Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision nomination

Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision nomination (pdf)

Use this form to:

  • Nominate an exemplary faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate student supervision at the University of Waterloo.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA), in collaboration with the Graduate Student Association (GSA), established this award to recognize exemplary faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in graduate student supervision. Normally, three faculty members will be recognized annually. The winners receive $1,000 (taxable) and are recognized at Spring Convocation.


Faculty members who are nominated must have had a career in academia for at least 10 years; preference will be given to faculty members who have been at Waterloo for a minimum of five years. A supervisor who has previously won the award may be re-nominated after 10 years.

Graduate student supervision requires complex interaction between graduate students and the graduate supervisor. An outstanding graduate supervisor is a mentor, advisor, role model, humanist and a strategist who exemplifies a high level of energy and ingenuity.


Current or former graduate student(s) who are/were directly supervised by the nominee may initiate the nomination with support from senior academic colleagues* as well as past and present graduate students of the nominee or other graduate students who have had the opportunity to receive guidance or informal mentoring from the nominee.

*Examples of senior academic colleagues include but are not limited to the Chair or Associate Chair/Graduate Officer of the Department, the Faculty Dean or the Faculty Associate Dean, Graduate Studies.

Procedures for Nominator:

Nominators must provide the following information as part of a nomination package to the graduate co-ordinator of the nominees’ department by November 1:

  1. A completed nomination form;
  2. CV title page followed by current CV of the nominee;
  3. Supporting senior colleagues title page followed by the supporting letter(s) from one or more senior academic colleagues;
  4. A summary of current and past students title page followed by a list in table format indicating the following: name, level of graduate student and time frame supervised, current position (group PhD students, Master’s students and Postdoc positions separately);
  5. Supporting letters from current and prior graduate students cover page followed by a minimum of five signed letters from current and former graduate students (only signed letters are acceptable);

In regards to the supporting letters, there is no maximum, however, the nominator must indicate on the nomination form the top 10 letters (including those from senior academic colleagues) they would like reviewed by the Selection Committee. The majority of the letters in the submitted package must be from the University of Waterloo, not other institutions.

Supporting letters should describe the outstanding supervisory record of the nominee under the following criteria:

  1. Supervisor as an advisor. This could include but is not limited to:
    • effective guidance and planning of graduate research for his/her students;
    • established mechanism for ongoing interaction with graduate students;
    • timely reading and provision of feedback on students' work;
    • maintaining his/her role as an advisor while instilling independence among his/her students;
    • fostering and facilitating students' skills for problem solving, critical thinking, self-directed learning and effective communicating;
    • promoting dissemination and presentation of student's research result
  2. Supervisor as a humanist/mentor which may include the following:
    • commitment to students’ welfare;
    • provision of caring atmosphere to the students;
    • willingness to provide guidance which may not be related to academic matters;
    • providing guidance related to student career goals

Procedures for Department:

  • Departments collect and review nomination packages received by November 1
  • Department committee determines which packages to submit to the Faculty for further selection
  • Departments provide a cover letter from the Department Chair (or senior level designate) for the packages submitted to the Faculty. The cover letter should highlight key points in the supporting letters and a ranking if there is more than one nomination going forward from the department (the cover letter is separate from the supporting letters from Waterloo academic colleagues)
  • Departments communicate with nominators to let them know if their nomination packages were sent forward to the Faculty or not

Procedures for Faculty:

  • Faculties collect all nomination packages submitted by departments by November 28 and conduct a review and ranking
  • Faculties provides a cover sheet containing rationale for their rankings and submit selected packages only (based on maximums below) to GSPA by December 12  
  • Faculties communicate with departments to let them know the status of their nomination packages


  • November 1 – nomination packages due to department graduate office from nominator
  • November 28 – ranked nominations from departments due to Faculty
  • December 12 – ranked submissions of nomination packages from Faculty due to GSPA

Maximum # of submissions permitted:


Maximum # Permitted for Submission to GSPA

Applied Health Sciences, Environment

Up to 2*

Arts, Engineering, Mathematics, Science

Up to 3*

*Under exceptional circumstances one additional nomination will be considered.

Unsuccessful nominations will be kept in the Faculty for one year and can be re-nominated the following year, only once. Nominators must check with the Faculty Graduate Office to find out if their prospective nominee has been a candidate previously. It is recommended that if a package is being re-nominated, that some new letters be added.

Institutional adjudication process:

All nominations will be reviewed by an institutional-level Committee consisting of the following:

  • Associate Vice-President Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs or designate
  • Advisory Committee on Scholarships & Awards (comprised of faculty members from each Faculty)
  • GSA President or designate 
  • One faculty member nominated by the Faculty Association


  • Communication of the outcome of their submission will be sent to the primary nominator by GSPA
  • Results of the competition will be communicated to the Faculties by GSPA
  • Results will be published via standard university communication channels (i.e. Daily Bulletin, Department and/or Faculty websites)