least one must be, or have been within the previous 12 months, a teaching assistant.

Whenever possible, committee representatives will be drawn from a diverse range of departments and faculties.

Members must inform the rest of the committee of any potential conflicts of interest regarding nominees.  Committees will decide how to handle potential conflicts of interest as they arise, and those decisions will be recorded by the committee chair.

After reviewing and discussing each nomination, members of the committee evaluate each dossier using a rubric comprised of the award criteria.  A maximum of one GA Educational Practice Award, one TA Educational Practice Award, and one GA/TA Educational Leadership Award will be awarded each year.


What the Award Entails

Winners will be announced in the Daily News and on the CTL website, and letters will be sent to each winner’s nominators, department head and faculty dean, in case they wish to follow up with their own form of recognition.

Winners will receive a framed certificate, free registration at the next Windsor/Oakland teaching and learning conference (or similar conference), and a copy of a teaching-related book such as Wilbert McKeachie’s Teaching Tips.

Winners will also be recognized at the annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence, alongside award-winning faculty members.

Brief biographies and photos of all winners, including summaries of the accomplishments that resulted in their awards, will be kept on the CTL website for future recognition and inspiration.

Questions and comments may be directed to Dr. Pierre Boulos, boulos@uwindsor.ca.