2020 Call for Nominations

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards

Submit a Nomination

View Award Recipients


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).


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 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 fully as the primary instructor of record or 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 Wednesday, March 4, 2020 to tadev@niu.edu with the subject line "Nomination for 2020 Outstanding TA Awards".

Additional Information

For additional information, please check the Frequently Asked Questions section or contact Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center at 815-753-0595 or tadev@niu.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

open all close all

The criteria applied for selecting award recipients are the nominees' eligibility for the award and the information provided in the "Nominee Information" portion of the Nomination Form. The committee looks for compelling evidence that this TA has exceeded expectations in their teaching or teaching-related support.

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.

If your TA is teaching a course or providing teaching-related support for your academic program/center that is independent of an academic department or school, then you can nominate that TA as a nominee from your program/center for the award.

If your TA does not remember the TA development programs he or she had attended, you can obtain a list of TA development programs your TA had attended at Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center by emailing to tadev@niu.edu at least 2 working days before the nomination deadline. Your TA can also log in to our Event Registration System and view the list of programs he or she had attended.

Along with providing information for all the items in the nomination form 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.
  3. It helps if a nominee has received or has been nominated for departmental/school or college-level teaching awards and has attended/presented teaching-related professional development programs to enhance his or her/others' teaching skills.

A subcommittee of the Faculty Development Advisory Committee, with representatives from all the colleges, reviews the nominations and selects the recipients for the awards.

The review committee has not set a page limit currently for the nomination form. Nominators can edit the nomination form (Word file) and extend the space as necessary for responding to each question in the nomination form. Supporting documents such as student evaluations can be copied and pasted into the Word file or included as attachments to the nomination form.

Award recipients are usually selected and notified by email at least 3 weeks before the Graduate School's Graduate Student Awards Reception in April. Nominators of recipients will also be copied on the email to recipients and a formal letter will be sent after that by campus mail to recipients.

Last Updated: 1/24/2020