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ATE Dossier Guidelines

These guidelines are for nomination packets for the following awards:

  • The Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • The Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Subjects
  • The W.E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence (in some colleges)

The Academy of Teaching Excellence created these guidelines to assist you in preparing an effective teaching dossier that will highlight your achievements using a format that, as much as possible, encourages consistency across disciplines. Please note that the Academy presents an annual dossier workshop to encourage nominations and assist in dossier preparation. Check the calendar for this year's workshop dates, places and times. Click here for the presentation slides from the fall 2019 workshop.

Dossier Format:
Please format all application materials as follows:

  • Use one side of 8.5 x 11 inch paper
  • Use Times New Roman, 12-point font and single-space text using 1” margins (excluding letters of recommendation and downloadable data table templates linked below)
  • Limit total length to 15 pages (excluding cover page and SPOT form appendix)
  • Number all pages in lower right corner beginning with the section on Distinctive Contributions.  Do not number the cover page.

Dossier Contents:
A complete dossier should contain the following items and conform to the specified page lengths. Dossiers that fail to meet the guidelines will not be considered.

Cover Page. If you are submitting your dossier to be considered for one of the three University-level teaching awards (i.e., Wine, Sporn, and Alumni Teaching Awards), you must use the cover page template. For the College-level Certificates of Teaching Excellence, please download this cover page template.

Section 1. Distinctive Contributions and Achievements (no more than one page). Provide a bulleted list of significant teaching accomplishments, contributions, awards, and activities demonstrating the nominee's commitment to excellence in teaching and student learning. See examples.

Section 2. Nomination Letter (no more than three pages). Describe the nominee's extraordinary success in teaching by providing a narrative of the nominee's background, teaching experiences, pedagogical approaches, scholarship of teaching and learning, special contributions to student learning, other education-related awards, and any additional evidence of the nominee's exceptional achievements in promoting effective student learning. See examples.

Section 3. Teaching Statement (no more than one page). Provide an engaging self-reflective narrative of your beliefs about teaching and learning and how you put these beliefs into practice. A teaching statement is, in essence, an individual mission statement conveying your educational values and how you enact those values to promote learning. Your statement should demonstrate that you are both reflective and purposeful about teaching and learning and that you have translated these values into goals and goals into actions that have had a positive impact on student learning. Two suggested sources for guidance and inspiration follow:

Section 4. Student Perception of Teaching/Instruction—SPOT/SPOI scores (no more than three pages). Use the linked templates to organize scores and/or responses to students’ perceptions of your teaching. We recommend grouping like classes together in chronological order so that change over time is apparent. Indicate the Departmental average SPOT scores for the same or very similar courses. Reduced teaching loads (sabbaticals, buy-outs, etc.) should be clearly indicated. Any classes not evaluated also should be noted in the table. Download SPOT/SPOI templates.

Section 5. Letters of Recommendation and/or Peer Evaluations of Teaching (4 to 5 letters suggested). Letters should demonstrate the breadth of the nominee’s impact on teaching and learning. Letters from the nominee's present or former students are strongly recommended; please indicate whether the letters of recommendation were unsolicited or solicited and, if solicited, by whom. The Academy strongly encourages the use of unsolicited letters or letters solicited by a third party whenever possible.

Other letters can include those from the nominee's colleagues who are directly familiar with the nominee’s teaching or the impact or outcomes of her/his teaching, and/or from anyone qualified to comment on the nominee's extraordinary instructional impact. Student nomination letters for the Sporn Award may be used in place of letters of recommendation.

Section 6. Additional Documentation (flexible up to 15 total pages for the dossier). Submit evidence to document the nominee's extraordinary teaching successes; however, including links to external sites is discouraged because the linked text or graphics could significantly increase the number of pages beyond fifteen. Additional documentation will vary greatly, but may include:

  • peer evaluation of teaching letters (if not included in Section 5),
  • student mentoring or advising activities,
  • pedagogical innovations and their impact on student learning,
  • visual images and innovations and their impact on learning,
  • details about course design and development and its impact on student learning,
  • curriculum revision and its impact on student learning, retention, numbers, or other metric,
  • educational publications or presentations authored,
  • teaching and learning workshops presented,
  • educational grants received,
  • educational outreach and service activities, and
  • any other documentation of effective teaching and learning.

Required Appendix. SPOT Form. Attach a PDF file of SPOT results collected using the 2011 revised form. The PDF file must be complete and include all student comments for one course taught at Virginia Tech within the past two years. The number of pages of this file will vary, and it will not count as part of the 15 pages.