Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching

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Congratulations to Andrew MacRae!

Dr. Andrew MacRae, Senior Lab Instructor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is the 2023 winner of the Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. Read Andrew’s biography and explore the other REACH recipients.

About the Award

Since 1989, the UVic Alumni Association has been pleased to honour the outstanding level of teaching offered by the university’s faculty and instructors. We are proud of our role in recognizing UVic teaching of the highest calibre. 

The Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching bears the name of a former Senior Lab Instructor in the Geography department who, for 21 years, was a strong supporter of better teaching at the university, an active member of the advisory committee of the Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI), and a regular participant in the training of teaching assistants. This award is a tribute to Gilian Sherwin’s commitment to the art of teaching and the influence she had on many students and colleagues. 

The Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award is the highest honour for teaching excellence at the University of Victoria for Sessional Lecturers, Lab Instructors, and Senior Lab Instructors.

Previous recipients

  • 2023 | Mr. Andrew MacRae, Physics & Astronomy
  • 2022 | Dr. Michael Reed, Medieval Studies
  • 2021 | Dr. Tim Personn, English
  • 2020 | Dr. Stephanie Calce, Anthropology
  • 2019 | Dr. Georgia Sitara, History
  • 2018 | No Award Presented
  • 2017 | Dr. Valeria D’Erman, Political Science
  • 2016 | No award presented
  • 2015 | Prof. Mark Bridge, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
  • 2014 | Dr. Rebecca M.A. Gagan, English
  • 2013 | Dr. Kristin Semmens, History
  • 2012 | Dr. Alex van Netten, Physica & Astronomy
  • 2011 | Dr. Andrew Wender, Political Science
  • 2010 | No award presented
  • 2009 | Mr. Stefan Scott, Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education
  • 2008 | Mrs. Barbara Currie, Biochemistry & Microbiology
  • 2007 | Prof. Glenn Gallins, Law
  • 2006 | Ms. Kelli Fawkes, Chemistry
  • 2005 | Prof. David Clenman, Music


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.


Who can be nominated?

This category is open to all Sessional Lecturers, Lab Instructors, and Senior Lab Instructors (continuing and term). These eligibility criteria reflect the fact that this is the highest award for teaching excellence at the University of Victoria at this level.

Nominees must:

  • have taught for a minimum of three years within the last five years prior to nomination at the University of Victoria, currently hold a sessional position, and anticipate continuing in that position for the next academic year;
  • have taught
    a) a minimum of 4.5 units in each of the three years (or);
    b) have held a .5 FTE instructional position for 8 months in each of the three years, (or);
    c) be able to substantiate that they have had instructional responsibilities equivalent to either of the former requirements in each of the three years (a list of courses taught is required, see below); and,
  • be the only nomination from their academic unit (i.e., only one new nomination per academic unit will be considered).

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 outstanding contributions in both teaching and educational leadership:

    • Promotes student-centred learning in practices that actively engage students in the learning process and are focused on learning and mentoring beyond the classroom
    • Creatively enhances teaching by including innovative teaching methods and learning strategies, effective assignment development, incorporation of educational technologies and providing formative assessment
    • Provides innovative course design/redesign and engagement in curriculum development and is actively engaged in scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research, collaborating with peers, students and TAs.
    • Is a educational leader within and beyond the university, involved in activities such as: participating in learning and teaching related committees or presentations, serving as a consultant on government policy bodies, writing media reviews or articles, publishing in academic journals or obtaining grants for teaching and learning research

    Materials Required

    Nominators and their nominees will both 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 on behalf of the Alumni Association. 


    One award is presented each year. The award includes a gift and a $2,000 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:

    March 2, 2022

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