Teaching awards recognize instructors whose teaching practice is exemplary and inspiring. They offer campus communities the opportunity to celebrate teaching that has lasting, positive effects on students and shows demonstrable results in enhanced student learning.
- Internal teaching awards are administered by units and departments at the University of Waterloo and include the institution-wide Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA).
- External teaching awards recognize teaching excellence across disciplines at the provincial, national, and international level. These major external awards provide recipients the opportunity to participate in discipline- and border-crossing conversations about higher education. External teaching award programs are administered by organizations like the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Frequently asked questions
The University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA) is a great place to start.
If the instructor has already won a DTA, consider nominating them for an external teaching award (the Alan Blizzard Award, the Brightspace Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning, the OCUFA Teaching Award, or the 3M National Teaching Fellowship). Nominations for an external teaching award are more likely to be successful if the nominee has already won an internal award at Waterloo.
To see if an instructor has received Waterloo’s Distinguished Teacher Award, refer to the list of DTA recipients.
What are the criteria for winning a teaching award?
All teaching awards honour excellence in teaching and draw on supporting materials to demonstrate the impact an instructor or an educational initiative has had on student learning. Examples of supporting materials include:
- letters of support from students and colleagues
- teaching evaluations
- educational research showing the effectiveness of teaching methods, programs, or initiatives
- educational leadership efforts, such as leading workshops on teaching or mentoring junior faculty members
Each award has its own criteria. To name just a few, some awards recognize online teaching, others emphasize innovation in teaching, and yet others recognize an instructor’s work as an educational leader.
To determine which teaching award is appropriate, first decide whether an internal or external teaching award is the right fit—read I want to nominate an instructor for a teaching award. Where should I start?
Are there discipline-specific teaching awards?
Yes. At the University of Waterloo, a number of Faculties offer Faculty-level teaching awards. National and international scholarly associations might also honour exceptional instructors in their discipline (for example, The Canadian Mathematical Society’s Excellence in Teaching Award).
However, major external teaching awards offer award winners the unique opportunity to contribute to broad educational change through participation in cross-disciplinary educational conferences and forums.
Who can help me nominate an instructor for an award?
Have questions about a particular award? Looking for support in the nomination process? Consider reaching out to the following contacts at the University of Waterloo.
|Award type||Contact information|
The Alan Blizzard Award, D2L Innovation Award, Reimagine Education Awards, OCUFA Teaching Award, and the 3M National Teaching Fellowship
|Contact Lisa Kabesh, CTE, for information about external teaching awards and guidance in the nomination process.|
|Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA)||
Contact Verna Keller, CTE, for information about the DTA.
For advice about a nomination, contact the appropriate DTA faculty liaison.
|Amit & Meena Chakma Awards for Exceptional Teaching by a Student||Contact Verna Keller for information about the award.|
|Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) Online Teaching Awards||Contact the Centre for Extended Learning.|
|Faculty-level teaching awards||Contact the Faculty that offers the award.|