Syracuse University

Outstanding TA Award


Call for Nominations


The Graduate School is pleased to announce the 28th annual awards program recognizing Outstanding Teaching Assistants. This program was instituted to recognize Teaching Assistants who have made distinguished contributions to Syracuse University by demonstrating excellence as classroom teachers, laboratory or studio instructors, recitation or discussion section leaders, or assistants to senior faculty members for a high-enrollment course. Nominees must be students in good standing in their programs and making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their graduate degrees and must have completed the Syracuse University TA Orientation program.

Regardless of the number of TAs employed in a given department, the Graduate School encourages the nomination of only truly distinguished candidates. On average, the committee envisions recognizing approximately the top 4% of all TAs campus-wide. No more than one nomination for every ten active TA appointments per department or academic unit can be considered. Students receiving the Outstanding TA Award will hold that distinction permanently and will not be eligible for future nominations.

Nomination Procedure

Given the wide variation in TA responsibilities across campus, academic departments (or other academic unit for schools and colleges not organized by departments) wishing to nominate graduate students for an award will have considerable latitude in establishing selection criteria and a selection process. However, outstanding teaching is not sufficient: it is important that the nominees be making timely progress toward their academic degrees. 

Nominations for the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award must be submitted to the Graduate School Programs office (220 Bowne Hall) by Friday, January 30, 2015.

Nomination materials should include:

A. Letter of nomination from a faculty member in the nominee's academic discipline. This letter should include an overview of the nominee's outstanding service to the department, achievements in teaching, and evidence of progress toward degree. Please also include a brief description of why the candidate should be considered outstanding in the context of your program.

B. Cover letter of endorsement from the department chair (if other than the nominating faculty)

C. Letters of endorsement from other faculty members with whom the nominee may have served as a Teaching Assistant

D. Letters of endorsement from undergraduate students. While not required, the absence of such letters is likely to put the nominee at a disadvantage relative to other candidates; departments are thus encouraged to solicit student letters early in the process.


Portfolio Application Process

Once nominated, it will be necessary for the TA to prepare a portfolio containing evidence of teaching excellence and success as both a graduate student and an instructor. Departments are responsible for notifying TAs of their nomination and making them aware of the portfolio requirement.

The portfolio should include:

  • A table of contents
  • A personal statement/cover letter
  • A statement of teaching philosophy
  • A current CV, including relevant teaching experiences
  • Descriptions of specific teaching responsibilities at Syracuse University
  • Teaching materials (exams, quizzes, or assignments constructed by the nominee and syllabi for recitation sessions, labs, studios, or classes previously taught)
  • Student evaluations (quantitative summaries for all courses TA’ed, one or more complete sets including qualitative data)
  • Reflective statements concerning these teaching experiences, materials, and evaluations
  • Reports of classroom observers (faculty or peers)
  • Any other materials the applicant wishes the selection committee to examine: video recordings of class sessions or presentations, research statements, a sample of work/research, etc.
The deadline for nominees to submit their completed materials is
Friday, February 27, 2015

Optional portfolio information sessions will be held in 218 Bowne Hall on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, February 4, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, February 12, 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Online portfolios (e.g., in WordPress) are encouraged. Nominees submitting hard-copy portfolios are strongly advised to provide a supplemental PDF of the entire document.

An awards presentation and reception will be held in late April. The TAs honored will receive a certificate of merit and a gift, and will be encouraged to invite their faculty advisors to this event.

Please refer any inquiries to Lee Pomeroy,, 315-443-1856

                                          Glenn Wright,,  315-443-3458


    Each year the Graduate School recognizes Teaching Assistants who have made distinguished contributions to Syracuse University by demonstrating excellence as primary instructors, laboratory or studio leaders, recitation instructors, or assistants to senior faculty members for high-enrollment courses. Graduate students are nominated for the award by their departments, and the selection is made by a university-wide committee of faculty recognized for their teaching excellence. The Outstanding TA Award is given to approximately the top 4% of all TAs campus wide.

    Congratulations to the 2014 Winners!

    OTA Winners 2014

    Congratulations to the 2013 winners!


    Congratulations to the 2012 winners!

    OTA Winners 2012