Award for Inclusive and Innovative Course Design

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Congratulations to Mary Elizabeth Leighton!

Dr. Mary Elizabeth Leighton, Professor, Department of English, is the 2023 winner of the Award for Inclusive and Innovative Course Design. Read Mary Elizabeth’s biography and explore the other REACH recipients.

About the Award

This award recognizes and celebrates innovative approaches to teaching that promote inclusion through the use of technology, digital pedagogies and principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Recipients of this award demonstrate a significant impact on student engagement and academic success, as well as broadening research and experiential components in the learning environment.

Past recipients

  • 2023 | Dr. Mary Elizabeth Leighton, English


Nomination Guidelines

The 2023 nomination guidelines are available below.

Application submissions

Applications for this award are now closed as of November 1, 2023.

Adjudication Process

Award committees will meet in November.

Applicants Notified

Applicants will be notified by early 2024.


This award is open to:

  • all faculty members as defined in the Collective Agreement;
  • those currently holding a regular faculty position and anticipate continuing in that position for the next academic year; and,
  • have taught two or more courses at the graduate and/or undergraduate level that include inclusive and innovative course design using the principles of UDL.

Who can submit a nomination?

    A UVic student or former student

    • the student must not be enrolled in a course with the Nominee during the nomination, review/adjucation period

    A faculty member colleague and/or Department or School Chair/Director

    • If the Department Chair/Director is not a co-nominator, the Chair/Director must review and sign to endorse the nomination.


    Nominations of previous nominees who have not been selected as the recipient of the award will be held and eligible for review for a period of three years. Re-nominations of these nominees are welcomed and encouraged; however, nominators and nominees are reminded that the award criteria may change from year-to-year—please ensure that re-nominations conform to the current guidelines.

    Award Criteria

    Nominations will be assessed based on evidence of excellence in the following elements of inclusive and innovative course design:

    • Plans, develops and implements effective innovative learning activities in course(s) (e.g., using educational technologies to support student engagement, peer to peer instructional strategies, use different modalities in LMS, use of alternative realities etc.)
    • Develops clear learning outcomes that encompass UDL approaches:
      • How information gets presented to students and access in multiple formats
      • Provide alternative and effective ways for students to express or demonstrate learning in a changing environment
      • Use a variety of ways to stimulate student engagement and interest through experiential and active learning practices

    Materials Required

    Nominees will use our online teaching awards application portal where they can easily add all nomination documents and information. This includes:

    Nominee Information

    • Department
    • Faculty
    • Position

    Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    Upload as a PDF to online portal and must include:

    • Education and other relevant experience 
    • Employment history
    • Teaching awards
    • Courses taught

    Letter from nominator

    Share the link with your nominator on the online portal. The nominator will write a brief (2 pages maximum) written statement including:

    • teaching practices;
    • teaching philosophy, and
    • impact of teaching on student learning specific to award criteria

    Two letters of support

    Upload as PDF to online portal:

    • Letters are to be independent from one another and from previous students, staff, faculty, community partners and/or alumni
    • Letters address nomiees effective teaching practices (ie. student engagement, student learning, value of the courses to their overall program, effective teaching strategies, creativity in course design, teaching inspired by research, student mentoring, and innovative and/or effective assignments)

    Additional supporting materials

    Upload up to 10 optional files to online portal, such as:

    • teaching dossier
    • websites
    • media clips or articles
    • course syllabi

    Supporting evidence should be referenced in nomination letter. Hyperlinks to web-based materials are encouraged.

    Administrative Process


    The Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost administers the award in collaboration with the Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation..


    One award is presented each year. The award includes a gift and a $1,000 cash prize. All nominees will be recognized and recipients will receive their awards at the annual REACH Awards ceremony. The awards will be publicized by UVic Communications + Marketing.

    About this post

    This post was last updated:

    July 12, 2023

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