CFANS Graduate Assistant Teaching Award

Nominations are due by noon on Friday, March 11, 2016.

This award recognizes a CFANS graduate teaching assistant for effort and excellence in undergraduate education within CFANS. The award includes a $1500 stipend and certificate.

Who Can Nominate Candidates:

Self-nominations are not allowed. Nominations can be made by a faculty member (professor of the course for which the candidate was a teaching assistant), and/or by an undergraduate student who had the candidate as a teaching assistant.

Eligibility Requirements:

1. Nominee must be a currently enrolled graduate student in CFANS. (NOTE: In the case of December graduation, a student may still be eligible to receive the award if the appointment was for work prior to their graduation.)

2. Nominee must have fulfilled a teaching assistantship for at least one semester in the previous calendar year. The assistantship must have been at least a 25% appointment (around 10 hours per week).

3. Nominee must have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 or above in graduate course work.

Nomination Procedure:

1. Complete an online nomination form.

2. Submit two letters of recommendation/support (one from nominator, one additional):
    a. A letter of evaluation/approval from the professor of the course for whom the candidate was a teaching assistant.
    b. A letter from an undergraduate student who had the candidate as a teaching assistant.

3. Submit a document of the candidate’s good academic standing and continued progress toward degree. (Use this simple Word doc.) It must be signed by the Director of Graduate Studies in the candidate’s department.

4. Submit all supporting materials electronically as a single PDF file to Betty Davidson at betty@umn.edu no later than noon on Friday, March 13, 2015. Please put "CFANS Student Selection Committee" in the email subject line. (NOTE: If you are unable to combine all documents into one PDF, you may submit them as separate attachments in one email.)

Suggested Criteria To Include in Letters of Recommendation:

Faculty Member/Professor Letter: Please comment on the individual’s abilities in the following areas, as applicable. When possible, include information from student evaluations – if completed – that support the nomination.

1. Rationale for nomination

2. Characteristics of effective teaching (not limited to these items listed)

  • Content Knowledge/Expertise
  • Teaching Expertise
  • Promptness/Preparedness
  • Student Engagement
  • Availability/Approachability
  • Conflict resolution

3. Potential for excellence with future teaching assignments

Undergraduate Student Letter: Please comment on the individual’s abilities in the following areas, as applicable. The more details you provide, the better the award review panel will understand the impact your teaching assistant had on the course and students enrolled. This will help in assessing the qualifications of the nominee.

1. Rationale for nomination

2. Characteristics of effective teaching (not limited to these items listed)

  • Preparedness
  • Approachability, Availability
  • Organization, Leadership (how did your TA impact your learning and class experience?)
  • Creativity, Resourcefulness
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Content Knowledge/Expertise
  • Enthusiasm
  • Professionalism
  • Engagement with students (office hours, study groups, led lab discussion, etc.)

Review of Nominations:

Completed nominations will be reviewed by a group appointed by the Dean and the Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Faculty Affairs, along with several members of the college's Honors and Awards Committee. This award will only be given if sufficiently strong application(s) fulfilling the above criteria emerge.

In recognition of the time and energy spent on nominations, all nominations will be kept active for up to three years for this award. Nominations that are unsuccessful in their original submission year will remain in the nomination pool for two additional years or until successful, whichever comes first. Nominators do not need to do anything further to keep their nominations active. However, they may update any materials desired each year. This is especially encouraged if the award review committee provides feedback on how a nomination could be strengthened.

Presentation of Awards:

The awardees will be honored at the Spring CFANS College Assembly. In addition, all awardees will be recognized on a plaque displayed in the office building of the Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Faculty Affairs.