TA Excellence Award
In 2017 the Department of Psychology at St. George campus announced the inaugural TA Excellence Award to recognize outstanding teaching assistants nominated for excellent work in the previous academic year. The first ever award was presented at the December 2018 Holiday Party with nominations drawn from Teaching Assistants from Fall 2017, Winter 2018 and Summer 2018 courses.
After a review of the nomination process by the Awards committee, nominations will now be requested for the calendar year (rather than the academic year) . For the 2019 Award, nominations will come from the Winter, Summer and Fall terms of 2019. FOR THE 2019 AWARDS ONLY, nominations will also be requested from the Fall 2018 term to ensure that these TAs are not overlooked.
ABOUT THE AWARD
Up to two awards will be offered per year. Nominations will occur in the October the announcement of award recipient(s) will be made in December at the annual department holiday dinner. Recipients of the TA Excellence Award will receive a certificate of recognition and $250. Their names will also be engraved on a plaque to hang in the Psychology lounge. The TA Coordinator (Nora Sellers) will oversee the selection process.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS (NOW CLOSED)
Nominations for the TA Excellence Awards is now closed and will reopen in October 2019.
Who is eligible? Teaching Assistants (CUPE 3902 Unit 1) who have been assigned to a St. George Campus Undergraduate Psychology course in Winter, Summer and Fall terms of the current calendar year are eligible for this inaugural award.
Who should submit the nomination form? The Department will select from candidates that are nominated. It will accept nominations from the following two groups:
- Student nominations: Students in a particular course may nominate a teaching assistant for the award. They will be encouraged to provide supporting documentation, such as comments from numerous students on the qualities and excellent work of their TA, samples of written feedback they have received on course work, etc.
- Course instructor nominations: Course instructors may nominate a Teaching Assistant based on comments received from students, evidence of excellent work, or direct observation of the TA’s performance. Nominations should include details of performance and preferably with supporting documentation (some evidence from students required – this might be emails the instructor has received from students about this TA, comments about the TA from informal mid-course surveys or end-of-semester course evaluations, etc.).
After nominations have been received, the TA will be notified and invited to submit a brief (< 200 words) statement highlighting their contributions to the course, as well as any additional supporting documentation they would like to provide (e.g., emails they have received from students).
The Selection Committee includes the Teaching Assistant administrator (Nora), Undergraduate Chair, two volunteer faculty members (including at least one member of the teaching stream faculty), and the previous TA Excellence Award winner (if available/applicable).The Selection Committee will make a decision based upon the following criteria:
- Nominators: For student nominations, is there instructor support? For instructor nominations, is there student support?
- Communication with Students: was the TA responsive to student questions, able to answer them in a way that enhanced understanding?
- Communication with Instructor(s): was the TA responsive to instructor emails, requests, etc. (in essence, did the TA make the life of the instructor easier?)
- Enthusiasm: was the TA enthusiastic about the course material/assignments? Did they inspire excitement or curiosity about the subject matter?
- Knowledge: was the TA knowledgeable about the course subject matter? If the course fell outside the TAs particular area of expertise, did they take steps to enhance their understanding of the material?
- Grading: did the TA mark in a fair, consistent, prompt manner and give solid and appropriate feedback to the students?
- Other: did the TA display any other characteristics that enhanced the learning experience of students and/or the teaching experience of the instructor? Did the TA augment the course through innovative ideas or pedagogical development? Was the TA responsive to Psychology staff requests?
Claudia Damiano for her work in PSY280H (Introduction to Perception)
Ragnheidur Thora Bjornsdottir, PSY329H (Social Psychology Lab)