We have provided a combination of video resources and textual information to assist with understanding the processes of applying for an Award.
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.
Applying for a second time after an unsuccessful first attempt.
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: http://adm.monash.edu/human-resources/performance-development/academic/standards/index.html
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 http://www.reap.ac.uk/home.aspx
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:
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.
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:
Addressing Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning selection criteria
These are awarded to projects/services initiated by curriculum teams, groups or organisational units.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.