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The President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning

The President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning demonstrates the value McMaster attaches to its educational function and recognizes those who, through innovation and commitment, have significantly enhanced the quality of their students’ learning experience.

Each President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning recognizes the contributions of an individual or group collaboration to education through innovation, continued excellence in teaching, and enhanced student learning. It is an award that recognizes sustained and effective achievement with weight given to evidence of continuing effort and outstanding contributions over a number of years, especially at the undergraduate level

Outstanding contributions to teaching and learning may be demonstrated by evidence of the intellectual growth of students and enhanced student learning that results from innovative teaching in the classroom, the mentorship of students through involvement in research or practical experience, the development of novel and effective educational materials, or leadership that promotes teaching and learning at McMaster.

Recipients of the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning receive:  

  • A citation of excellence and memento to be presented at Spring Convocation; 
  • An honorarium in the amount of $3,000.00; 
  • An inscription of the recipient’s name on a permanent plaque bearing names of all previous award recipients; 
  • An invitation to the annual President’s Retreat; 
  • Membership in McMaster’s community of award-winning educators now assembled as the McMaster Teaching Academy.  

Up to five awards may be given each year.

The Nomination Process

  • A 1-2 page nomination brief is completed by a nominator who can attest to the nominee’s quality of teaching and impact on student learning. Nominations are typically submitted by the respective Chair or Dean but can be proposed by members of faculty, students, and/or staff.  
  • An abridged CV for the nominee must be included alongside the submission of the nomination brief. 
  • Nominators complete and submit the nomination brief and abridged CV by January 31st, 2021 to mi@mcmaster.ca. 
  • The selection committee will review the nomination briefs to assess the eligibility and quality of the nomination.  
  • By mid-February, selected nominees/nominators will be contacted and encouraged to develop and submit a full nomination portfolio by March 31st, 2020. Electronic teaching portfolios are submitted to mi@mcmaster.ca.

Expandable List

All full-time and part-time faculty and staff (including those who are on contract) who contribute to teaching and learning at McMaster are eligible. A previous recipient remains eligible, but only on the basis of work completed since the previous award. Senior administration (i.e. Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans) are not eligible to apply for the award while they hold their positions but are encouraged to support and nominate outstanding faculty for the President’s Award. 

A nomination brief is typically submitted by the respective Chair or Dean but can be proposed by members of faculty, students, and/or staff.  The nomination brief attests to the nominee’s excellence and effectiveness in teaching, as well as the impact that the nominee has had on student learning. Nominators should discuss the nominee’s particularly innovative teaching, mentoring, educational leadership, and/or development of innovative teaching materials, and highlight compelling evidence that demonstrates sustained impact on enhancing the student learning experience.  

The nominator should complete and submit their nomination briefs, coupled with an abridged CV of the nominee, tomi@mcmaster.ca by January 31st, 2021. 

Information to include in the email: 

  • A letter/Nomination Brief  
  • An abridged CV for the Nominee  

Please note: Nominators should be aware that the President’s Award is not intended to celebrate impressive accomplishments more broadly, but to celebrate innovative teaching practices and impacts demonstrated by a faculty member — or, a team of faculty members that are being nominated as a group. For individual or group nominations, clear connections to McMaster’s values and strategic priorities, as well as evidence of impact that reaches across the university and/or externally, would strengthen a nomination. 

Group Nominations:  

If nominating a group, the nomination brief should clearly explain the collaborative teaching initiative engaged by a team of faculty members and why this group of instructors are being nominated together, as opposed to individually, with a compelling suite of evidence.   

The nomination portfolio is an expanded version of the teaching portfolio prepared by the nominee, or group of nominees, to showcase the best possible evidence for outstanding contributions to teaching and learning. Support from the nominator and the Paul. R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation & Excellence in Teaching is highly encouraged. Please see the MacPherson Institute’s Guidebook, Preparing a Teaching Portfolio for helpful advice and guidance on the composition of a teaching portfolio.

Nomination portfolios are expected to be approximately 30 pages, but must not exceed 35 numbered pages, including appendices and graphics. Any portfolio that is submitted which exceeds 35 pages will not be considered for the award. 

Similar to McMaster’s Teaching Portfolio requirements (SPS-B2), the following elements should be included in the nomination portfolio for both an individual or group nomination:  

  • A copy of the Nomination Brief. It is recommended that the nominee work with the nominator to revise the brief based on the nominee’s completed portfolio. The nomination brief should broadly summarize the documentation presented in the portfolio and support the evaluation criteria upon which the candidate has been nominated. The nomination brief should comprehensively and succinctly justify the nomination and clearly identify how the supporting documents address the nomination.  
  • A statement of teaching approach or philosophy.  
  • A description of innovative teaching, mentoring, leadership practice, or development of educational materials, including examples of how the approach/philosophy has been realized and put into practice 
  • Evidence that demonstrates the impact or value-added that results from the nominee’s teaching innovations and sustained effectiveness over a number of years in innovative teaching, mentoring, educational leadership, and/or development of innovative teaching materials that have enhanced the student learning experience. Mentorship of student learning through involvement in research or practical experience at the institutional, local, or global levels may be included and would strengthen an application. 
  • Letters of support from colleagues and former students. Letters of support should be varied and diverse, consisting of a variety of constituents (former students, faculty, institutional, national, international, other) that can attest to the nominee’s impact and effectiveness in teaching and learning.  Please do not ask for letters from current students.

If submitting as a group, the nomination portfolio must clearly outline and explain the collaborative teaching initiative engaged by a team of faculty members and why the team is applying as a group as opposed to pursuing individual nominations. Group nomination portfolios should also provide the selection committee with a clearly articulated vision, philosophy, and approach shared by the group, and how this vision has been realized and put into practice, with sustained evidence of impact and effectiveness. Group nomination portfolios should provide context for the collaborative teaching initiative and clearly articulate how it has contributed to advancing a culture of innovation and excellence in teaching and learning at McMaster.

Nomination portfolios must be submitted no later than March 31st, 2021. Electronic nomination portfolios should be submitted to mi@mcmaster.ca 

The Selection Committee is approved by the President and will normally include the following members 

  • Chair: Appointed by the President  
  • One faculty member, external to McMaster  
  • One faculty member, internal to McMaster 
  • Two previous teaching and learning award recipients (i.e. President’s Award, OCUFA, 3M, D2L) 
  • One student representative  
  • One representative from the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching (non-voting position).  

The Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching are available to assist nominators in developing a nomination brief and nominees in developing a nomination portfolio.

To book a consultation, or for direction to further resources, please contact Jennifer Blaney: blaney@mcmaster.ca or submit a “Request for Support” at the MacPherson Institute