Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence Award

Nomination Guidelines

The 2023 nomination guidelines are now available below.

Nomination Deadline

Nomination packages will be due to Faculty of Graduate Studies electronically by official representative of the unit by 4:00pm, May 15, 2023.

Adjudication Process

Award committees will meet in the following 30-60 days.

Awardees Notified

Awardees will be notified by early Fall.

About the Award

The Andy Farquharson Teaching Excellence Award celebrates teaching excellence among UVic graduate student teaching assistants.


Each academic unit may submit a single nomination. While unsuccessful candidates from previous competitions can be re-nominated, previous winners of this award are not eligible.

The following graduate students are eligible to apply:

  • Teaching Assistants involved in teaching activities as a TA (not as a sessional) at UVic during the 12 months prior to the deadline (generally hired under CUPE 4163)
  • Lab Instructors or Senior Lab Instructors who teach the lab sections of courses

Sessional Instructors are not eligible for this award.

Nominate a student

Please review the guidelines before nominating a Teaching Assistant or Lab Instructor.

Award Criteria

It is assumed that candidates will be in the process of developing these skills and attributes, not necessarily having already mastered them.

Student-centred / learning-oriented approach to teaching

  • Fosters excitement and enthusiasm about learning
  • Applies scholarly approach to teaching
  • Displays innovative instructional approach informed by Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  • Creates open learning environments; is supportive of diverse student needs

Institutional values and adherence to UVic learning outcomes

  • Inspires and mentors academic development
  • Fosters development of academic skills (e.g., critical thinking, writing and communication skills)
  • Is cognisant of the value of integrating research and teaching

Personal qualities that contribute to teaching

  • Models appropriate scholarly, professional and ethical behaviour (e.g., lab safety)
  • Is self-reflective about teaching (shows improvement over time)
  • Demonstrates leadership qualities (e.g., collaborative, commitment to excellence)
  • Contributes to the learning goals of the course instructor
Nomination letters or letters of support that do not directly address these criteria will be assigned lesser weight by the selection committee.

Nomination Dossier

The nomination package must consist of a single pdf file with contents arranged in the order indicated below. Documents submitted in excess of the page limits noted will not be considered.

Section 1: Nomination letter (maximum 1 page)

Introduces the nominee and provides specific examples of how the candidate exemplifies the Selection Criteria.  It should be signed by one or more nominators as applicable (see nomination form).

Section 2: Letters of support (maximum 1 page each)

A maximum of three additional letters of support, at least two of which are from undergraduate students. Letters should give specific examples of how the candidate exemplifies the Award Criteria.

Section 3: Nominee statement (maximum 2 pages)

A statement from the nominee outlining their teaching philosophy (or “approach to teaching”, “goals for teaching” or “teaching narrative”) that demonstrates how their teaching philosophy is enacted as a teaching assistant. The statement should explain how specific examples from the ‘Summary of Evidence’ section exemplify the Award Criteria.

Section 4: Summary of evidence (maximum 5 pages)

Summary of Evidence of excellence in teaching assistance (cannot include evidence from teaching in another capacity, such as a sessional) and of potential for future educational leadership. Evidence must be provided ‘as given in class,’ i.e., not compressed, reduced or scaled in any manner.


Examples may include (though not all are required):

  • Instructional materials developed (e.g., handouts, lesson plans, problem sets, class website pages, marking rubrics, manual sections, test questions, etc.). Note: these materials are applicable only if developed by the TA and not by the course instructor
  • Mentoring of students in the classroom/lab or through office hours
  • Samples of feedback given to students (anonymized), or before- and after-samples of student work that a student modified based on feedback from Nominee
  • Effective facilitation of on-line discussion threads or other virtual learning environments
  • Relevant SoTL research that informs teaching practice (indicate how the research was used)
  • Interest in learning about new skills as a TA (e.g., attending LTSI courses)
  • Offering teaching-related workshops for other graduate students/TAs
  • Public and peer-reviewed sharing of teaching and learning discoveries (e.g., presenting at conferences or symposia)
  • Being interviewed by the media to share experiences from a teaching and learning-related project to a broader audience

Section 5: Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages)

Current summary CV of the Nominee that clearly documents their teaching contributions.

Award Administration and Process

The award is administered by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Selection committee

A selection committee reviews the nominations and makes a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies.


The selection committee includes:


  • Chair, Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
  • Executive Director, Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) or designate
  • One undergraduate student appointed by the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS)
  • One graduate student appointed by the Graduate Students’ Society (GSS)
  • One previous winner of the award


Up to three awards of $1,000 each are selected annually. The awards will be publicized by UVic Communications + Marketing.

Submission details

The nomination package must be submitted electronically by an official representative of the unit (i.e., Chair/Director, Graduate Advisor or their assistant) to Receipt of nominations will be acknowledged by response email.

Inquiries may be directed to the Assistant to the Dean at 250-472-5187 or

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