UWM Teaching Fellow Award

The UWM Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School are pleased to welcome submissions for the 2023 Teaching Fellow Award.

The award is open to currently enrolled UWM graduate students who have achieved outstanding success as students and teachers. Teaching Fellows receive a $1,000 award and serve at CETL’s 2023 New TA Orientation, which annually welcomes 200-250 new TAs from across the university.

Ideal candidates are those who have taught successfully at UWM, who convey enthusiasm for teaching, and who will serve as good role models for new TAs. Applicants do not need to be current TAs.

The application deadline is April 28, 2023 at 11:59pm CDT. To apply, submit the following via Qualtrics:

  1. A completed application form (Qualtrics)
  2. A single PDF comprised of the required application materials (see below)

Winners will be announced in mid May.

Please email Lane Sunwall at sunwall@uwm.edu with any further questions about the application process.


Application Qualifications

  • Awardee must be a current or registered UWM graduate student and have served as a TA at least one semester at UWM.
  • Past winners of this fellowship are ineligible for this and future Teaching Fellow Awards. However, previous applicants are welcome to apply again.
  • Awardee must be available to assist at the virtual day-long New TA Orientation: Tuesday, August 29, 2023.


Application Process

Applicants must submit a completed application via Qualtrics: Link to Qualtrics Application.

As part of the Qualtrics Application, applicants must submit a Application Materials Packet, comprising a single PDF and adhering to the following instructions.

The Application Materials Packet must be submitted as one PDF labeled as follows:

[Applicant Last Name, Applicant First Name – 2023 Fellow Application] As an example: “Smith Charlie – 2023 Fellowship Application”

All materials within this PDF must be compiled in the following order:

    • Personal Statement
    • Letter of Recommendation
    • Proposal for a one-hour training session for new TAs
    • Additional evidence of teaching excellence

Continue reading for a description of each portion of the Application Materials Packet.


Personal Statement (750 word max)

The personal statement should help the committee better understand you as a teaching assistant, and how teaching aligns with your long-term career goals. You can add any information you feel pertinent, but keep in mind the five Applicant Qualities listed below.

In addition, statements should respond to one of the following prompts. Make sure to provide evidence (e.g. specific examples, student reports, anecdotal evidence, improved performance on assignments, etc.).

    • Describe a time you failed in the classroom and what actions you took to improve your teaching afterwards. How did those actions impact your students’ learning experience? OR
    • Describe a time you helped someone else (or a group of others) improve their teaching.

Applicant Qualities:

    1. Passionate Teachers: Applicants should have a love of learning and helping students learn, while demonstrating a sustained commitment to pedagogy and teaching excellence.
    2. Effective Teachers: Applicants should have a proven track record of implementing effective, learner-centered, and innovative teaching methods at UWM.
    3. Excellent Facilitators: Applicants should know how to effectively guide learning through thoughtful questioning, rapport building, and active listening.
    4. Skilled Communicators: Applicants should be attentive, timely, empathetic, and thoughtful in their communications with students. Furthermore, they should be able to explain these practices to others.
    5. Experienced Trainers: Applicants should have a proven track record of working with and helping other teachers, and/or be committed to improving teaching on campus beyond their own classroom.


Letter of Recommendation from faculty/staff member(s) (2-page max.)

Only one letter is allowed, but it may be co-written or signed by multiple writers.

The Letter of Recommendation should speak to the applicant’s qualifications. Letters of Recommendation that include specific examples will be looked on more favorably.


Proposal for a one-hour training session for New TAs (300 word max)

This proposal should provide an overview of a one-hour training session that applicants will provide for new TAs at the CETL 2023 New TA Orientation.

This overview should contain the following:

    • Learning objectives for the session. Your objectives should be able to complete the following: “By the end of the session, session attendees will be able to…”
    • Outline of the session, which will include how the presenter will engage the audience (e.g., media, discussion, collaborative pairs, collaboration, etc.)

The following are ideas for presentation topics; they are not exhaustive:

    • Idea or experience important to the higher education community
    • Lessons learned from teaching (how and why an idea succeeded or failed)
    • Ideas or information you know now that you wished you would have known when you started as a TA

Proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria:

    • Relevance of topic: Is the topic of relevance, importance, value, and/or interest to beginning instructors at UWM?
    • Proposed topic coverage: Does the proposed session align with the stated learning objectives or outcomes?
    • Presenter knowledge: Do the presenters have sufficient knowledge, expertise, and authority to address this topic based on evidence provided in the application?
    • Engagement strategies: Does the proposal explain the methods used to actively engage participants, and is it informed by principles of universal design?


Additional evidence of teaching excellence (2-page max.)

This can take many forms, and the following list is not exhaustive:

    • Descriptions or examples of impactful classroom activities, such as novel course materials
    • Descriptions or accounts of the applicant’s contributions to their home department’s teaching excellence–such as leadership or support.
    • Descriptions of involvement in pedagogy-focused workshops or teacher training
    • Student evaluations, evaluation summaries, student comments