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Awards Resources

We have provided a combination of video resources and textual information to assist with understanding the processes of applying for an Award.

General Advice:

The following videos from previous Vice-Chancellor and ALTC (now Office for Learning and Teaching "OLT") award winners will touch on a variety of topics, some of which include: Why I applied - the impacting of winning? - The value of applying - Collecting evidence - The writing process - Using Evidence - General Advice - Having a theme - Writing an application for impact and A teaching award is a learning award.

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington - ALTC Grant Winner and ALTC Teaching Excellence/Prime Minister's Award Winner

Dr Simon Angus - VC/ALTC Citation Winner

Professor Stephen Barkoczy - ALTC Teaching Excellence/Prime Minister's Award Winner

Dr Ian Larson - Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Winner

Anne Turner - ALTC Citation Winner (Team Award)

Associate Professor Angela Carbone - ALTC Teaching Excellence/Prime Minister's Award Winner

Dr Julia Harrison - ALTC Citation Winner

Dr Elizabeth Yuriev - ALTC Citation Winner

Applying for a second time after an unsuccessful first attempt.

Dr Jane Tracy - ALTC Citation Winner

Professor Catriona McLean - ALTC Citation Winner

Dr Susan Edwards - ALTC Teaching Excellence Winner

Collecting Evidence

What counts as evidence of your contribution and effectiveness as an educator?   A prime resource is the Monash Education Performance Standards for levels A-E.  The Academic Performance Standards for Education, Research and Service for each Level which can be found at:

In addition, forms of appropriate evidence are listed under each of the selection criterion for which they might be appropriately used.  See the section on "Addressing the five citation/teaching excellence award selection criteria" below.

Addressing the five citation/teaching excellence award selection criteria

1 - Approaches to learning and teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn.

This criterion asks you to discuss how you engage students in your Units with the content of your discipline and incite their curiosity or desire to learn.   To address it, you will want to tell the reader what teaching philosophy drives you and develop one or two detailed examples of how you have done this in your classroom or in various units of study.


Forms of evidence that can be used to demonstrate or indicate the reliability of your claims include:

  • SETU unit evaluation data - quantitative, qualitative Record the response rate as people will be interested to see this to assess the data you present.
  • Monquest data - quantitative, qualitative Monquest was the student evaluation of teaching available until close of Semester 2, 2010.  Record sources of feedback and particularly for statistical data. Indicate the number of students (enrolment) and response rates in any/each set of data.
  • student comments/testimonials - Available from SETU Unit evaluations, or unsolicited emails.  These comments, which must be de-identified, provide evidence of positive impact of the course on them as learners.  You may also use unsolicited emails or comments derived from specific surveys or student journals.
  • samples of student work that demonstrate learning.  Once again you will need to adhere to privacy and copyright policies and get written permission from the student.
  • student assessment results eg. pass and failure rates, proportionate increases in your students achieving distinction or high distinction.
  • number of hits on your website.
  • number of student posts in a discussion forum (to indicate student engagement in learning communities, for example).
  • School of Faculty records showing strong or improving enrolment, retention and completion rates in a unit across a period of no less than two years.
  • student progression to Honours/post graduate programs.
  • personal letters of congratulations from the Vice Chancellor for unit being in the top X% of units.
  • teaching awards.

Note: listen to the video on this topic.

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

Under this criterion you would address how you have contributed to writing or re-designing a new Unit or program of study.  Ask yourself:

  • What problems or issues was the course design/curriculum designed to address?
  • Why did you decide to design it a certain way? (Tell us about the decisions you took)
  • How did you believe it would engage or benefit your particular range of students?
  • How is it innovative?
  • Is it an effective collaborative design or implementation of a cross-faculty, cross-campus or team-taught course? Provide details
  • Did it link to Monash programs like Passport II or to Monash graduate attributes or enhance employability skills or preparedness for work? If so, how?
  • Did it recognise and extend student aspirations, align with Faculty strengths or priorities or a change in external contexts (eg. a new accreditation requirement, or national or international trend in the field, or new national research or learning and teaching priority)?  If so, how?
  • Can you show effective engagement of professional or industry partners to develop, implement and evaluate relevant courses of study?
  • Did it involve the design and/or delivery of student volunteering, service, mobility or leadership program or Peer Assisted Learning opportunities? If so, how?
  • Did it involve design and successful implemention of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) units or activities that encourage students to engage with contexts outside of the University (eg. industry visits and execursions, engagement with commercial documents and other materials relevant to practice?  If so, how?


Detailed discussions about the above will evidence your claims.   Other forms of evidence that can be used to demonstrate or indicate the reliability of your claims include:

  • student comments/testimonials - available from SETU Unit evaluations.
  • samples of student work that demonstrate effective learning using your resources.   You will need to adhere to privacy and copyright policies and get written permission from the student.
  • iTunes or YouTube video screenshots for online resources you have created.
  • invited presentations.
  • teaching awards.
  • number of hits on your website created for the course/unit.
  • textbooks as resources.

3 - Approaches to assessment, feedback and learning support that foster independent learning.

The following questions may prompt you to recall and reflect on your activities, and to guide what you write about:

  • How do you conceptualise student feedback on learning?  Describe the nature of the assignments you ask of students.  What were the principles underlying the choice, timing and design of assessment tasks?  Are they innovative?  (If so, how?)
  • How do you help your students to develop the capacity to gain and use feedback on their learning?
  • How do you teach students to judge and critically appraise their own skills and to evaluate/monitor their own learning achievements? (metacognition)
  • How do you make clear your learning intentions, targets, success criteria? Do you provide models? Worked examples?
  • How do you provide students with guidance on 'where do i go next'?
  • Do you/how do you pitch feedback - 1. to the text? 2. To the process of learning error detection strategies? ('eg tell me where you think you went wrong'?) 3. to self-regulation?
  • How do you get students to ask more questions?
  • How do you prepare them to work with and understand the marking criteria/rubrics?
  • What opportunities have you provided for them to develop the skills of critical judgement or evaluation on their learning through reflection, receiving feedback from peers, and from academic staff including yourself?  How do you assist students to become responsible for and manage their own learning, to identify problems early, and seek and gain assistance?
  • How do you ensure timely feedback so that they can use it to improve?
  • Do you provide flexibility or choice in assessment?
  • How do the various forms of assessment address the diverse student cohort you have (if you do) and the kind of knowledge, understandings, attributes and skills you are trying to teach?
  • What supports to learning have you set up - particularly for large enrolment units or multi-campus cohorts?   Have you engaged professional staff to assist?  Tell us how.  Have you evaluated how any support programs are working?  And if so, how have you responded to the student feedback to improve them further?

Useful Resources

David Boud's Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education at DEEWR (ex ALTC) Resources Library.

Re-engineering assessment practices in higher education, University of Strathclyde, 2007, at


Forms of evidence you can use include the detailed examples to answer the questions above.   Other forms that can be used to demonstrate or indicate the reliability of your claims include:

  • peer reviews.
  • unit evaluation scores for providing timely assessment and feedback.
  • trend data showing improved and sustained student performance after the development of formative assessment tasks and the provision of timely and constructive feedback.
  • examples of student creative outputs.
  • unit materials showing the provision of learning activities and assessment tasks that develop student capacities in a logical and achievable fashion and over time.

4 - Respect and support for the development of students as individuals.

The first and second criteria allow you to address how you design and engage cohorts of students in learning.  But no two students are the same.  This fourth criterion asks how you or your curricula/Unit offers flexibility to students to allow for a diversity of motivations, backgrounds, career goals, equity issues, capacities choices, etc.  

It is also the criterion in which you might discuss how you try to understand their experiences in a holistic way, not just what they do in the three hours a week you see them, and how you respond to individual students who seek guidance, advice or mentoring.   Provide de-identified examples of when you have made an impact on someone's decision to, for example, go on to Honours or post-graduate study, to seek Monash accommodation services, not to drop out, or to gain relevant work experience.


  • how you learn or use the names of individual students.
  • discussion of examples illustrating effective collaborative customisation of teaching activities in a cross-campus or international course to enhance the learning outcomes of a cohort.
  • leadership or other positions/activities/responsibilities for transitioning students, engaging students, or academic progress of individuals can be included under this criterion.
  • peer review.

5 - Scholarly activities that have influenced and enhanced learning and teaching.

For many people this criterion is the hardest.  It is different from the others and you may need to make numerous individual paragraphs rather than a few well developed ideas.  Underpinning this criterion is the expectation that after you have been teaching for a while, and developed expertise in learning and teaching, you will start to share your expertise not only with your students but to influence your peers - through a variety of means.  You are therefore broadening the sphere of your influence on learning and teaching - undertaking leadership, in other words.  Under this criterion you might discuss various activities:

  • papers published in teaching or disciplinary education journals.
  • enumerate the invited presentations/papers you have given to faculty/professional groups/organisations/national and international conferences etc. on your teaching or resources that you have created.
  • external competitive grant in the area of higher education and attainment of outcomes/impacts.
  • editorship of journals or organisers of conferences on teaching of your discipline.
  • leadership in teaching and learning internal or external educational research grants.
  • leadership of curriculum renewal in your faculty or program.
  • authorship or contributor to stduent textbook/s or other matrials eg. slides, web pages or creative outputs that are used as prescribed or recommended texts or materials in subjects at other institutions.  Numbers of copies sold or institutions who adopt the text is also valuable (contact your publisher or your royalty statements for these figures).
  • contribution to Graduate Certificate in Teaching.
  • a university or external competitive teaching and learning Fellowship or Office for Learning and Teaching Discipline Scholar appointment.
  • external competitive postdoctoral Fellowship (ARC or NHMRC) in the area of higher education.


Addressing Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning selection criteria

These are awarded to projects/services initiated by curriculum teams, groups or organisational units.

Selection criteria:

1 - Distinctiveness, coherence and clarity of purpose: Extent to which the program has clear objectives and systematic approaches to coordination, implementation and evaluation

Tell the story of the objectives of the program and its development over time. Don’t shy away from using language, examples, or quotes which move the reader to understand the program in terms of its human impact.

How does your program compare to other, similar programs? What differentiates it? What makes it unique? Why is it designed in this unique way? (What’s so good or imaginative about that way of doing it?) Assessors of the application won’t know how other programs are organised so you do need to clarify this aspect. (This point MUST also be included in the synopsis.)

The second aspect of this is to delineate how the program is organised or coordinated.

The third and important aspect is to describe what forms of evaluation have been used over time to assess the effectiveness of the program in achieving its outcomes, and evidence of its impact/ benefits. You will need to include at least three years of data. Use graphs and tables where possible to consolidate and simplify data, and extract essentials from reports which can then be referenced.

2 - Influence on student learning and student engagement: Extent to which the program targets identified needs and directly or indirectly enhances student learning, student engagement and/or the overall student experience of higher education

This criterion is focused on the impact of the program on students – student learning, engagement, the overall experience, progression, etc. Data from program evaluation which creates a picture of this should be put here rather than in criterion 1. (Decisions may have to be made on the distribution of data across these two criteria.)

3 - Breadth of Impact: Extent to which the program has led to widespread benefits for students, staff, the institution, and/or other institutions, consistent with the purpose of the program

This criteria asks you to describe the impact of the program not on student learning/engagement but the wider ripple effects: the benefits to Monash staff (the staff running it and/or others), Monash itself (its reputation and ability to attract new students, for example), any industry or professional partners that may be involved (their ability to fulfil their own missions).

4 - Concern for equity and diversity:  Extent to which the program promotes and supports equity and inclusiveness by improving access, participation and outcomes for diverse student groups.

Under this criterion, discuss how the program caters for students by improving access, participation and success in higher education learning experiences of students with diverse backgrounds such as first-in family, low SES, diverse pathway entrants, language, cultural background, and age, etc. etc.

What makes you 'you'? - Deciding on a Theme.

  • Reflect on your teaching.
  • Think about what is special, innovative or imaginative about what you try to do.
  • Describe how your teaching philosophy drives what you do and why you are successful/make a difference.
  • Describe how you engage with the teaching and learning process, how your approach is appropriate in your teaching context.
  • Describe your development as a teacher, how you have taken on board student and other feedback to improve.

You may find there is a focus: active teaching, Honours, inquiry-based units, community-based assessment, mass education challenges - large class sizes, diverse student body, research-led teaching; new technologies - the knowledge era, internationalisation, graduate attributes/employability skills, problem based learning.  We cannot underestimate the importance of innovation - awards are most often given to people who have come up with something new and exciting in their teaching.

Note: listen to the video on this topic.

What kind of language should I use in my writing?

How does award application language differ from academic writing/ARC grant writing?

  • Use plain English and avoid jargon.
  • Write to a lay audience.   (Readers come from a variety of disciplines so don't make assumptions).
  • It is your experience - not an academic paper.
  • Use the first person "I".  Let your 'passion' for teaching come through.  Having said that, try not to overuse "I".  Focus on how the chief beneficiaries of your teaching approach - the students benefit.   Put students' voices in your written statement to back up your claims.
  • Use a photograph if it helps to explain your techniques/use of technology better.
  • Consider having someone interview you about your teaching and then use your responses as the basis for the application.  It will sound more personal and perhaps present a clearer argument.

Note: listen to the video on this topic.

Ways of writing up your teaching practice.

Tell a story. What do we mean this? The following may give you some pointers.

In the first paragraph, set the context (succinctly) – tell us your faculty/discipline, try to characterise who are your students (eg. 80% international, first year service course, differing prerequisites etc.) Are there particular challenges to teaching your particular cohort/s?

Next, try to encapsulate what is your teaching philosophy and include how it drives what you do and why you are successful/make a difference.  This provides the reader with insight into how you see your role and what motivates your teaching approaches.

You may like to write up your submission in terms of how you initially identified and then responded to an issue which emerged from student feedback or through your analysis of student performance.  If you have introduced something innovative, show the before and after effects in terms of delivery, materials, IT, and support it with evidence of improved student feedback.

Do not feel you should only include the sweet tales of success to show you are an excellent teacher. On the contrary. Including the things that went wrong – the setbacks and challenges – can be effective because good teachers listen to their students and respond to improve the situation – and if you include them, you demonstrate that. Mistakes and setbacks represent significant learning opportunities for you (and the person reading your account).  They may have prompted you as the teacher into the deeper pedagogical issues of what went wrong and why, and they often set you on the road to improve the situation. What changed your thinking? What risks did you take approaching and addressing the problem? (in teaching approaches? managing the team/etc.) Importantly, how did you evaluate if it worked or not (what indicators/evidence did you use?) If you can do this you have 'told a story'.

Perhaps things have not gone wrong exactly in your teaching. That’s fine! Describe the evolution of your teaching approach.   Rarely is a teaching approach perfect the first time.   How have you responded to feedback over time in order to improve? What prompted a change in your thinking and approach?  What issues concerned you? How did you modify your pedagogical approaches, resources etc. over time?

Create a picture in the reader's mind - use examples to illustrate what happens in your class to convey a concept/teach a skill or how you have redesigned curriculum.   If you teach maths, or anatomy, we should get an idea of how you approach teaching, for example, calculus or layers of body structures. Be specific. Don’t just assert that you ‘promote active learning approaches’ (for example), and not show us how by using an example.

Highlight creativity, imagination and innovation. Awards go most often to people who pushing boundaries and whose contribution stands out.

Using Evidence to Demonstrate your Impact:

What evidence you use will depend on what you are trying to demonstrate and the criterion you are addressing. 

Example 1: If you were applying for a citation for improving low SES student engagement and retention, you could look at improved past retention rates for low SES students and compare them over several years to prove 'sustained' contribution to student learning. You could also include as evidence the adoption of your approach by others.

Example 2: To demonstrate high student engagement you could include student testimonials derived from unit evaluations, MonQuest, unsolicited emails or excerpts from student journal entries (with the students' permission). 

Example 3: To demonstrate scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching you could include the textbooks you have written or contributed to (and number of copies sold or institutions who adopt it, if possible), the number and type of invited presentations, as well as number of papers published in learning and teaching journals, editorship of journals etc. (see section on ‘Addressing the criteria’). 

NB. adhere to privacy and copyright policies, eg. Don’t include students' full names/student IDs.

  • State your claim.
  • Use multiple sources of evidence to support those claims.
  • Indicate how you use feedback to drive the direction of improvements to student learning over time.
  • Use feedback and other sources that indicate long-term influence on learning outcomes, eg. student employment, graduate destination statistics, comments from graduates, students who indicate they want to do postgraduate studies with you, etc.
  • Interweave the feedback into your statement as evidence to support your claims.
  • Put data in an accessible form eg. in tables/graphs/percentages.  Interpret it for your reader - do not assume assessors will pore over your table to discern what the data is telling them. Always include your faculty and/or university medians results for the same years so readers can compare your record to see if the results are superior to comparable others.
  • Put students' perspectives or 'voices' in your written statement to back your claims.  Tell how the students benefited from your approach and demonstrate it in their own words. This could come from Monquest or Unit Evaluation comments, emails or you may have surveyed your students.   Interweave the feedback into your application as evidence to support your claims.  

For Teaching Excellence applications particularly, we recommend you summarise the types of evidence your application as a whole draws upon, somewhere on page 1, so that assessors can easily see the variety and extent.
Note: listen to the video on this topic.

Getting Feedback on your Draft:

Ask other people to read your drafts - peers, friends, colleagues, members of the Promoting Excellence Team, Associate Deans Teaching/Education.  As them - can they 'see' you operating in the class/unit, when they read your submission?  Have you built a picture of yourself planning/teaching etc. and of your philosophy of teaching?

We also encourage you to ask colleagues to read your application as a fresh view can pick up inconsistencies in expression and assumptions that you as the writer may overlook. 

Note: listen to the video on this topic.

Wording a Citation:

Citations are limited to 25 words maximum so powerful and concise wording that promotes the strength of your work is vital.  This is not the time to be modest!  As stated by the OLT "The citation wording is to inform the broadest possible audience about the work of the nominee/s.   It is important to avoid jargon, to include the discipline of the nominee or the nature of the support service provided, and the distinctive contribution of the nominee/s".  Examples of how previous winners have worded their citations are on the OLT website at this link.