Applying for the National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award

Developing a portfolio can be a daunting process so this page includes a few links that might be useful to you as you develop your own application for a National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.

Please read the instructions in the Call for Applications in detail before preparing a portfolio for consideration.

Each institution can submit only three portfolios, so please liaise with your Teaching and Learning Centre or Executive Management to establish your university’s internal selection process.

In your portfolio, you are expected to describe how you teach (critical reflection on practice) and why you do it in the way that you do (philosophy of teaching). Your portfolio should show some deliberation on the four overlapping areas:

Reflection on Students Who are your students? How does your teaching ensure that all students feel included and are engaged actively in their own learning? How do you get to know what your students bring with them to your classroom? How do you teach in ways that encourage students to participate in knowledge production processes? How do you address problems of student underpreparedness in your curriculum? How does your curriculum structure provide sufficient support for students? How do you develop your students’ capacities and prepare them to be the critical citizens of the future? How does your curriculum and teaching strategies enrich students with exceptional abilities?
Reflection on Context Where does your teaching take place? What are the macro, meso and micro issues that you take into account in your teaching? How do your curriculum decisions and teaching approaches reflect the geographical, historical and social context of your classroom? In what ways does your context enable or constrain how you teach and assess? How do you integrate pertinent local and topical issues into your curriculum? What are the institutional, student body, professional, national and international contextual issues that affect your teaching and learning context? How does your curriculum address concerns affecting the planet? What changes have you made to the curriculum to ensure it addresses your context? How does your teaching promote a consciousness/awareness of the global context?
Reflection on Knowledge What is your discipline / profession and what are its key features? What aspects of the course or programme do your students battle with and how have you addressed this through your teaching approach? How do your teaching and assessment approaches ensure that the practices of the discipline and/or profession become accessible to all? In what ways does your teaching allow students to have access to the discipline? What do you do to make sure your students can contribute to knowledge production and not just to knowledge consumption? How do you ensure that you maintain disciplinary depth? How does being an active scholar affect your teaching? How does your contributions to your discipline improve your teaching?
Reflection on Growth What innovative approaches enhance your teaching? How has technology been used to improve the student experience and enable better understanding of core concepts? How do you use alternative teaching and learning techniques to improve student engagement? How do you critically evaluate your own teaching? How do you actively solicit peer evaluation and critique to enhance your teaching? How do you think you have developed as an excellent teacher over time? How have you contributed to curriculum development? How does your approach to assessment enhance learning? How has your scholarship contributed to institutional development (and beyond)?
  • The questions provided for each area above should help you to brainstorm the kinds of issues you might like to reflect upon in your application but they are not an exhaustive list and there is no requirement that you answer them all.
  • You are welcome to structure your portfolio in any way that you wish.
  • You need to provide evidence of all claims you make about your practice, in the form of examples and explanations in the reflective narrative itself or through reference to appendices.
  • Your application will be read by a committee from a wide variety of disciplines, so you need to articulate what makes your approach to teaching excellent in a way that is accessible to all.