2023-24 Call for Nominations

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards


The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge and recognize outstanding graduate teaching assistants for their contributions to the teaching mission of Northern Illinois University (NIU). These awards will also help to identify individuals who may go on to be an institutional nominee for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award.


Each recipient of the award will be presented with a plaque and recognized at the Graduate Student Reception sponsored by the Graduate School at the end of the spring semester. Usually three to four awards are presented, and at least one of the awards will be presented to an outstanding graduate teaching assistant pursuing a master’s degree at NIU.


To be eligible for this award, each candidate must:

  1. be enrolled as a graduate student in good standing at NIU during the semester the award nominations are due,
  2. have been employed as a graduate teaching assistant for one or more semesters (excluding the semester of nomination) during the past 2 years at NIU,
  3. have been responsible for teaching a course as the primary instructor of record or providing teaching-related support (example: leading discussions, grading, tutoring, recitation, etc.) which involved student contact as part of the graduate teaching assistant employment,
  4. have contributed above and beyond the general expectations of the position,
  5. have not previously received this award at NIU.

Nomination Process and Deadline

Each academic or academic support unit that employs graduate TAs for teaching and related activities is invited to nominate two (2) outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistants, one at the master's level and the other at the doctoral level, from its department/school for the awards. Nominations should be submitted by the head of the academic department/school or designee. Nominators must complete the nomination form for each nominee and email it with any supporting documents by Friday, November 3, 2023 to citl@niu.edu with the subject line "Nomination for 2023-24 Outstanding TA Awards".

Additional Information

For additional information, please check the Frequently Asked Questions section or contact Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at 815-753-0595 or citl@niu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

My school/department has several majors/programs. Can we nominate a TA from each major/program?
No, each school or department can nominate only one TA at the master's level and one TA at the doctoral level. If there are many outstanding graduate teaching assistants in several programs within the department/school, then you may want to select the best one among them and nominate that individual for that award. You may also want to consider offering your own program-level awards to recognize more individuals!
What makes a nomination stand out and improves the nominee's chances for being selected for the award?

Along with providing information for all the items in the nomination form (Word) and clearly indicating that the nominee satisfies the eligibility criteria, the nomination form should provide:

  1. A detailed explanation of nominee’s contributions to teaching above and beyond the general expectations of the TA position, that is, outstanding contributions.
  2. Tangible evidence such as summary of nominee's student evaluations or comments/testimonials from students to support nominee’s outstanding teaching or teaching-related support.
When will the award recipients be selected and how will they be notified?
Award recipients will be selected and notified prior to the end of the semester. If possible, CITL works with the nominator to surprise the recipient while they are in class, during a seminar, or a department meeting. When that is not possible, recipients are notified via phone or email.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595
Email: citl@niu.edu

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