Graduate Student Principal Instructor Teaching Awards

The purpose of these awards is to recognize graduate student instructors who are especially skillful and dedicated teachers. Any graduate student Principal Instructor at the University of Alberta is eligible for these awards. Only University of Alberta courses that were taught as a Principal Instructor during a graduate student's current academic program (as a graduate student of the University of Alberta) will be considered.

Three awards valued at $1000 each may be conferred annually. These awards are funded by the Graduate Student Support Fund (GSSF).

Nominations for the 2021 GSA Recognition Awards are now closed. The nomination period for the 2022 GSA Recognition Awards will open in December 2021

Students should familiarize themselves with the Recognition Awards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and GSA Bylaw and Policy on Recognition Awards prior to submitting their nominations.


All current graduate students, who have held a Principal Instructor teaching role at any point during their current degree program, are eligible (eg. a 4th year PhD student, who taught as a Principal Instructor during their 2nd year, can apply for the 2021 Graduate Student Principal Instructor Teaching Awards for their previous work).

Nomination Packages

Nominees must submit 1 copy of the completed nomination package for each Recognition Award for which they are submitting a nomination. All components of the nomination package must be received together by the GSA office in order for a nomination package to be considered complete. All materials must be submitted as a completed nomination package in the form of one PDF via e-mail to

A completed nomination package must include ONLY the following components and no others:

  1. Completed Nomination Information Form.
  2. Two letters of support that address how the nominee meets the criteria stated under Adjudication: Criteria.
    • At least one of the letters must be written by a student taught by the nominee.
    • Letters must be signed; electronic signatures are acceptable.
    • Letters must be submitted by the nominee as part of the complete nomination package; letters sent separately will not be accepted.
  3. Copies of Teaching Evaluation Summaries.
    • In the event evaluations from the department are not available, a letter from the department confirming the teaching activities and, where possible, any evaluations of the student as a Principal Instructor must be provided.
  4. A condensed CV that includes Principal Instructor activities undertaken during the nominee's current degree program. Maximum four (4) pages.
  5. Enrollment Verification Document. This can be printed from Bear Tracks. (See the Frequently Asked Questions for instructions.)
Late or Incomplete Nomination Packages
  • Incomplete packages will not be accepted or adjudicated.
  • Nomination packages received that are time-stamped after the nomination deadline will be considered late and will not be accepted or adjudicated.
  • Nomination packages will be considered incomplete without any of the components listed above and will not be accepted or adjudicated. Letters will not be accepted separately.
    • Advise your letter writers that letters submitted after the nomination deadline will not be accepted. Based on our past experiences with late letters of support, we encourage nominees to obtain letters of support well in advance of the deadline to ensure the nomination package is complete. We also strongly advise that nominees inform letter writers of the deadline information.


The Graduate Student Principal Instructor Teaching Awards are adjudicated on the basis of three (3) criteria:

  1. Quality of teaching evaluations;
  2. Effort to build a constructive rapport with students; and
  3. Evidence of dedication to teaching and students.

Each criterion will be ranked on a scale of 1-5 (5 being high) and then added to determine the total rank for the nominee.

Policy and Procedure
  1. Nominations will be reviewed by the GSA staff for eligibility and completeness (see Eligibility Criteria and Nomination Information above).
  2. According to its mandate, the GSA Awards Selection Committee (GSA ASC) "is responsible for selecting the recipients of the Council-approved GSA Recognition Awards" and "the GSA ASC may decide not to give out an award in a particular category if a qualified candidate is not identified" (Section O: GSA Recognition Awards, GSA Policy, GSA Standing Committees, GSA Awards and Selection Committee, Sections O.POL.5.1 and O.POL.5.2).
  3. Results of the adjudication will be sent to nominees via email.