Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching Assistants

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The University at Buffalo has a long tradition and a firm commitment to providing all of its students with instruction of the highest quality. The instruction delivered by graduate students who serve as teaching or graduate assistants, or as instructors, is a critical element of that institutional commitment.

The Excellence in Teaching Award for graduate teaching assistants is awarded by the Graduate School, in recognition of exceptional ability in teaching by UB graduate students. Students will be selected based on superb and creative performance in the classroom or laboratory, engagement with mentoring and advisement, and a commitment to the high academic standards in teaching.

Please email completed nomination packets to Monica Carter (mjcarter@buffalo.edu) by Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at 5 p.m.


  1. The nominee must be a current, full-time UB graduate student.
  2. The nominee must not have been previously nominated.
  3. The nominee must have been involved in teaching at UB for the equivalent of at least one academic year (does not have to be during consecutive semesters).
  4. The nominee must be enrolled in the spring 2019 semester.

Teaching assistants who supervise laboratory sections, recitation sections or their own courses are equally eligible.

The Nomination Process

Nomination packets must not exceed 30 pages in length, not including UB course evaluations.

Any member of the faculty may initiate a nomination. Self-nominations are strongly discouraged.

The nomination process will be coordinated at the decanal level. Please contact your academic dean’s office for information regarding the due date by which that office must receive nomination packets.

Academic deans should submit all nomination packets. Each nomination needs to be a single, integrated PDF file containing all required documents. Please email completed nomination packets to Monica Carter (mjcarter@buffalo.edu) by Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, at 5 p.m.

The Nomination Packet

The following must be provided by the candidate's sponsor:

1. Nomination form/cover sheet (found in the nomination packet materials).

2. Selection criteria form (found in the nomination packet materials). The candidate’s sponsor should clearly address how the candidate’s performance specifically fulfills each of the following award selection criteria.

  • Teaching skill. The nominee must perform superbly and creatively in the classroom or laboratory (evidence from quantitative assessments of teaching and/or summaries of qualitative evaluations and course materials).
  • Mentorship/advisement. The nominee must be concerned with the intellectual growth of individual students, must measurably facilitate their growth and must help students achieve academic excellence (evidence of accessibility outside of the classroom and a description of mentoring/advising activities and effectiveness in UB course evaluations and the candidate’s personal statement).
  • Academic standards and requirements. The nominee must set high standards for students (evidence from duties and responsibilities, course materials presented, degree of course difficulty).

3. Copy of candidate’s current unofficial transcript.

4. Course information, to include the following:

  • A one page “at-a-glance” listing of the nominee’s teaching history. This should include the semester, name of course taught and the number of students enrolled in each course.
  • A specific description of the candidate’s teaching role and duties in each course/section.
  • An indication of the candidate’s responsibilities for grading.
  • Faculty observations. First-hand commentary from sponsors and other faculty members who have witnessed a candidate’s in-class performance. Place the candidate’s work in an appropriate professional, disciplinary and/or pedagogical context.
  • Up to two testimonials from a candidate’s own students using the Student Testimonial Form for each. Testimonials that address the selection criteria of teaching skill, mentorship/advisement, and academic standards and requirements are most helpful.
  • At the end of the packet, please include all UB course evaluation summary reports, both quantitative and qualitative, negative and positive. Do not submit raw data. The committee will not be able to perform individual calculations to understand the raw numbers associated with student evaluations. Negative comments round out the picture of a candidate’s total performance.

The following must be provided by the candidate:

1. Personal statement. The candidate should submit a two-page, double-spaced statement describing the following:

  • Teaching approaches in the classroom or laboratory.
  • Philosophy of mentoring/advising and methods used to mentor/advise individual students.
  • Academic standards and requirements, including methods used to evaluate student performance and the reason those methods were selected.

2. Course information. The candidate should include a syllabus summary for up to two courses or laboratories taught, only if the candidate created the syllabus. Please include the following:

  • A course description, course materials and methods of evaluation and assessment.
  • A description of the candidate’s responsibilities (design of experiments, design of case studies, design of PowerPoint or other presentations, etc.) for the course(s).
  • A short description of any innovative or extraordinary aspects of the course(s) adopted to improve students’ educational experiences.

Do not include grade distribution information or testimonials from fellow graduate students. Nomination packages must not exceed 30 pages in length, not including UB course evaluations.

Previous Winners

Year Winners
2017-2018 Katie Badura, organization and human resources
Miranda Bobrowski, psychology
Seth Cosimini, English
Andi Coulter, English
Kim Farr, biological sciences
Kelsey Habla, architecture
Jeremy Lakoff, English
Alex Marchenko, chemistry
David Strittmatter, history
Jared Strohl, sociology
2016-17 Mohamed Abdelhamid, management science and systems
Sarah Blakely-McClure, psychology
Rebecca Etkin, psychology
Matthew Herzog, comparative literature
Veronica Lamarche, psychology
Michelle Linder, chemistry
Braden Linn, social work
Ariane Nomikos, philosophy
Genevieve Oliveira, Romance languages and literatures
Thomas St. Pierre, linguistics
2015-16 Micaela Barker, architecture
Anne Marie Butler, transnational studies
Alireza Farasat, industrial and systems engineering
Hans Harmsen, anthropology
Dustin McCall, chemistry
Leslie Nickerson, English
Katharina Pabst, linguistics
Tim Pruitt, psychology
Courtney Rice, psychology
Davide Salvo, classics
Dijana Savija, Romance languages and literatures
2014-15 Tanja N. Aho, transnational studies
Shayani Bhattacharya, English
Tanya E. Farnung-Morrison, Romance languages and literatures
Julie C. Gass, psychology
Phillip Guingona, history
Kimberly E. Kamper, psychology
Shosuke Kinugawa, English
Melanie M. Mayberry, anthropology
Scott T. Ptak, geography
Georgios Sklivanitis, electrical engineering
Timothy Tittiris, chemistry
Stacia R. Wegst-Uhrich, chemistry
2013-14 William R. Calabrese, psychology
Samuel S. Copeland, geography
Mary M. Flaherty, psychology
Sara M. Gutmann, English
Morani Kornberg-Weiss, English
Dylan McLean, political science
Erikson G. Neilans, psychology
Catherine A. Nolan, philosophy
Mehwish Sarwari, political science
Allison R. Siehnel, English
Kevin E. Siters, chemistry
Katelyn K. Thomas, psychology