2018-2019 Graduate Teaching Awards

To highlight and honor the university’s graduate students for their commitment to and excellence in undergraduate instruction, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs is soliciting nominations for the 2018-2019 Graduate Teaching Awards. 

Supported since 1990 by the Provost, the Graduate Teaching Awards considers all forms of teaching conducted by graduate students, whether it occurs in a classroom, a laboratory, or in a studio.  Any currently enrolled graduate student who has served as a GTA, or as instructor of record for at least two semesters, including fall 2018 and spring 2019, is eligible to be nominated.  The nomination process will allow at least one nomination from each department or school that employs GTAs.  The deadline for submission of nominations for the 2018-2019 Graduate Teaching Awards is Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

Full nomination materials are listed below.  For students in active teaching assignments, please note the requirement for a first-hand teaching observation conducted by a faculty member.  

Nomination and Selection Process

The number of nominees a department or school may submit is based upon the number of active GTAs in the unit.  Each department with at least one GTA is permitted to put forward at least one nominee.  Departments with greater numbers of GTAs are permitted to submit additional nominees, as follows:

  • Between 1 and 15 GTAs: 1 nominee
  • Between 16 and 30 GTAs: 2 nominees
  • 31 GTAs or more:  3 nominees

All nominees will be celebrated for their contributions at a Graduate Teaching Awards Reception in April.


From among all nominations an interdisciplinary faculty selection committee will determine the recipients of the following 15 awards. 

  • Ten All-University Graduate Teaching Awards, each of which carries a $500 award, an engraved Jefferson Cup, and a certificate in honor of the achievement.
  • Three Distinguished Graduate Teaching Awards, conferred to the top graduate instructors in the following areas:
    • one from arts and humanities disciplines, including architecture
    • one from social science disciplines, including education
    • one from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines

Each of the three Distinguished Graduate Teaching Awards includes a $1,000 award, an engraved Jefferson Cup, and a certificate in honor of the achievement.

  • One award of the Frank Finger Graduate Fellowship for Teaching.  The Frank Finger award is offered to a student in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in recognition of stimulating and organized classroom/ lab instruction.  The awardee will receive a $2,000 award, an engraved Jefferson Cup, and a certificate in honor of her/his achievement. 
  • One award of the Class of 1985 Fellowship for Creative Teaching.  The Class of 1985 Fellowship is offered to the candidate who best demonstrates exceptional creativity in teaching activities.  The awardee will receive an award of $5,000, an engraved Jefferson Cup, and a certificate in honor of her/his achievement.

Recipients of the three Distinguished Graduate Teaching Awards, the Frank Finger Graduate Fellowship for Teaching, and the Class of 1985 Fellowship for Creative Teaching will also be invited to the University Teaching Award Banquet on Wednesday, April 24, in the Rotunda.

All awards will be announced no later than Monday, April 1.

Required Materials and Submission Process

All departmental/school nominations should be submitted online by the department DGS or other administrator/designee, and can be accomplished by clicking the apply button in the upper right-hand corner at: https://virginia.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1779584

All materials required for nomination must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM on Tuesday, February 5.  

Nomination packets must include the following materials as a single PDF, in the order below, and are limited to no more than 12 pages in length, using no smaller than 12 point font:   

  1. A letter of nomination provided by the department that summarizes the reasons for the nomination and provides a job description: In what capacities has the graduate student taught and/or contributed to the learning of undergraduate students and in what types of environments?  How much freedom for innovation was there? What constitutes the most effective teaching in this situation?
  2. A one-page, reflective teaching statement, written by the student that addresses his or her role and philosophy as a teacher.
  3. A first-hand teaching observation completed by a faculty member.  The report may refer to teaching completed in a classroom, a lab, a studio, or an alternate environment, but should address the techniques employed by the graduate student to positively affect learning outcomes.  
  4. A synthesis of student evaluations that makes clear the graduate student's impact on undergraduate learning.

Successful nomination packets from previous competitions can be viewed at: https://gradstudies.virginia.edu/node/661

No letters of recommendation from former or current undergraduates should be sought or included. It is important for the sake of fairness that all nomination packets conform to these requirements. Any nominations that do not, will not be considered by the committee



Beth Beal, Programs Administrator, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs: bjb4d@virginia.edu, (434) 243-4014
Phil Trella, trella@virginia.edu, (434) 243-2018