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Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards

Graduate Studies invites nominations for the Chancellor, Carlin, and Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards to recognize excellence in teaching by graduate students at the University of Kansas.  Awardees receive monetary prizes and will be recognized on the Graduate Studies website. We thank the Chancellor, the KU Endowment Association, and Diana Carlin for generously providing funding for these awards.

The top ranked master’s and doctoral award winners will also be nominated for the MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award to represent the University of Kansas at the regional level.

*Nomination materials include the addition of an optional 10-minute (maximum) teaching-in-action video to allow top awardees to be nominated for the regional teaching award at MAGS in January 2022. Note: All graduate students who had teaching responsibilities in the 2021 calendar year are eligible.

The Nomination Deadline is November 24, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CSTNominations must be submitted using the online form.


Each nominee must be a graduate student:

  • in good academic standing during the semester of teaching for which they are nominated
  • that has completed at least one semester of teaching; and
  • with teaching responsibilities during the 2021 calendar year (Spring 2021, Summer 2021, or Fall 2021)

Nomination & Selection Process

GTA Awards are given to graduate students who have demonstrated outstanding professional interaction with students and faculty while working as a GTA. Nominees will be evaluated on these criteria:

  • Strength of the letters of recommendation from faculty and/or students
  • Depth and level of teaching experience
  • Strength of the nominee’s teaching portfolio
  • Specific qualities that distinguish the nominee from other good teachers
  • Optional 10-minute (maximum) video recording of the nominee teaching in action. Detailed instructions for creating a video and link can be found here.

Nominations are reviewed and awarded in fall by members of the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty. Each department/program may nominate up to two (2) graduate teaching assistants. Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CST on November 24th using the online nomination form. Nominators will receive a system confirmation that their nomination was successfully submitted upon completion of the online form.  

While the time required to process award decisions will depend upon the number of applications received, we aim to notify all nominees and nominators via email by early January 2022.

Application requirements:

All documents should be uploaded as PDFs.

  • Nomination statement by the student's department/program - please include any descriptions of departmental honors awarded to the student for excellence in teaching
  • Student's current curriculum vitae
  • Student (undergraduate or graduate) nomination letters/statements (please combine all supporting documentation as one PDF)
  • Student's teaching portfolio - 6 pages, double spaced, 12-point font that includes the following:
    • Statement of teaching philosophy: the applicant should convey their core ideas about being an effective teacher. share their beliefs and values related to teaching and learning and discuss their goals and the methods or strategies they use to achieve those goals.
    • Evidence of instructional design for improved student learning: the applicant should convey their experience as an instructor, explain how they have used instructional design to develop learning materials, experiences, and environments that promote better student learning. This could include content production, learning activities, student-instructor interaction, peer-to-peer interaction, effective assessments and so on.
    • Evidence of effective student/colleague mentoring: the applicant should describe their experience with mentoring students outside of the classroom, either related to the course or in other settings. Additionally, the applicant should describe any experience they have with mentoring peers or colleagues in the context of teaching.
    • Evidence of professional development: the applicant should explain or describe how they have used professional development opportunities to grow in their teaching excellence.
  • Optional 10-minute Teaching In Action video in order to be eligible for nomination to the MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award
    • The video should  demonstrate how the applicant has implemented key elements of their teaching philosophy or instructional design. A variety of teaching settings may be used for the video including but not limited to lecture, facilitated discussion, lab, etc. as appropriate to the course. Rather than expertise in creating the video, the focus should be on activities that demonstrate improved learning, such as student engagement, personalized learning, project-based learning, etc. For asynchronous online courses, a video presentation by the instructor of key engaged learning activities, or learning  environments, would be examples of good evidence. 

Administration of the Award

  •  The Office of Graduate Studies will award two Chancellor's Awards ($1000), seven Carlin Awards ($750), and one Graduate Studies Outstanding GTA Award ($500).
  • The top doctoral and top master's awardees with a Teaching In Action video (currently required by MAGS) will be nominated for the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Excellence in Teaching Award in January 2022.

Contact Graduate Studies at graduateawards@ku.edu if you have questions about this award.

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