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ATE Dossier Guidelines

These guidelines are for nomination packets for the following awards:

  • The W.E. Wine Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • The Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • The Sporn Award for Excellence in Teaching Introductory Subjects
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence (in some colleges these dossier guidelines are not used; check with your college representative listed above)

The Academy of Teaching Excellence created these guidelines to assist you in preparing an effective teaching dossier that will highlight your achievements at Virginia Tech 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. Powerpoint slides for the Fall 2023 workshop. Zoom recording for the Fall 2023 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 11 pages (excluding cover page and appendix). Appendix should include (1) a summary SPOT table covering all electronic SPOT scores since 2011 (Wine Award), the past seven years (Alumni Award), or the past seven years or less depending on time of service (Sporn Award), and (2) a complete SPOT form for one course from the past three years.
  • Number all pages in lower right corner beginning with the section on Distinctive Contributions.  Do not number the cover page.
  • Submit as one single pdf file

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, if used by your college.

Section 1. Distinctive Contributions and Achievements (one page). Provide a bulleted list of significant teaching accomplishments at Virginia Tech grouped by relevant categories such as those shown in the example documents demonstrating the nominee's commitment to excellence in teaching and student learning. See examples.

Section 2. Nomination Letter (two pages). The nominee’s department head, chair of the departmental honorifics committee or another senior faculty member in the department should describe the nominee's extraordinary success in teaching at Virginia Tech 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. It is acceptable for the nominee to help facilitate the writing of this letter to ensure accuracy of facts.  Select quotes of support may be added; however, the identity of any solicited authors should be kept confidential from the nominee. The nominee may provide unsolicited comments they have received from students. See examples.

Section 3. Teaching Statement (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. Letters of Recommendation and/or Peer Evaluations of Teaching (4 to 5 one-page letters suggested). Letters should demonstrate the breadth of the nominee’s impact on teaching and learning. Formal one-page letters of support from former and current VT students should be requested by the nominator (as described above, i.e., dept. head, honorifics chair or senior faculty colleague) and kept confidential. The nominee may provide a list of student names for the nominator to contact. It should be noted that letters from the nominee's former students (alumni) are particularly impactful.  If the nominee does not have someone to acquire letters on their behalf, they should contact the chair of the ATE.

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 their teaching (including peer evaluations), and/or from anyone qualified to comment on the nominee's extraordinary instructional impact. A maximum of up to one page of unsolicited transcribed student quotes from personal correspondence including Email, a more formal letter or “thank a teacher” note with the nominee may be included, if desired.

Section 5. Additional Documentation (flexible, keeping within 11 total pages for the dossier). Submit evidence to document the nominee's extraordinary teaching successes; however, do not include links to external sites. Additional documentation will vary greatly, but may include:

  • 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,
  • pedagogical innovations and their impact on student learning,
  • visual images and innovations used to enhance student learning or provided as evidence of student learning,
  • student mentoring or advising activities,
  • educational publications or presentations authored,
  • teaching and learning workshops presented,
  • educational grants received,
  • educational outreach and service activities,
  • peer evaluation of teaching letters (if not included in Section 4), and any other documentation of effective teaching and learning.

Unsolicited student quotes or additional solicited student letters of recommendation should not be included in this section.

Required Appendix of additional supporting documentation:

  • Student Perception of Teaching (SPOT) scores table (all electronic SPOT scores since 2011 (Wine Award), the past seven years (Alumni Award), or the past seven years or less depending on time of service (Sporn Award)). Use the linked template to organize scores for students’ perceptions of your teaching as reported on the university’s electronic SPOT form. We recommend grouping like classes together in chronological order. Indicate the departmental average SPOT scores exactly as reported on the university’s electronic SPOT form. Reduced teaching loads (sabbaticals, buy-outs, etc.) should be clearly indicated and explained through footnotes. Any classes not evaluated also should be noted in the table (e.g., due to the impacts of COVID). Download SPOT template. 

Instructors may locate their electronic SPOT forms in Canvas by going to their personal “Account” then “Files” then “Eval Reports”.

  • Attach a complete PDF file of one electronic SPOT, including all student comments for one course taught at Virginia Tech within the past three years.

The number of pages of this appendix section will vary, and it will not count as part of the 11 pages.