Faculty-Level Teaching Awards: Why Bother? — Mario Coniglio

The ritual is the same each year  – I, as our Faculty’s liaison for Waterloo’s Distinguished Teaching Awards (DTA), email reminders to our Department Chairs and School Directors about the February nomination deadline. Soon after, around reading week, I receive the Science dossiers from Verna in the CTE, and shortly after that, we have our suggested ranking to forward to the DTA committee. Continue reading Faculty-Level Teaching Awards: Why Bother? — Mario Coniglio

Congratulations to Alan V. Morgan, 3M Teaching Fellow 2010 – Trevor Holmes

The Society for Teaching and Learning (STLHE) awards up to ten 3M Teaching Fellowships annually. We are thrilled to hear that recently-retired Earth Sciences Professor Alan V. Morgan has become the third University of Waterloo recipient in the award’s 25-year history. Alan’s passion for his subject area is infectious; over a career, he has influenced countless learners of all ages.

For further information, see the Daily Bulletin and the STLHE/Maclean’s announcement.


The Centre for Teaching Excellence welcomes contributions to its blog. If you are a faculty member, staff member, or student at the University of Waterloo (or beyond!) and would like contribute a posting about some aspect of teaching or learning, please contact Mark Morton or Trevor Holmes.

Effective letters for teaching-award nominations – Trevor Holmes

What a boring place the world would be if all letters looked the same! Nonetheless, there are some features that make letters for major awards more persuasive…

  • Start with how you know the nominee, since when, and in what context
  • Give your own qualifications as a context for your comments
  • Get to know the award for which the professor, instructor, or teaching assistant is being nominated — address whatever criteria you honestly can address
  • Provide specifics: not just your favourite teacher ever, but the specific ways in which he/she (for example) helped you grasp a concept, choose a major, succeed in a career, teach others something, overcome test anxiety, become aware of your own skills, and so forth.
  • Explain with examples how you are different for having had this teacher. What did you take away from the course BECAUSE of his or her teaching style and/or methods? This might involve concepts, but it might also involve values, approaches, or attitudes!