Nomination Deadlines: Nominations must be submitted to by February 15, and August 15, each year for the Spring and Fall USask Distinguished Teacher Award.


Teaching is a process through which students are motivated to think and act in a sustained, positive, imaginative and substantive manner and to retain approaches acquired during this process after leaving the formal education environment. As such, the USask Distinguished Teacher Award nominations are assessed based on the following criteria:

Criterion 1: Exemplify Learning

“Who am I as a teacher, and what space do I create for my students?”

Aligns with Learning Charter Educator Commitments 1 and 2

  • Exemplify active learning and curiosity, demonstrate broad thinking
  • Follow ethical principles
  • Engage with students and peers in a respectful manner
  • Explicitly recognize their own position and work to understand, acknowledge, and value perspectives and worldviews different from their own
  • Encourage and foster open and healthy dialogue
  • Co-create with students a shared space for learning in which all participants feel respected, valued and empowered to contribute as they achieve their goals and share the gifts of their identities in relationship with one another
  • – The University of Saskatchewan Learning Charter

Examples of Exemplify Learning

  • Make student learning the highest priority
  • Guide students successfully through exploration of creative, critical thinking and problem solving processes and help students grapple with ideas and information they need to develop their own understanding
  • Encourage students to think and find their own creativity
  • Promote and value a wide range of ideas and the open expression of diverse opinions while maintaining an atmosphere of integrity, civility and respect
  • Encourage students to reach beyond facts and to search for understanding and application of concepts
  • Approachable and available to students in and beyond the classroom
  • Instill a desire in students for life-long learning
  • Seek to bridge language and cultural barriers through the creation of an environment that values the contributions of all students

Criterion 2: Exemplify Excellence in Teaching

“How does my teaching impact student learning?”

Aligns with Learning Charter Educator Commitments 2 and 3

  • Maintain a expert level of subject matter knowledge and scholarship
  • Ensure that content is current, accurate, relevant to learning outcomes, representative of the knowledge and skills being taught, and appropriate to the position of the learning experience within a program of study
  • Provide students opportunity to be inspired and engaged with and in the process of authentic inquiry wherever possible in their learning
  • Use a range of demonstrably effective instructional methods and assessment strategies that help students achieve the learning outcomes of a course or learning activity
  • Provide a clear indication of what is expected of students in a course or learning activity, and what students can do to be successful in achieving the expected learning outcomes as defined in the course outline
  • Ensure that assessments of learning are transparent, applied consistently and are congruent with learning outcomes
  • Provide students with prompt and constructive feedback on their learning progress at regular intervals throughout the course

Examples that Exemplify Excellence in Teaching:

  • Demonstrate a positive attitude toward, respect for, and trust in students
  • Set appropriate learning goals and objectives of the course and communicate them at an early meeting of the class
  • Design assessment for learning (regular, objective, constructive assessment designed to engender improvement)
  • Innovate and experiment with a variety of instructional strategies and tools in order to identify those most effective for the students in the course being taught
  • Select or design course materials that are appropriate in the context of the course and that approach the subject-matter in a clear, organized and interesting way
  • Present all subject-matter in a fair and balanced way with the full recognition that there may well be divergent views held by others, including class participants that deserve respect
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm for the subject-matter of the course and seek to engender this in class participants

Criterion 3: Demonstrate Professional Growth

“What do I do to grow and evolve?”

Aligns with Learning Charter Educator Commitment 4

  • Provide students with the opportunity to give ongoing, candid feedback on their learning experience
  • Seek feedback from peers and other sources to allow for evidence on all aspects of teaching practice to be reflected upon for the purposes of continuous improvement
  • Seek out and participate in opportunities to build their knowledge of teaching within their discipline
  • Learn about advances in effective pedagogies/andragogies

Examples that Exemplify Professional Growth:

  • Strong sense of commitment to the academic community in addition to personal success in the classroom
  • Compare teaching approaches with colleagues;
  • Reflect on and continually enhance teaching practice in response to feedback and student learning outcomes
  • Model lifelong learning
  • Where appropriate, maintain connection with professional organizations whose members employ in society the subject-matter addressed in your courses
  • Thorough knowledge of subject matter and enthusiasm for it
  • Engage in publishable research and develop important and original thoughts on the subject specialty

Criterion 4: Exemplify Leadership

“What do I do to lead, beyond my own hallway?”

Aligns with Learning Pursuits from the Learning Charter

A USask Distinguished Teacher is expected to provide leadership in the areas of institutional Learning Charter pursuits. Leadership of this sort will begin within one’s own hallway but will not end there. Impact beyond the nominee’s own Department or School must be clearly demonstrated in this section. Please select two key pursuits and describe your impact relative to those pursuits.

The Pursuit of Truth and Understanding

  • Applying critical and creative mamitoneyihtamowin1 (ma-mito-neh ih-ta-mo-win)/naakatwayhtamihk2 (naaka-tway-hta-mihk) (i.e., thinking) to problems, including analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • Being open to and adept at different ways of knowing and learning, including independently, experientially, and collaboratively.
  • Possessing intellectual flexibility, ability to manage change, open-mindedness with the unfamiliar and an enthusiasm for life-long and life-wide learning.

The Pursuit of Knowledges

  • Achieving a comprehensive knowledge of one’s subject area, discipline, or profession.
  • Understanding how one’s subject area may intersect with related disciplines, perspectives, and worldviews different than one’s own, including Indigenous worldviews.
  • Understanding how one’s subject area, discipline or profession connects to and impacts Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, and beyond where applicable.
  • Utilizing and applying one’s knowledge with manacihtowin/manachihitoohk² (i.e. respect of all individuals).

The Pursuit of Integrity and Respect

  • Exercising intellectual integrity and ethical behaviour with kitimakeyichikewin /kitimakaymitoohk (i.e., kindness by self to others).
  • Recognizing and thinking through moral and ethical issues in a variety of contexts, perspectives, and alternative worldviews.
  • Recognizing the limits to one’s knowledge, skills and understanding, and acting in accordance with these limits.
  • Developing understanding and appreciation for one’s own perspectives, strengths and worldview, while demonstrating mutual and reciprocal respect for the diverse perspectives, strengths and worldviews of others and their communities.

The Pursuit of Skills and Practices

  • Developing and applying appropriate skills of research, inquiry and knowledge creation and translation.
  • Communicating clearly, substantively and persuasively in different academic, professional, and cultural contexts; nihtâ-âcimowin /nihta achimoohk (i.e., being a good storyteller).
  • Being able to locate, understand, evaluate and use information effectively, ethically, legally and with cultural appropriateness.

Individual and Community Pursuits

  • Committing to positive growth and change for oneself and for local, national and global communities.
  • Acting with confidence and strength of purpose for the good of oneself and the different communities represented on our campuses.
  • Embracing responsibilities to oneself and others in ways that are authentic and meaningful.
  • Sharing Knowledges and exercising nîkânîwin/ nihta niikaaniiw (i.e., leadership) as acts of individual and community responsibility.

Nomination Guide

What the nomination looks like

Excellence in teaching is demonstrated by exceptional and sustained performance assessed on the basis of four criteria listed above.

We expect evidence of excellence in teaching would be gathered over at least five years of teaching, whether at USask or elsewhere. If parts of the evidence presented are from other institutions, please put this evidence into a local context so the selection committee may understand how these parts align with similar achievements at the University of Saskatchewan. For example, teaching awards received elsewhere should be clearly described in relation to local USask teaching awards of a similar level.

Nomination Checklist

The following sections and materials should be present prior to submitting your USask Distinguished Teacher Award nomination package: 

  • Cover Page – This page should contain contact information for the nominee and nominator - Not included in the limit of 25 pages.
  • Table of Contents – Not included in the limit of 25 pages.
  • Letter of Nomination – This letter should introduce the nominee and act as a road map of the nomination package, clearly stating how it is that the evidence presented aligns with the award criteria.
  • Teaching Philosophy Statement – To be written by the nominee, this statement should provide insight into who the nominee is as a teacher and leader, and should align with the supporting evidence provided in the nomination package.
  • Teaching materials can be included if the nomination would be strengthened by providing examples that are annotated and clearly demonstrate how the nominee's teaching practice align with the award's criteria. Please do not include pages of slides or lengthy syllabi.
  • Teaching Evaluations – SEEQ or other student evaluation data that has been collected and presented in an accessible manner, such as in a graph or chart is acceptable, as are sections of unabridged student comments from one class. Please do not include pages of raw data that are not annotated.
  • Letters of Support – Letters of support from two colleagues and two former students the nominee is not currently teaching and will not likely teach in the future. These letters should directly reference the award’s criteria and address how the nominee has met the criteria from the perspective of the person writing the letter of support.
  • Abridged and Annotated CV – The CV should be tailored and annotated to address the award’s criteria - Not included the limit of 25 pages.

Connecting the criteria to the evidence

Once you have reviewed the criteria and the checklist, you might be wondering how best to bring those two requirements together. The criteria are more abstract and address the intent of the award while the checklist is specific and does not include a section that exclusively includes each criterion. Consider the checklist a guide to the sort of evidence that must be included, while the criteria are a guide to the story that should be told about the evidence.

For instance, the letter of nomination should address each criterion by telling the committee why this nominee is a USask Distinguished Teacher and where the committee can look to find evidence of the claims being made. Each nomination will be very different and it is important to leave the criteria open enough to allow the nomination of excellent teachers from diverse backgrounds.

Nominees who's teaching philosophy statements tell a story about a teacher who strives to exemplify positive teaching and create vibrant learning environments could have evidence in student feedback and perhaps teaching strategies and/or materials that a nominator can explain and point to. Nominees who are recognized within their field as experts could have evidence of professional growth within their CVs a nominator can explain and point to. This evidence will be very different between nominees, if one is from a professional college while another is from the art, and yet another is from the social sciences, etc. The nominator's job is to tell the selection committee why the evidence fits the criteria.


  • USask Distinguished Teacher Award nominations should be formatted using 12 point, Times New Roman font with one-inch margins.
  • The total volume of the nomination dossier (exclusive of the cover page, and abridged and annotated curriculum vitae of the nominee) should not exceed 25 pages.
  • When presenting evidence in the nomination package, provide annotations that make apparent the connection between the sources of evidence (supporting letters, etc.) and the factors listed under the criterion.

Committee Terms of Reference

Nominations are reviewed by the USask Distinguished Teacher Award Committee, which works to ensure the transparency and integrity of the USask Distinguished Teacher Award selection process.
  • No more than the ten most recent the USask Distinguished Teachers (formerly USask Master Teachers), one of whom will be the chair
  • Chair will be elected by the committee
  • Chair will sit for a two year term
  • Senior Director, Teaching and Learning Enhancement
  • Resource and administrative support (Non-voting)

USask Distinguished Teacher Award Committee Members 2023

  • Soo Kim - School of Rehabilitation Science
  • David Sumner - Engineering
  • Lee Swanson - Edwards
  • Loleen Berdahl - JSGS
  • Tom Yates - AgBio
  • Patricia Dowling - WCVM
  • Vince Bruni-Bossio - Edwards
  • Chelsea Willness - Edwards
  • Hayley Hesseln - AgBio (Chair 2021-2023)
  • Chris Clark - WCVM
  • Nancy Turner - TLE Representative
  • Sara Dzaman - Committee Coordinator

The USask Distinguished Teacher Award Committee is responsible for:

  1. Setting the process for communicating nomination deadlines and award criteria to the campus community
  2. Setting the process for collecting and storing nominations, to be implemented by the GMCTL
  3. Selecting the Spring and Fall USask Distinguished Teachers
  4. Periodically reviewing award criteria, submission format, and connection of USask Distinguished Teacher Award to other internal and external teaching awards to ensure its ongoing relevance and sustainability
  5. Identifying and reaching out to potential USask Distinguished Teacher Award nominees and nominators

Past Recipients

2023 Fall Soo Kim
2022 Spring David Sumner
2021 Spring Lee Swanson
2020 Fall Loleen Berdahl
2020 Spring Tom Yates
2019 Fall Patricia Dowling
2019 Spring Vince Bruni-Bossio
2018 Spring Joe Garcea
2017 Fall Chelsea Willness
2017 Spring Hayley Hesseln
2016 Fall Chris Clark
2016 Spring Hugo Cota-Sánchez
2015 Fall Keith Willoughby
2015 Spring Jay Wilson
2014 Fall Richard Long
2014 Spring Ronald C.C. Cuming
2013 Fall Debbie Pushor
2013 Spring Norman Sheehan
2012 Fall Lorin Elias
2012 Spring Barb Phillips
2011 Spring Sandra Bassendowski
2011 Fall Ken Van Rees
2010 Spring Allan Dolovich
2010 Fall Edwin Ralph
2009 Spring Lesley Biggs
2009 Fall Dr. Anurag Saxena
2008 Spring Baljit Singh
2008 Fall Angela Ward
2007 Spring Vipen Sawhney
2007 Fall Jeffrey Steeves
2006 Spring Fred Phillips
2006 Fall Dan Pennock
2005 Spring Ernie Walker
2005 Fall Karen Chad
2004 Spring John Thompson
2004 Fall Terry Matheson
2003 Spring Sheila Rutledge-Harding
2003 Fall Alec Aitken
2002 Spring Donna Greschner
2002 Fall John Hubbard
2001 Spring Keith Taylor
2001 Fall Jack Hope
2000 Spring Michael Hayden
2000 Fall Carey L. Williamson
1999 Spring John G. McConnell
1999 Fall Colin Sargent
1998 Spring Jim Greer
1998 Fall Gary R. Davis
1997 Spring Len Gusthart
1997 Fall David Hay
1996 Spring Ronald Steer
1996 Fall Richard Schwier 
1995 Spring Mark Evered
1995 Fall Robert Grogin
1994 Spring Henry Woolf
1994 Fall Susan Gingell
1993 Spring Ernest Ambrose
1993 Fall Jean-Paul Tremblay
1992 Spring Lynne Bell
1992 Fall Gary Wobeser
1991 Spring Dorothy Howard
1991 Fall Willi Braun
1990 Spring Dwaine Nelson
1990 Fall Taylor Steeves
1989 Spring Michael Swan
1989 Fall Patrick Renihan
1988 Spring Sylvia Wallace
1988 Fall Mel Hosain
1987 Spring Gordon Johnson
1987 Fall Ray Skinner
1986 Spring Ron Verrall
1986 Fall Otto Radostits
1985 Spring Ron Marken
1985 Fall Cecil Doige
1984 Spring Roy Crawford
1984 Fall Frank Vella


Each nomination package should be saved as a single PDF that includes the nomination checklist and 25 page-long nomination dossier. 

Nomination Deadlines:

Nominations must be submitted by February 15th and August 15th of each year. 

Submit nominations by email to


Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning