Scholarships & Awards

Excellence in Teaching Award

The graduate students in our department are teacher-scholars who receive ample support during their time at the University of South Florida to grow into excellent and experienced instructors. We offer numerous opportunities for students to learn the art of teaching from both a theoretical and practical perspective. By offering numerous courses on pedagogy, mentorships, and teaching, the USF Department of English creates a general ethos of caring about teaching. Our graduate students embrace their important roles as teachers.

While all our graduate students will have a foundational base in college-level pedagogy, the department wants to recognize our students who have made it a focus of their graduate career to develop their pedagogical skills in a more robust manner. To this end, we will offer an Excellence in Teaching Award.

To become stronger teachers, we believe in a holistic approach. Each award category, therefore, will consist of three distinct foci designed to help graduate students gain specific skills and practices in teaching: a) pedagogy-focused courses b) professional development and c) mentorships and observations. By participating in a range of options in each of these categories, students will then synthesize what they have learned and create their own online teaching portfolio. This portfolio will be assessed by a committee of professors under the leadership of the graduate director.


We believe in a strong pedagogical foundation for our graduate students. Our teaching-focused courses provide students with both a theoretical framework and a practical emphasis on instructional strategies as they develop as college-level instructors. These courses are taught by our graduate faculty.

Students MUST complete:

  • ENC 6745 Teaching Practicum

Students MUST also complete one of the following courses:

  • LAE 6389 Practice in Teaching Literature
  • CRW 6806 CRW Pedagogy Practicum
  • LIT 6934 Practicum in Teaching Professional and Technical Communication
  • EDH 6938 Seminar in College Teaching
  • EDH 6081 The Community College in American Higher Education

Professional Development

While a pedagogical philosophy is paramount to any strong teaching practice, we also want our students to equip themselves with practical, classroom-focused skills that will expand their pedagogical tool box. The plethora of opportunities below will allow students to create their own foci of learning; students are encouraged to strategically plan (in consultation with the graduate director) a pathway that will form a cohesive whole of skills that they can implement in their own classrooms.


Students must attend six workshops per year from either ATLE, Innovative Education, Digital Media Commons, or the Department of English.

  • ATLE Workshops: The workshops are held on the first Friday of every month. Workshops range in subject matter from "Effective Lecture" to "Mindful Practice in Post-Secondary Classrooms" to "Grading Writing Assignments." Visit the ATLE website for more information on the range of workshops being offered.
  • Innovative Education Workshops: These lab-based workshops are geared for online teachers. Workshops range from "Learning Camtasia" to 'Mobile Learning" to "Enhancing Online Academic Integrity." For more information on the range of workshops being offered, visit the Innovative Education website.
  • Digital Media Commons Workshops: A variety of workshops are offered including, "Discover Adobe: A Beginner's Guide" to "Beyond PowerPoint" to "Promoting like the Pros." For more information on the range of workshops being offered, visit the DMC website.
  • Pedagogy-focused workshops held in the English Department: Students are encouraged to attend conferences that will be held in the English department that focus on pedagogy.

Skill-Based Pedagogy

Students are encouraged to learn a range of skills that will benefit them throughout their teaching careers. Students will have a range of options to consider, and they are encouraged to build upon skills in conjunction with their particular fields and interests. Students should choose one of the following:

  • Online Teaching certificate: Students must complete an online teaching course offered by USF. To learn more and to register, please visit the Innovative Education website. Students who complete the course will receive a certificate.
  • Tech Camp: Offered once a semester, this free day-long workshop will introduce students to a range of technologies that can be employed in the classroom. For information on previous tech days, visit the Tech Camp website.
  • Skill-Based Tool Certificate: Students may take a certificate course offered by USF or outside of USF that gives them training in a pedagogical tool. Examples may be certification courses in educational technology, coding or educational platforms. Students wishing to do so must consult with the graduate director for prior approval.

Observation & Mentorships

We believe that community of supporters and learners helps our graduate students improve as teachers. One of the most effective way to do this is to watch our graduate students in action. By observing them working with their own students in their classrooms, we offer mentoring opportunities so that students can capitalize on what they are doing wonderfully while continually improving their pedagogical practices. We also want our students to go into other instructors' classrooms and observe other teachers in action, hopefully gleaning ideas that they can implement in their own classrooms.

Graduate students must be observed by:

  • Peer: A graduate student colleague must observe you in the classroom and fill out a peer observation form.
  • ATLE: A member from the ATLE staff will observe you in the classroom, consult with you on what they observed and offer you two written evaluations.
  • Faculty member: A member of the graduate faculty will observe you in the classroom and fill out a faculty observation form.

Final Teaching Portfolio

We know the hard work that our students put into consistently improving their pedagogy. The portfolio is a chance for our graduate students to show others (and future employers) the skills they learned, the experience they accumulated in the classroom and the creativity and enthusiasm they garner within their own students. We believe the three critical aspects graduate students have already participated for this award—courses, professional development, observations and mentorships—will lead to a culminating final project to showcase their pedagogical expertise.

For the final portfolio, which will be reviewed by a faculty committee, we will use the criteria for the Provost Award for Graduate Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant. We encourage all students who have completed the award to also apply for the Provost's Award.

All students must complete an e-portfolio with the following criteria:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Teaching philosophy (theory of teaching)
  • Teaching narrative (practice of teaching)
  • Innovation and success essay (what makes your teaching unique)
  • Student evaluations
  • Teaching video
  • Checklist and summary of award (explain what you did to complete requirements for the award. Include all documents and certificates).

The graduate director will meet with each student to discuss each aspect of the portfolio.