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, Master Teacher Award nominations are assessed based on the following criteria.

Criterion 1: Creation of a Vibrant Learning Environment

Aligns with Learning Charter Instructor Commitment 1: Exemplify Learning

"What do my students do in class?”

Factors that Exemplify the Creation of a Vibrant Learning Environment:

  • 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

The nomination package should show clearly how the nominee demonstrates exceptional:

  • creation of a learning context which values and facilitates active learning
  • broad thinking, and acts according to ethical principles
  • creation of a learning environment where all participants can engage respectfully

Criterion 2: Positive Teaching

Aligns with Learning Charter Instructor Commitments 2, 3, and 4

“What do I do in my teaching?”

Factors that Exemplify Positive 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

The nomination package should show clearly how the nominee demonstrates exceptional:

  • content proficiency
  • pedagogical effectiveness
  • communication and upholds clear academic expectations and standards
  • assessment of student learning that is fair and relevant
  • provision of opportunities for student feedback
  • responsiveness to other feedback on teaching effectiveness

Criterion 3: Professional Growth

Aligns with Learning Charter Instructor Commitments 2 and 4

“What do I do to grow and evolve?”

Factors 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

The nomination package should show clearly how the nominee demonstrates exceptional:

  • and sustained commitment to content proficiency
  • ongoing reflection on academic practice
  • commitment to continued improvement

Criterion 4: Leadership

Aligns with Learning Charter Institutional Commitments 1, 2, 3, and 4

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

A Master Teacher is expected to provide leadership in the areas of institutional Learning Charter commitments. 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.

Factors that Exemplify Professional Growth:

  • Impact on one’s institution, academic discipline, and community
    • Leadership in professional development, for self and others
    • Leadership in teaching and learning in one’s own hallway and beyond
  • Courage to take risks in teaching, learning, and leadership
    • Share innovations in academic practice with colleagues, community, and institution
    • Solicit and respond to feedback about academic practices by colleagues, community, and institution

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 the U of S 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, U of S teaching awards of a similar level.

Nomination Checklist

The following sections and materials should be present prior to submitting your Master Teacher 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 Master 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.


  • Master 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 Master Teacher Committee, which works to ensure the transparency and integrity of the Master Teacher Award selection process.

  • No more than the ten most recent Master Teachers, one of whom will be chair
    • Chair will be elected by the committee and will sit for a two year term
  • GMCTL Director
  • Resource Personnel and Administrative Support (Non-voting)

Committee Members 2017-2018

Master Teachers

  • Chelsea Willness
  • Hayley Hesseln
  • Chris Clark
  • Hugo Cota-Sánchez
  • Jay Wilson
  • Keith Willoughby
  • Ronald Cuming
  • Norman Sheehan
  • Debbie Pushor (Chair)
  • Lorin Elias

Gwenna Moss Centre Members

  • Nancy Turner
  • Resource Personnel and Administrative Support
    • Wenona Partridge
    • Roxanne Martine
  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 Master Teachers
  4. Periodically reviewing award criteria, submission format, and connection of MT award to other internal and external teaching awards to ensure its ongoing relevance and sustainability
  5. Identifying and reaching out to potential MT nominees and nominators

Past Recipients

2017 Fall Chelsea Willness
2017 Spring Hayley Hesseln
2016 Fall Chris Clark
2016 Spring Hugo Cota-Sánchez
2015 Fall Kieth 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 15 and August 15 each year. 

Submit nominations to


Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning