Other GTA Enhancement Initiatives


An Overview of the University Department Awards for Exemplary Graduate Teaching Associate Programs

The University Departmental Awards For Exemplary Graduate Teaching Associate Programs are sponsored by the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Ohio State’s Graduate School. Presented annually to no more than two departments, these awards recognize the departments’ exemplary achievement in providing outstanding prior preparation and significant ongoing support to their Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs) for their teaching roles. These awards emphasize the University’s recognition of the central role that GTAs play in undergraduate teaching, as well as the importance of teaching in the professional development of graduate students.

Announcing a Call for Departments’ Self-Nominations

Application deadline: Monday, May 4, 2015, by 5:00pm (ET)

We are pleased to invite self-nominations from academic departments that appoint GTAs. Administrative units with tenure-track faculty (TIU), which includes most departments, divisions and schools, will be considered academic departments for the purposes of this award. Colleges not divided into departments also may self-nominate.

Note: Additional information about the award, as well as the self-nomination process, is provided below. You can scroll down to read more, or click on links to specific informational content.


Links to information within this page:


Award Description

The University Departmental Awards For Exemplary Graduate Teaching Associate Programs, sponsored by the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Ohio State’s Graduate School, will be presented annually to no more than two departments that demonstrate exemplary achievement in providing outstanding prior preparation and significant ongoing support to their Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs) for their teaching roles. These awards emphasize the University’s recognition of the central role that GTAs play in undergraduate teaching, as well as the importance of teaching in the professional development of graduate students.

The awards are given to departments rather than to individuals because collective efforts and a culture that values teaching and learning are essential if such efforts are to thrive. Excellent performance by a program, rather than isolated individual excellence, is necessary to ensure the quality of GTA professional development.

Each award will be in the amount of $2500 cash. The awards are to be used for advancing GTA teaching support in the respective departments. Additionally, the recipients and up to five runners-up will be featured on the “DO SOMETHING GREAT with Teaching” web site, to provide ideas of exemplary practice for other units to adapt.

Academic departments that appoint GTAs may submit applications to UCAT. Administrative units with tenure-track faculty (TIU), which includes most departments, divisions and schools, will be considered academic departments for the purposes of this award. Colleges not divided into departments also may self-nominate.

Selection Process

The selection committee will consist of the Director of UCAT, the Dean of the Graduate School, and others whom they may appoint. Described below are the criteria for evaluating nomination materials. Notification of the decisions will be made to all nominees following the Spring Semester of each academic year.

Nomination Portfolios

Nomination portfolios should include the following:

  1. A letter from the Department Chair, no more than two pages in length, that
    • outlines the department’s missions, goals, and educational philosophy, especially as they apply to GTA support;
    • describes the context of GTA teaching in the department, including number of GTAs and their typical teaching assignment(s); and
    • explains why the department deserves this award.
  2. A letter of support from the Dean of the department’s college of no more than two pages. (If the college is the TIU, then the dean should submit only one letter, using the Letter from the Department Chair criteria.);
  3. A statement should be included that
    • provides a detailed description of the methods the department uses to achieve excellence in prior preparation and ongoing support of their Graduate Teaching Associates for their teaching roles and how it measures the effectiveness of those methods;
    • is detailed, reflective, and addresses applicable criteria described in the list that follows below; and
    • is no longer than 10 pages, including any exhibits (such as pertinent departmental memos, orientation agendas, communications with graduate students, program brochures, departmental student evaluation of teaching forms, curriculum review documents, awards certificates, and the like). To keep the statement within 10 pages, it may be necessary to summarize the contents of some potential exhibits, rather than include them.
  4. Letters from GTAs — up to five letters of support from current and past GTAs should comment on the ways in which the department has excelled in supporting their professional development as university teachers;
  5. Letters from Students — up to five letters of support from current and past students should comment on the ways in which the department’s GTAs have excelled in teaching.

Deadline

Please submit five copies of the nomination portfolio by 5:00pm (ET) on Monday, May 4, 2015.
For further information, please contact UCAT at ucat@osu.edu or (614) 292-3644.

Selection Criteria

In documenting activities that have led to excellence in preparation and ongoing support of their Graduate Teaching Associates for their teaching roles in their departments, nominators should review the following list of factors. These factors will significantly influence the committee’s award decisions; however, the committee does not expect that every department will have engaged in all of the listed activities, nor does the committee believe that demonstrable excellence is limited to the criteria listed. The following list is provided as a guide for nominators to select applicable ways that teaching excellence can be demonstrated in their departments.

Commitment to excellence in GTA teaching and professional development

  • Surpasses the baseline outlined in the April 2003 OAA Guidelines
  • Provides significant ongoing support beyond the initial teaching experience
  • Has a documented record of excellence in GTA teaching and professional development
  • Has and follows a philosophy of GTA support statement
  • Invests adequate departmental budgetary resources in GTA teaching programming
  • Revises and implements innovations in its GTA program as appropriate
  • Rewards outstanding GTAs
  • Offers a variety of teaching opportunities for graduate students and provides assistance in negotiating transitions between levels of teaching
  • Seeks grants for improving GTA teaching support

Self-evaluation of GTA teaching and professional development quality

  • Monitors GTA satisfaction with the preparation and support they receive, as well as their teaching effectiveness and student learning
  • Reviews GTA program curriculum periodically and eliminates, adds, and modifies programs as needed
  • Involves all interested parties in assessment and planning of these programs
  • Supports and tracks the career and professional development of GTAs and former graduate students

Development of GTA teaching and faculty mentoring

  • Provides orientation and continued feedback and support for teaching associates throughout their graduate careers
  • Encourages many faculty members to mentor graduate students as university teachers
  • Provides faculty members with support in their roles as teaching mentors
  • Provides opportunities for shared discussion of teaching innovations and problems
  • Encourages teaching conference attendance and research and publication on teaching

Provision of resources for GTAs

  • Has a GTA coordinator responsible for supervising and supporting GTAs or coordinating the efforts of multiple faculty who fulfill this role.
  • Ensures that GTAs have easy access to their supervisors and advisors
  • Resolves GTA and student complaints appropriately
  • Provides facilities for reasonable private student meetings, and storage of materials
  • Keeps GTAs informed of departmental decisions and availability of resources
  • Provides other resources as appropriate (i.e. credit-bearing courses on college teaching, peer support and consultation, certificate programs, etc.)
  • Participates and encourages individual participation in university, college, and/or multiple unit GTA programming (i.e. Graduate Teaching Fellows, Preparing Future Faculty, multi-unit consortia, etc.)

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For more information about the University Departmental Awards For Exemplary Graduate Teaching Associate Programs, please contact:

University Center for the Advancement of Teaching
260 Younkin Success Center
1640 Neil Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43201-2333
Phone: (614) 292-3644
Email: ucat@osu.edu