Teaching Excellence Award

Applications open: Monday, January 11, 2021

Applications close: Monday, February 8, 2021


Award Overview

The Teaching Excellence Award (TEA) recognizes graduate and professional students that exemplify excellence in teaching across all ASU campuses. The award aims at fostering and rewarding efficient and successful teaching through peer-reviewer evaluations.

Who is eligible?
Teaching assistants/associates or instructors involved in formal teaching (i.e. delivering lectures or similar) at any ASU campus are eligible for the Teaching Excellence Award. This includes lab or classroom TAs (with formal teaching responsibilities besides grading and proctoring exams), course instructors (classroom based, hybrid, or online), graduate student Faculty Associate (FA), or session leader holding a consistent teaching schedule. TAs with student interaction limited to helping students during office hours, via e-mail or lab hours as opposed to formal teaching are ineligible. All candidates must have a teaching assignment for Spring 2021 semester. This year we will expand applications to accept all three sessions: Sessions A, C and B. For teaching assistants in session B, please note that you must apply before the February 8, 2021 deadline. If session B applications are advanced to in-class evaluations, they will be evaluated during the first two weeks of session B class.
*Applicants can only receive each award once during the completion of their academic degree. Previous TEA recipients are not eligible to receive the award.

What is the prize?
Winners of the Teaching Excellence Award receive a $750 prize, GPSA-endorsed certificate for Teaching Excellence, recognition on GPSA website and GPSA newsletter.
*The prize amount is taxed for International Students.


The Application Process

1. Apply January 11- February 8, 2021 by 11:59 PM Arizona MST

  • All applicants must submit a completed online application (which consists of questions on essential educational topics such as engaging the class, providing feedback, and dealing with learning difficulties) through ZoomGrants (GPSA Awards Program) by September 16, 2020. Consult with the Applicant Rubric (below) when completing the application. Within the application, applicants provide 3 dates for in-class evaluations during which the applicant must teach in a formal capacity (such as deliver lectures and/or interact with students in a teaching capacity). These lectures must fit within the class evaluation period from February 15 – March 24, 2021
  • Important note: Because we evaluate applications through a blind review process, please make sure your name does not appear on the ZoomGrants application (only your initials, such as J.S. for John Smith) or on any of the documents. If necessary, blackout your name from headers, listed publication titles, events, etc. If your name appears, your application will be disqualified. No exceptions will be made.

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Applicant Rubric


2. In-Class Evaluations (Sessions A and C): February 15 – March 24

  • Reviewers observe the applicants’ classes for the final evaluation of the applicants’ teaching. Applicants must ensure to play an active teaching role (such as delivering lectures and/or interacting with students in a teaching capacity) during the provided dates for reviewers to assess the applicants’ teaching. Changes in the provided dates must be notified at least 48 hours prior to class observations.
  • Office hours and e-mails are not eligible for observations.
  • Online instructors/TAs only: Provide access to discussion boards and lecture videos
  • The evaluation criteria (detailed in Applicant Rubric above) include but are not limited to:
    • Classroom/session organization and content
    • Instructor/TA presentation
    • Instructor/TA-student interaction
    • Effective use of materials and media

3. Zoomgrants Evaluations:  February 15 – March 24

  • Reviewers evaluate, in a blind review process, their assigned applications on Zoomgrants according to the applicant scoring rubric

4. Winners Notified by: April 14, 2021

  • The Awards Committee reaches the final decisions based on the scores of both online applications and class observations.
  • GPSA will promptly email award letters to the winners.
  • Winners are awarded a $750 prize and a GPSA-endorsed teaching excellence certificate at the prestigious GPSA Awards Ceremony in Spring 2020.  


Become a Reviewer

We are looking for graduate students to serve as reviewers for the Teaching Excellence Award Program. Reviewers are key players in recognizing outstanding and diligent graduate student teaching.

Who is eligible?

Graduate students across all ASU campuses (including online students) are eligible to apply. If you wish to apply for the Spring 2020 TEA or any other GPSA Awards offered in Spring 2020, please do not apply to be a reviewer.

What are the benefits?

  • Grant programs such as GPSA Research and Travel Grants look for community service in their applicants. Your community service as a reviewer will help with your own funding applications.
  • Reviewer Certificate upon successful completion of BOTH Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 review periods.
  • GPSA Recognition for use with your online professional portfolio.
  • Peer-review experience a plus, especially for careers in academia, publishing and scientific research.
  • Exclusive reviewer social, opportunities to win goodies and connect with fellow graduate students.

How to apply?

If you would like to be a Reviewer, please fill out the Reviewer Interest form here. Once you complete the mandatory online training, you will be ready to serve as a reviewer.


For application or reviewer questions, please contact us at gpsa.awards@gmail.com 



The Teaching Excellence Award, Outstanding Research Award, or Outstanding Mentor Award programs are run by the Office of Professional Development, overseen by Nivedita Mahesh the Vice President of Professional Development and Marisol Juarez Rivera the Director of Awards. The VPPD, Director of Awards and awards peer-reviewers are not eligible to receive the award.


Brief History

TEA was re-established after a hiatus during the first GPSA Legislative Assembly (2003-2004) by then-GPSA President Brian Collier. (The program was formerly run by undergraduates to recognize their best TAs.) During each of its first two years, 15 excellent graduate student instructors were recognized. In 2005-2006 the program expanded to 22 awardees, partially as a result of the increasing number of truly excellent graduate instructors and TAs and partially as a result of expanding the nomination period to both fall and spring. Since that time, no fewer than 20 awards have been bestowed each year. While the monetary awards given to winners are modest, the recognition for excellent teaching from peers and students is immeasurable. We hope that the program helps to spark increasing efforts at innovative, highly effective teaching and learning. Moreover, those who become involved with the program often regard it as one of the most rewarding activities in which they take part with GPSA.

Past Award Recipients

Please select an award year: 2017-2018 | 2014-2015 | 2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-20122010-2011 | 2009-2010 | 2008-2009 | 2007-2008