British Columbia Teaching and Learning Council West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards

Purpose

The purpose of the awards program is to celebrate excellence in teaching in the publicly funded colleges, institutes, and universities of British Columbia and the Yukon by acknowledging those individuals who exemplify such excellence.

Award Descriptions

Up to five awards will be made annually to educators from different post-secondary institutions.

Distinguished Teaching Award

This award recognizes excellence in post-secondary teaching over a number of years, primarily at the undergraduate level.

An individual nominated for this award will be characterized by a proven commitment to enhanced student engagement and learning, a reflective and intentional approach to teaching practices, and dedication to teaching improvement including successful implementation of any of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Criteria

The following list reflects significant criteria of distinguished teaching, though the Awards Committee is aware that opportunities to demonstrate all of these characteristics may vary according to the institutional context and that nominees may also provide other examples of teaching excellence.

Teaching and Learning

    • Promotes a teaching and learning environment that fosters respect, responsibility, relevance and reciprocity;
    • Demonstrates knowledge of the teaching and learning process through clearly developed student learning outcomes, competencies or goals, assessments and pathways to success;
    • Encourages student participation in the learning process
    • Employs innovative techniques for achieving learning;
    • Fosters critical thinking and problem- solving abilities;
    • Engages experiential learning opportunities that connect students to community or other stakeholders for an authentic learning experiences;
    • Uses assessment methods that are authentic, aligned with learning outcomes and instructional approaches.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

    • Acknowledges and embeds Indigenous world views and Indigenous ways of knowing/being into learning practices;
    • uses approaches to teaching and evaluation of learning that are inclusive and respects diverse student learning needs;
    • incorporates universal design principles;
    • engages students in the global impact of concepts learned.

Evidence-base

    • Is informed by research to adapt and develop teaching practices and course development;
    • demonstrates reflective teaching, for example, by:

○ engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning;
○ sharing good practice with others through workshops, presentations, or publications on teaching and learning; or
○ participating in professional development activities to enhance teaching practice;
○ building relationship(s) with Indigenous peoples/communities to appropriately reflect an Indigenous lens.

Eligibility

  1. Nominations are accepted in electronic form. (No paper copies.) If submissions are in a language other than English, an English translation is required.
  2. Those nominated must be members of the teaching faculty, with a load normal for their discipline, level, or term of appointment as determined by their nominating institution.
  3. Chairs and department heads who continue to teach a minimum of half a normal teaching load are eligible for nomination.
  4. Previous recipients of 3M National Teaching Fellowships are not eligible for nomination for the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence awards, as the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence awards are intended to be a progression to this award.
  5. No current member of the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards Committee may be nominated.
  6. A nominee for each award may be selected according to a procedure established by BCTLC and need not have received a previous institutional award.
  7. An individual may be nominated once per year.
  8. Re-nominations of previously unsuccessful nominees are welcomed and encouraged; however, nominators are reminded that the award criteria may change from year-to-year—please ensure that re-nominations conform to the current guidelines. Re-nominations must be approved by the submitting institution’s senior leadership. Each institution is limited to two submissions per year, including re-nominations.
  9. Winners of the BC West Coast Teaching Award are not eligible for subsequent submission for a minimum of five years.

Nomination Procedure

Application Deadlines
The deadline for applications is set annually, usually during the first week of December. Each BCTLC member institution may forward two nominations for the BC Teaching Excellence Award.

Award Submission
Each post-secondary institution may submit a maximum of two nominations per year. Awards will be given to five different institutions each year, at least one each from a college, institute or teaching university, and research-intensive university, if the Teaching Awards Committee deems it appropriate.

Supporting Materials
Each nomination shall be accompanied by material supporting the application in accordance with the Guidelines for Nomination. Please submit a PDF copy to the Teaching Excellence Awards Committee Chair via email. The committee will only accept those dossiers that have been endorsed by the senior academic leader at the appropriate institution with a support/nomination letter.

Guidelines for Nomination.
Please submit a PDF to the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards Chair. Via email to: wcteachingaward@ufv.ca.

Awards Committee
The BCTLC executive shall nominate and elect the awards committee. (See Awards Committee Procedures).

Announcement of Award Recipients
Each April, upon recommendation from the Teaching Awards Committee, the BCTLC issues a press release announcing the recipients of the Teaching Excellence Award.

Award recipients and their guests will be honoured at a luncheon held during the meeting of the BCTLC in June or as part of the Festival of Learning Conference, if possible.

BCTLC Teaching Showcase
Recipients of the West Coast Teaching Excellence Award will be invited to participate in a session at the annual BCTLC Teaching Showcase at either the Festival of Learning or the Teaching and Learning Symposium.

Nomination Guidelines

This award recognizes excellence in teaching over a number of years. Please refer to the award criteria above:

Dossier Format
The Awards Committee is aware that each of the nominating institutions will have its own procedures and criteria relating to internal teaching awards and it wishes to respect these differences. The following guidelines are presented to ensure fairness and consistency in the presentation of nominations for the BCTLC awards.

Important Information about Dossier Format
The dossier must be formatted as a PDF file and submitted electronically.

The BCTLC representative for the institution is the person who should email the PDF file to the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards Committee by the selected date in early December. Please send to: wcteachingaward@ufv.ca.

Nomination dossiers must not exceed 20 numbered pages. The following are required but not counted in the 20-page limit: cover page which displays the nominee’s name, academic unit, institution, and year of submission; table of contents, and separation pages that clearly identify each category of evidence.

Dossiers must be presented in 12-point font with all original descriptive content written by the nominee appearing in Garamond or Helvetica font. Use standard one-inch page margins all around.

The Committee will not accept dossiers that exceed the 20-page limit (excluding required appendices), or which use a font size smaller than 12-point or margins narrower than one inch all around. A dossier that does not conform to these guidelines or which lacks any of the following component parts will not be considered for an award.

The Awards Committee’s decision will be based on material contained within the 20-page dossier and appendices only. The dossier must not include URLs to supporting material.

Dossier Contents
The dossier should make a persuasive case for distinguished teaching using evidence from a variety of sources, including the nominee, learners, peers, Indigenous community/elder(s)/knowledge keepers, and exemplary teaching materials. It should be written in accessible language and avoid academic language or jargon specific to the nominee’s discipline.

The following categories of evidence and appendices should be presented in the given order:

Part 1: Nomination Letter—A nomination letter from the President, Vice-President Academic or designate illustrating the nominee’s major strengths.
When there is a designate, the President or Vice-President Academic should endorse the nomination by appending a brief note to the dossier or by adding their signature to the nomination letter. No current member of the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards Committee may be the designated nominator.

Part 2: Academic Career Achievements—A one- or two-page (maximum) summary in list-form or
abbreviated CV format that highlights the nominee’s major academic career achievements in teaching, service, and research, with an emphasis on contributions to teaching and learning, such as course development, introducing new instructional strategies or technologies, presenting workshops, or publishing on teaching and learning.

Part 3: Teaching Philosophy—A one-to-two page (1500 words maximum) teaching philosophy statement. An effective philosophy statement provides the context for the nominee’s teaching and explains the values, principles, and goals that underpin teaching decisions and actions. It should demonstrate that the nominee reflects on and learns from the teaching experience and literature. The teaching philosophy is the anchor of the dossier and the Committee’s first opportunity to hear the nominee’s own voice—it should be personal and genuine. Exemplary examples put into words the spirit that animates the teacher, who then comes to life on the page as a result.

Part 4: Evidence of Excellence in Teaching—A paragraph that explains the varied evidence of how the nominee implements their teaching philosophy. Such evidence may include course syllabi, examples of their most effective teaching and learning strategies, their development and use of formative teaching evaluation, learning activities developed, or assessment strategies used.

Part 5: Student Ratings of Instruction (SRI) (See also Appendices)
a. The Awards Committee understands that there is a wide diversity of methods that postsecondary institutions use to collect student feedback. While the committee would prefer student evaluations of teaching, the committee will consider other methods of collecting student data on teaching effectiveness including student reflections, data from interviews, focus groups, etc.

Required is a paragraph that explains the context for student evaluation of teaching at the institution including the following: the office responsible (e.g., Provost, institutional planning, etc.); the administrative procedures for SRI (who conducts them, how the forms are administered, how the results are reported); the normal course load for a teacher in the department. If the nominee has used a university-sanctioned alternative to evaluate teaching effectiveness, a description of the alternative method, how it is administered, and a rationale for using it is to be included.

b. A table that contains the following information:

  • all courses taught by the nominee during the most recent two years of teaching responsibilities (allowing for sabbaticals and leaves, and allowing for the advanced preparation of dossiers that may require translation to English); and
  • enrollment in each course.

If the institution’s standard SRI has been used, the table should also include the following:

  • the number of students who responded to the SRI questionnaire in each course;
  • the mean rating received for the global or ‘overall’ question(s) for each course;
  • comparative data, such as departmental, faculty, or university norms, if available; and
  • the name and position of the person who summarized the data for the table and how the summary was prepared.

c. A paragraph that contextualizes or expands upon the data provided and that helps the Awards Committee in its interpretation. For example, what trends or patterns emerge in the data? What information explains irregularities for a particular course? Has the institution’s standard SRI or a university-sanctioned alternative has been used? The nominee should also explain how they have responded to, applied, or used student feedback to enhance their teaching and student learning.

Part 6: Letters of Support—Up to six letters of support, a maximum of three, from the following groups of supporters may be included: students not currently enrolled in any of the nominee’s classes or working under their supervision, colleagues/peers with personal experience of the nominee’s teaching, or Indigenous or community members outlining the impact of student involvement as part of their course work.

Important Information about Supporting Letters

  • The Committee will accept letters of support that are up to 18 months old.
  • Current members of the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards Committee are ineligible to write letters of support.
  • Letters should provide specific examples illustrating the characteristics attributed to each nominee.
  • Letters from Indigenous community, elder(s), or knowledge keepers should provide specific information regarding the nominee’s connection and relationship to them and ways in which they use Indigenous worldviews/ways of knowing and being.
  • Letters should include the signature and postal address of the writer. If the letter is in the form of an email message, it should include the full name and e-mail address of the sender.
  • Mindful of the 20-page limit for the dossier, nominees are strongly discouraged from including multiple letters that repeat the same information, thereby limiting the amount of evidence they can supply in Part 4.

Appendices—The following appendices are required but not included in the 20-page limit for the dossier.
A. A blank copy of the student ratings questionnaire or university-sanctioned alternative
B. Complete sets of student comments from two courses listed on the table in Part 5b If student comments are not collected on the institution’s standard SRI, include anonymous comments collected at the end of the semester by another method. All nominees must explain how and by whom the comments were collected, compiled, and verified.
C. A one-page description of the two courses chosen and a rationale for their inclusion.
D. A 250-word press release announcing the candidate as a winner of the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards from the perspective of the institution. This will ensure the school’s priorities are highlighted in the press announcement.

Procedures for Selecting Members of the BCTLC West Coast Teaching Excellence Awards Committee and Award Winners

Members of the Teaching Excellence Awards Committee

  • The Chair will be a member of the BCTLC and appointed by the Executive of the BCTLC
  • The Committee shall be comprised of a minimum of four additional BCTLC member institutions to a maximum of six. One rep from BCcampus may also sit on the committee.
  • The Past Chair of the BCTLC shall make the call for nominations to the Awards Committee in September of each year to the BCTLC community.
  • Committee members can be nominated with the nominee’s permission or be self-nominated. Nominees do not have to be members of the BCTLC but must be from a school that is represented in the BCTLC.
  • There will be at least one representative on the Awards Committee from a college, institute or teaching university, and research-intensive university. If more nominations are received than can be accommodated on the committee, the BCTLC executive will decide who shall sit on the Awards Committee. If not enough nominations are received, the Past Chair will reach out to the membership to encourage participation.

Choosing the Winners

  • Committee members will excuse themselves from the procedure/discussion when a submission from their school is being evaluated. This will not impact the overall score of the submission.
  • Submissions must meet all the criteria required as set out on page 1 to be considered.
  • Submissions will be kept confidential at all times to the exclusion of the Teaching Excellence Awards Committee.
  • The Committee Chair will connect with the committee members to explain the process, the evaluation, shortlisting, voting procedures.
  • Members of the committee will have access to the submissions that allows enough time to evaluate each submission according to a rubric and prepare a shortlist. The committee members will determine the timelines required, depending on the numbers of submissions received.
  • The scores will be emailed to the Committee Chair. The Chair will collect and collate the scores for the submissions.
  • The Committee will meet to discuss the submissions, the shortlist, and will determine the winners through scores and a culminating vote.
  • The Chair will inform the BCTLC executive of the Committee’s decision.
  • The BCTLC will announce the winners in April.
  • The winners will be feted in June, if possible.

The BCTLC acknowledges the support of the Association of Atlantic Universities for their materials and references.

Acknowledgement

Members of the BCTLC are grateful to live, work, and be in relation with people from across many traditional and unceded territories, covering all regions of British Columbia. We are honoured to live on this land and are committed to reconciliation, decolonization, and building relationships in our communities and schools.

Suggested Land Acknowledgements for Institutions in B.C.