Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant
This program was established in 1998 to recognize the exemplary contributions made by graduate teaching assistants (TAs) to excellence in undergraduate education, and is administered by the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE).
Applicants must be USF Tampa (Academic Affairs and USF Health) TAs who have:
- completed a minimum of one year of graduate study at USF,
- been a TA for at least two USF course sections prior to the time of application, and
- been a TA for the current academic year.
- not previously won the TA Teaching Award (honorable mentions may apply)
2018 Application Deadline & Important Dates
Applications for the 2018 TA Awards were due Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
The 2018 TA Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. in BSN 225.
Program Goals & Format
The goals of the TA Award program are to:
- provide TAs a visible incentive to develop a commitment to student success and excellence in undergraduate instruction,
- encourage talented TAs to develop electronic teaching portfolios that document and demonstrate their teaching commitment and effectiveness,
- formally acknowledge TAs for outstanding instructional accomplishments, and
- publicize the accomplishments of TAs at USF and to enhance the esteem in which teaching by graduate students is held as an integral component of the professional preparation of graduate students.
Awards will be granted in four categories: Arts and Humanities, Education/Business/Social Science, Health/Medicine/Behavioral Science, and STEM. The winner in each category will be granted a $1,000 stipend. Honorable mentions will also be selected in each category and will be recognized during the TA Award program.
Applicants must assemble an e-portfolio (Google Sites is recommended, but not required) with the following components named as indicated below (do not deviate by using "creative" names instead).
Curriculum Vitae. The curriculum vitae is an academic resume, and typically is much longer than a standard job resume, since it includes all relevant work, publications, teaching, employment, service, and professional development to academic life. Applicants are strongly urged to collect and examine CVs from professors in their own disciplines to serve as a model. There are also many online sites that offer suggestions, such as this one from Purdue or the website from NC State. Remember that all documents including the CV must be presented on the page directly – not as attachments – so there may be formatting issues to resolve after the material is pasted into the page.
Teaching Philosophy. A statement of Teaching Philosophy is typically 400-600 words. There is no single formula for writing an effective Teaching Philosophy statement, but at a minimum applicants should explain their beliefs about what constitutes good teaching. A basic outline for a teaching statement would have a three-paragraph structure and be limited to one-page in length.
The first paragraph provides readers with your beliefs about teaching and forecasts what your classroom would be like if they visited. Would they see students engaged in group work? Peer-sharing? Presenting their work in front of the class? Mini-lectures followed by group discussions? You can also use this paragraph to outline your teaching experiences/responsibilities. In the next paragraph you can offer further evidence of your teaching and provide examples of your beliefs in action. Descriptions such as these allow readers to "see" your teaching in action as opposed to reading only general statements about your teaching philosophy. In the final paragraph, you should sum up your thoughts on education and the role that you have to play in developing students to be successful in their discipline, career, and life.
In addition, it may be helpful to consult tenure-earning faculty in your discipline to gain a sense of the range of styles that exist. Here are a few resources that might help you organize and maximize your statement: Chism 1998 Developing a Philosophy, Schonwetter et al 2010 Conceptual Model, and Medina & Draugalis 2013 Evidence-based Steps.
You can find many examples of philosophy statement in all disciplines here (select a year to see the examples under that listing).
Narrative. The narrative is an essay that offers detail about the applicant's specific teaching examples and choices. If the teaching philosophy (see above) provides a glimpse at the applicant's THEORY of teaching, the narrative explains the PRACTICE, as well as how the theory is transferred to practice. One of the main elements of a paper-based teaching portfolio is the collection of documents typically held in an appendix. These documents offer examples of the teacher's practice, and typically include items created by the instructor (sample syllabi, lesson plans, test questions, essay prompts, grading rubrics, etc), items created by others (student evaluations, unsolicited notes from students, observation forms, etc), and evidence of student learning ("before and after" student essays, pre-and post-tests, etc). Note that not EVERY item listed above needs to be present; this is simply a list of possible inclusions. Since the e-portfolio supports links and attachments, the documents in applications for the USF Teaching Assistant Award will come as attachments to the Narrative page. The narrative essay itself can make references to these attachments throughout. Think of the narrative as an opportunity to "guide" the viewer's eye when looking at those attached documents–what elements need explanation or deserve to be pointed out as exemplary practices? The narrative can be anywhere from 2-10 double-spaced pages long when typed in word-processing software (about 2,500 words maximum, but as few as 500 is acceptable).
Innovation and Success. This page is a short essay (maximum of 400 words) in which applicants describe what makes their teaching unique, and how they are innovative instructors. This may refer to any element of the teaching process: content delivery, opportunities for practice, and assessment. Or, applicants can describe an occasion when teaching did NOT originally go well. What was the applicant's reaction, and why? What was done to remedy the situation? Applicants are encouraged to "tell a story", starting with the context and problem statement, and including details about the solution. The highest scores will go to essays that demonstrate a fundamental understanding about the roles played by instructors in the teaching and learning process.
Student Evaluations. Provide summary information about all student evaluations during your time at USF. This could take the form of just a simple chart of numbers (be sure to also include relevant student commentary). You may wish to include a few short paragraphs explaining your evaluation scores in context (such as relationship to GPA, department averages, or the rigor expected in your various courses. One option is to provide visual charts, so that your evaluations are seen in context (such as compared to the rest of the department). In addition to providing a more-accessible visual reference, these charts can be fruitfully combined with other data, such as relative class sizes or average GPA by class (or by department), which can shed light on summary student evaluation numbers. Our sample packet of contextualized student evaluations shows one way of assembling relevant data visually. Here are the directions for assembling the charts of contextualized student evaluations, as seen in the sample packet. (Note that some older examples of portfolios of previous winners may not include a section for student evaluations).
Video. Applicants must provide a video of themselves teaching an actual class. The video should not exceed five minutes. The goal is to provide reviewers with an accurate representation of their teaching style, their choices when teaching, and how well they communicate. In other words, show how you conduct class normally; do not adopt a particular activity or delivery that is artificial for you. If you lecture, then show a lecture. If you facilitate groupwork, show your facilitation of groupwork.
Note that the video need not be broadcast-quality; a simple smartphone will usually provide adequate quality. Captions and fancy introduction "slides" are not necessary; simply start the video inside the classroom. Videos should be captured, uploaded to YouTube (using the privacy setting "unlisted"), and then EMBEDDED within the page on Google Sites. If you need technical help, visit the Digital Media Commons in the Library.
E-portfolios may also wish to have a "home" page (sometimes referred to as a "welcome page", "landing page" or a "splash page") that is separate from the required pages listed above. If no separate home page is created, applicants should use the Teaching Philosophy page as the home page. Note that Google Sites may alphabetize the pages by default; it is acceptable for pages to appear in a different order online than presented here.
Note: all the required materials must be created as pages, with content visible directly on the page (rather than uploaded as an attachment). The only exception to the rule about attachments is the primary documents linked by the Narrative.
Each section of the e-portfolio should be formatted consistently and offer a professional appearance. The use of first-person prose ("I", "me") is allowed. Photos are allowed. Photos are neither explicitly rewarded in their presence nor punished in their absence. The grading rubric (see below) does offer some points for presentation.
If you are using Google Sites, be certain that you set the privacy setting to "public" and double-check that a link to your site will be visible to the judges--the best way to ensure this is to open a new browser where you are not logged in to Google and paste the URL of your portfolio. If the judges cannot access your site, you will not receive any grades (and for reasons of fairness, we do not contact applicants whose sites are still in private mode). It is also important to make sure that your browser used for double-checking is not logged in to your USF mail or USF Gmail, as this will show the site as accessible when it may not be for others.
Applications will be scored using this rubric.
Training and Workshops
Google Sites is convenient and intuitive. However, applicants may wish to consult this online tutorial. Remember to adjust the privacy so that it is visible to anyone with the link (and test it using a browser that is NOT signed in as you).
Applying for the TA Teaching Award (face-to-face workshop): Learn how to use Google Sites to house your e-Portfolio, and gain insights into how to craft your application materials for maximum effect.
Workshops for the 2018 award will be held on the following dates in SOC 025 (basement of the Social Science Building):
- Friday, December 1st, 2017 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
- Monday, December 4th, 2017 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Here is a sample portfolio that illustrates the required materials and layout: https://sites.google.com/site/taawardstemplate. Note that this is not provided as an example of effective teaching nor is it a perfect e-portfolio, and applicants should take care not to simply imitate the language of the essays in this sample. You may also wish to view this movie file that shows the process of creating the Google Site (initial steps only).
Previous Winners and Applicants: 2017-2018
Provost's Award – Arya Menon (Electrical Engineering) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Kevin Martyn (Geosciences)
Arts and Humanities:
Provost's Award – Lisa Spinazola (Communication) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Cody Hawley (Communication)
Provost's Award – Alaina Talboy (Psychology) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Nasreen Sadeq (School of Aging Studies)
Provost's Award – Krys Johnson (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) – see her portfolio
Previous Winners and Applicants: 2016-2017
Provost's Award – Rekha Govindaraj (Computer Science and Engineering) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Anita Marshall (Geosciences)
Arts and Humanities:
Provost's Award – Grace Peters (Communication) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Heather Fox (English)
Provost's Award – Travis Marn (Educational and Psychological Studies) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Patrick Casey (Sociology)
Provost's Award – Aldenise Ewing (Community and Family Health) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Shaheda Urmi (Nursing)
Previous Winners and Applicants: 2015-2016
Provost's Award – Hannah Torres (Geosciences) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Rebecca David (Geosciences)
Arts and Humanities:
Provost's Award – Nancie Hudson (Communication) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Colleen Kolba (English)
Provost's Award – Carlin Nguyen (Marketing) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Olga Petrova (Economics)
Previous Winners and Applicants: 2014-2015
Provost's Award – Khagendra Bhattarai (Physics) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Hannah Torres (Geosciences)
Arts and Humanities:
Provost's Award – Erhan Aslan (World Languages) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Nancie Hudson (Communication)
Provost's Award – Kara Fulton (Anthropology) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Brittany Jordan-Arthur (Psychology)
Provost's Award – Shana Green (Community and Family Health) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Elizabeth Handing (Aging Studies)
Previous Winners and Applicants: 2013-2014
Provost's Award – Michael Cross (Physics) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Hannah Torres (Geosciences)
Arts and Humanities:
Provost's Award – Tasha Rennels (Communication) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Ella Browning (English)
Provost's Award – Berna Colak (Economics) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Loren Wilbers (Sociology)
Provost's Award – Vanessa Chee (Community and Family Health) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Shitaldas Pamnani (Epidemiology and Bio-Statistics)
Previous Winners and Applicants: 2012-2013
Provost's Award – Matthew Morrison (Computer Science and Engineering) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Himanshu Verma (Physics)
Arts and Humanities:
Provost's Award – Daniel Richards (English) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Daniel Collette (Philosophy)
Provost's Award – Chris Metzger (Geography, Environment, and Planning) – see his portfolio
Honorable Mention – Barb LoFrisco (Psychological and Social Foundations)
Provost's Award – Amanda Holup (Behavioral and Community Sciences) – see her portfolio
Honorable Mention – Vanessa Chee (Community and Family Health)
- 2012-13 Award Ceremony Program (PDF)
Email email@example.com for more information.