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UniSA Awards for Teaching Excellence

The UniSA Awards for Teaching Excellence recognize and reward educators renowned for the excellence of their teaching, who have outstanding presentation skills and who have made a broad and deep contribution to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching at the University of South Australia. Awardees demonstrate leadership through their sustained commitment to innovation, delivery of quality teaching and sustained dedication to improving the student experience and learning outcomes.

Each Award recipient (individual or team) receives $5,000.


  • Open to all staff with teaching or teaching/research appointments (full-time or fractional; continuing or fixed-term contract)
  • Where the application is for a Team, at least one member of the team must fulfil the criterion above
  • Teams may be of any size
  • Applicants, whether as a team or individuals, may not apply concurrently for the Awards for Teaching Excellence and another UniSA Teaching Award (e.g. Citation)
  • The Early Career category is open to staff with no more than five years of experience teaching in a higher education setting. The five years can be non-sequential and must be counted on a 'semester basis'. This includes all tutoring and part-time teaching
  • Recipients of the Award for Teaching Excellence can reapply for the Awards for Teaching Excellence in later years, only if they can demonstrate significantly different achievements in later years
  • Unsuccessful applicants for the Awards for Teaching Excellence can reapply in later years


  • Applicants must seek agreement from their Executive Dean (or equivalent) to apply for an Award for Teaching Excellence. The Dean of Programs (or equivalent) signature on the application form indicates their endorsement.
  • Applications are made by individual staff members or teams.


There are two categories of UniSA Awards for Teaching Excellence:

  • Unit based
  • Early career


Under their chosen category, applicants for Awards for Teaching Excellence will be assessed on evidence they provide in relation to each of the following four sub-categories:

1. Approaches to teaching and the support of learning that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn

This may include:

  • fostering student development by stimulating curiosity and independence in learning
  • participating in effective and empathetic guidance and advice for students
  • assisting students from equity and other demographic subgroups to participate and achieve success in their courses
  • encouraging student engagement through the enthusiasm shown for learning and teaching
  • inspiring and motivating students through effective communication, presentation and interpersonal skills
  • enabling others to enhance their approaches to learning and teaching
  • developing and/or integrating assessment strategies to enhance student learning
  • provision of support services that improve the student experience and enable learning
  • evaluating the quality of programs and activities including consideration of past and current student feedback to support student learning

2. Development of curricula, resources or services that reflect a command of the field

This may include:

  • developing and presenting coherent and imaginative resources for student learning
  • implementing research-led approaches to learning and teaching
  • demonstrating up-to-date knowledge of the field of study in the design of the curriculum and the creation of resources for learning
  • communicating clear objectives and expectations for student learning
  • providing support to those involved in the development of curricula and resources
  • contributing professional expertise to enhance curriculum or resources
  • evaluating the quality of curriculum, resources or services

3. Effective assessment practices that bring about improvements in student learning, may have a focus on academic integrity or digital solutions or any assessment strategies that bring about change

This may include:

  • showing advanced skills in assessment/alternative assessment practices
  • using a variety of assessment strategies to bring about change
  • adapting assessment methods to different contexts and diverse student needs and learning styles
  • contributing professional expertise to the field of assessment in order to improve program design and delivery
  • dissemination and embedding of good practice identified through evaluation
  • evaluating the quality of the assessment practices

4. Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience

This may include:

  • participating in and contributing to professional activities related to learning and teaching
  • innovations in service and support for students; coordination, management and leadership of courses and student learning
  • conducting and publishing research related to teaching
  • demonstrating leadership through activities that have broad influence on the profession
  • providing innovative learning and teaching for different contexts, including technology enhanced environments, for large and small class sizes and/or to meet the needs of a diverse student cohort
  • influencing the overall academic, social and cultural experience of higher education
  • evaluating the feasibility of the innovation or the quality of leadership that enhances learning and teaching and/or influence student experience

Assessment Criteria

For each category, applicants are required to address all the following criteria:

  1. Positively impacted on student learning, student engagement or the overall student experience for a period of no less than three years (two years for early career), not including time taken for development or trial of any activity.
  2. Gained recognition from colleagues, the institution, and/or the broader community.
  3. Shown creativity, imagination or innovation, irrespective of whether the approach involves traditional learning environments or technology-based developments
  4. Drawn on the scholarly literature on teaching and learning to inform the development of initiatives, programs and/or practice.

Evidencing your contribution

The four sub-categories will be given equal consideration by the Grants and Awards Panel.

In addressing the criteria, applicants are required to make a case that is strongly supported by a diverse range of evidence. It is recommended that the qualitative and quantitative data are from an extensive range of formal and informal sources, including nominee’s self-reflection, student learning, student experience and evidence of institutional, peer and stakeholders’ interactions.

Student voices, through examples and quotations, can convey a cogent account of their experiences.

Each criterion is weighted evenly.

The Grants and Awards Panel may contact applicants and/or referees for clarification or further information.

In assessing the evidence supporting Early Career nominations, consideration will be given to the career stage of the nominee.

Essential documentation

The following items must be submitted in support of the application:

  1. Application cover sheet: UniSA Awards for Teaching Excellence: application cover sheet (Word 45kb - opens in a new window)

  2. Written statement (8 pages) The core element of an application for an Award for Teaching Excellence is a written statement in which applicants describe their teaching activities and achievements, and specifically address each of the five selection criteria. The written statement is limited to eight A4 pages in total (11 point type in Arial or Calibri, margins at a minimum of 2cm). Material in excess of this limit will not be considered by the Selection Panel. The use of a column (newspaper) format is unacceptable.

  3. Supporting teaching materials (up to 2): Selection is based primarily on the written statement addressing the selection criteria. However, selected teaching materials supporting claims made against the selection criteria must be included.
    The relevance of any such material must be made clear in the written statement.
    Supporting teaching materials are limited to a maximum of two of:
    1. Website (provide the URL)
    2. Three minutes of audio, video or other media files in commonly accessible formats (e.g. .WAV, .AIF, .MP3, .MID, .MPG, .MOV,. WMV, .RM). This might include footage of the team in action, interviews with team or students). (Provide a URL.)
    3. The equivalent of 10 pages of printed materials in PDF (additional pages will be removed)
  1. Curriculum Vitae: The curriculum vitae should outline the applicant's educational qualifications, employment history, teaching positions held and teaching experience. The curriculum vitae should be no longer than three A4 pages for individual applications. Teams may allow for one additional page per team member, that is a team of three may have five pages (three plus two). Pages in excess of this limit will be removed. The font must be either 11 pt Arial or 11 pt Calibri.

  2. Letters of reference:
    • Two references of no more than one A4 page each, to be provided by those able to comment on the applicant's teaching performance against the selection criterion.
    • One of the referees must be either the applicant's Dean of Programs or Head of institute, administration or unit.
      Applicants are encouraged to provide a referee external to UniSA who can comment on the wider impact of the program.
    • If the application is from a team, the references should apply to the team.
    • Referee reports must be on letterhead and signed by the referee. Electronic signatures are acceptable.

Note that the written statement should have three components, presented in this order:

  1. Synopsis (150-200 words written in the third person) which must cover the applicant's teaching area or discipline, teaching experience, the particular focus of their teaching, teaching methods, and their research/teaching interests.
  2. Overview (generally 1 to 1.5 pages). The overview provides the opportunity for applicants to commence the written statement with a focus on the specific character of their teaching and achievements. It is recommended that the overview be no more than one page and include the applicant's educational philosophy and beliefs, a description of the teaching context and an integrated summary of the claims relating to the selection criteria. 
  3. A statement addressing each selection criterion:
    • Approaches to teaching and the support of learning that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn
    • Development of curricula, resources or services that reflect a command of the field
    • Effective assessment practices that bring about improvements in student learning, focusing on academic integrity or digital solutions, or any assessment strategies that bring about change
    • Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience.

The majority of the written statement should be devoted to addressing each of the four criteria in turn.

Applicants must provide evidence in support of their claims against these criteria.

How to apply

Upload the Essential Documentation above via this UniSA Awards for Teaching Excellence Online Form by the application deadline 9am Tuesday 4 October 2022 Please note the final deadline for submission has been extended to 9am, Monday 10 October 2022.

You can submit your application as a single compiled document (preferred) with components in the order above, or up to 6 separate files (word or pdf).

Title your file: NAME_2022_ATE.docx or .pdf, where NAME is your family name or the team name. Append a number if submitting multiple files (eg NAME_2022_ATE_1.pdf)

You can preview a copy of the online form (160 kb PDF, opens in a new window)

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