University of Calgary Teaching Awards program

The University of Calgary’s Eyes High vision inspires our university community to “enrich the quality and breadth of learning.” Acknowledging that outstanding contributions to this vision can take many different forms, the University of Calgary Teaching Awards recognize excellence in diverse learning contexts, by individuals and teams, and through curriculum design and educational leadership. A University of Calgary Teaching Award is a distinguished honour for members of our university community who, through their commitment and expertise, create deep and lasting learning experiences.

The University of Calgary Teaching Awards program was created in 2013, with the first awards given in 2014. The awards program currently comprises 13 diverse categories:

  • Curriculum Development
  • Educational Leadership
  • Experiential Learning Initiatives
  • Full-Time Academic Staff
  • Graduate Assistants (Teaching)
  • Graduate Supervision
  • Librarians, Archivists and Curators
  • Non-Academic Staff
  • Sessional Instructors
  • Teaching in Online Environments
  • Team Teaching
  • Work-Integrated Education
  • Continuing and Professional Education

Documentation and Materials

University of Calgary Teaching Award Proposal

The GFC Teaching Awards Program proposal highlights the program’s commitment to recognizing the breadth of teaching excellence at the University of Calgary, as well as promoting a collaborative, evidence-based decision-making process.

Download (PDF, 245KB)

The 2016 award recipients were presented with their awards by President Elizabeth Cannon and Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) Lynn Taylor during the Celebration of Teaching.

Calls for nomination and rubrics

The calls for nomination for each of the award categories outline the award criteria, components of the nomination, and the evidence required to support the claims made in the nomination.

Each adjudication committee is guided by an adjudication rubric, drawn from the award criteria.

UToday articles

Sample teaching philosophy statements

A number of University of Calgary Teaching Award recipients agreed to share their teaching philosophy statements to support other nominees in preparing teaching dossiers.

Assessment Strategies and Results

Over four years, the Teaching Awards program has received a total of 261 nominations, and outstanding teachers have been recognized in almost every faculty at the University of Calgary.  Each year hundreds of faculty, staff and students contribute to the nomination and adjudication processes to support this awards program. In 2016, approximately 350 members of the community provided documentation to support 71 nominees. In 2017, 57 faculty, staff and students participated as adjudicators across 10 different committees.

Faculty Recipients
Arts 15
Haskayne School of Business 1
Werklund School of Education 13
Schulich School of Engineering 2
Environmental Design 2
Kinesiology 4
Cumming School of Medicine 8
Nursing 5
Science 13
Social Work 6
Veterinary Medicine 2
Student Success Centre 1
Libraries & Cultural Resources 1
SU Wellness 1
Continuing Education 1

Support and consultations

The Educational Development Unit has provided support to a large number of the 261 nominees. In the 2016 awards cycle, there were 150 registrations for support workshops offered by the EDU. Of the 15 award recipients, 11 attended at least one support workshop or consulted on their nomination with an educational development consultant. In the 2017 awards cycle, 116 participants attended workshops or consultations offered by the EDU. Of the 21 award recipients, 17 attended at least one support workshop, group consultation session, or individual consultation with a member of the EDU.

The Teaching Awards program has also positioned colleagues at the University of Calgary for success in national awards competitions. Ken MacMillan, recipient of the 2014 Award for Full-Time Faculty and 2015 Award for Educational Leadership (informal role), was one of 10 recipients of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship in 2016.  Adjudication processes developed to support the collaborative decision-making processes for this Awards program have also been adopted for the McKaig-Killam Teaching Award.

Reflection and Impact

The awards program has succeeded in raising the profile of teaching excellence and signalling the value of teaching and learning to the University of Calgary. Recipients are presented with their awards by the president and provost at a high-profile Celebration of Teaching dinner, attended by the chancellor, high-profile donors, members of the senate and board of governors, deans and senior university leadership. The UToday article announcing the names of all recipients has regularly been on of the top three UToday stories for the month in which it was published. The names of recipients are also inscribed on the Wall of Honour in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, a lasting institutional record of teaching excellence.

wall of honour
The names of all recipients of the University of Calgary Teaching Awards are inscribed on the Wall of Honour in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

The University of Calgary Teaching Awards program is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive teaching awards programs in Canada. While nominees have at times expressed concerns about the length of the dossier required, they have also recognized that the reflective process is a valuable one, that offers an effective means of reflecting on and capturing their impact on student learning.

Kyla Flanagan (2015 Teaching Award recipient) commented in a UToday article that “It was a rigorous process but it was also really valuable to think about what your teaching philosophy is and how you view teaching, and to pull together evidence that supports your work as a teacher.”  Lisa Stowe (2016 Teaching Award recipient) likewise comments, “It’s great that I received the award and that validation is really nice, but internally the whole process was amazing for me as a practitioner. If anyone is interested at all in self-reflection and they want to understand how they teach or their teaching practice, then go through the nomination process.”

While reflecting on the impact of receiving the award, Joe Kadi remarked, “It was a huge boost. It was a hugely positive thing for me and for the Women’s Studies program.” The comprehensive awards program, and the rigorous nomination and adjudication process, is designed to position colleagues for success in national awards programs. In 2016, history professor Ken MacMillan (recipient of a 2014 Award for Full-time Academic Staff and 2015 Award for Educational Leadership) received the prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship.

Sharing teaching expertise

The other impact of the awards program has been to bring together award recipients to form the Teaching Academy. The Teaching Academy is a group of award-winning instructors who are interested in sharing their expertise with their colleagues.  In 2016/17, the Teaching Academy members helped share their expertise during the Teaching Awards consultation sessions with dozens of members of our university community  The Teaching Academy eportfolio post details how the academy operates and the impact they have already had on teaching and learning at the University of Calgary.

Reflection and feedback

Every year, the Educational Development Unit has reflected on the award program, and made changes based on feedback from unit staff, nominees, nominators, adjudicators, and the associate deans (teaching and learning). Based on feedback from the 2016 and 2017 awards, the EDU initiated a number of revisions, including:

  • Recruiting past award recipients to build the capacity of the program to provide support to nominees;
  • Increasing the number of drop-in consultation sessions
  • Creating new awards (Work Integrated Education, Continuing Education) to recognize outstanding contributions to student learning in diverse contexts at the University of Calgary;
  • Expanding the leadership provided during the awards adjudication process to include chairs from across the Taylor Institute and university community;
  • Enhancing support resources related to the awards for educational leadership, as well as the non-academic staff awards;
  • Include adjudication rubrics with the call for nominations for each award; and,
  • Developing a support session and resources on writing effective nomination and support letters.



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