Cormack Teaching Awards

Excellence in teaching

The Cormack Awards were established by former Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Dean Lesley Cormack in 2010 to celebrate excellence and innovation in teaching within the faculty. The award recognizes the passion that faculty bring to the classroom, quality of pedagogy and the value they bring to their students’ education and the FASS teaching community.

How to nominate

Nominations may come from students, colleagues, or chairs and directors. Self-nomination is not permitted. All nominees must be continuing appointments in FASS. Submit nominations to, by filling out and attaching the two following documents:

  • the Cormack Teaching Award nomination form (see below).
  • A list of the courses taught by the nominee in the previous 24 months (with actual enrollment numbers indicated)

For further guidance and details, see the Cormack Award terms of reference.   


Overall Commitment to Teaching

  • Coherent and interesting theory of pedagogy
  • Experience in course development
  • Ability to inspire and motivate students and to foster creative and critical thinking
  • Ethic of care about student leaning and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and engaging manner
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for innovation in teaching and experimentation in curriculum delivery (e.g. Blended of Online courses, collaborative teaching, interdisciplinary courses, community-based teaching partnerships, experiential learning, etc)

Quality of Teaching Content/Reflexivity in Mode of Delivery

  • Quality of course outlines and clarity of course goals
  • Diversity of courses taught, including course size and level in program
  • Responsiveness to student criticisms, changing student needs, and strategic enrolment challenges
  • Service in teaching, or on university committees related to teaching and learning
  • Quantitative and Qualitative evaluations of teaching, including peer observation

Contribution to Pedagogical Knowledge and Transition

  • Dedication to professional teaching development (for example, participation in conferences or workshops related to pedagogy; grants or awards related to teaching development or pedagogy)
  • Development of courseware, texts, and use of multimedia or other technology in the classroom
  • Track record in knowledge translation in pedagogy in the discipline or to the wider community
  • Supervision and Mentorship (for example, TAs/TMs, Honours students, Graduate students)


Nomination submissions will be due 11 April, 2022 and final portfolios and letter of support due on 27 May, 2022.


Cormack Teaching Award Nomination Form: 

Nomination portfolios - Due May 27th

From the Nominating Department

In addition to the original nomination form, the Chair, Director or designate should provide an additional letter in support of the nominee's submission. The support letter should be a more extensive assessment than that included in the original nomination. It should aim to contextualize the nominee’s teaching and supervision with the disciplinary context or program structure in order to demonstrate how the nominee’s curricular design functions within the life of the discipline, within the stream of the majors or minors, and within general arts and humanities learning. Letters should include an assessment of teaching based on departmental criteria for assessing teaching. Normally, such letters include:

  • Demonstrated support and text the from TPC evaluations of teaching addressing quality, innovation, and importance of teaching
  • Supportive comments collected by the Chair/Director from other faculty colleagues, staff, or students
  • An aggregate summary of the last 6 semesters of teaching evaluations contextualized and presented as per department practice and as required by the most recent Collective Agreement
  • A statement of importance of courses taught in degree design and delivery and their contributions to the units teaching program
  • Qualitative peer observation or teaching
  • Quality of syllabi and course materials
  • Evidence of professional development and engagement in teaching, including participation in panels or conferences related to teaching and learning, teaching awards or grants, or other appropriate criteria

From the Nominee

Nominees are required to submit a portfolio:


  • Full C.V.
  • 1,000-word statement of teaching reflections. This pedagogical statement is intended to portray how the nominee’s experiences, insights, and philosophy of teaching may have been challenged or renewed in the previous six semesters (not counting the current semester).
  • Statement should include the following:
    • Reflection on teaching practices as related to the three categories of criteria above (Commitment to teaching, quality or teaching, and contribution to pedagogy)
    • How the nominee has responded to and addressed teaching issues and challenges, and how the nominee has demonstrated excellence and innovation in teaching practice
    • Commentary on aggregate statistical results of student evaluations. The aim is to allow the nominee to complement and contextualize how students have assessed the courses (Optional: nominees may include student comments if they choose)


  • Selected course outlines or other teaching assignments to demonstrate innovation
  • Evidence of professional development training in teaching in the previous six terms
  • Submissions of any writing/conference presentations in the scholarship of teaching venues in the same period or examples of how research is incorporated in teaching, or chapter of selected courseware
  • Statement about influences, community or practice, or teaching aspirations

Selection committee

The committee will be chaired by the FASS Associate Dean, Undergraduate Academic Programs and consist of a minimum of five members, including the two FASS Teaching Fellows, a past Cormack Teaching Award Recipient and up to three others, selected to achieve gender balance, balance between humanities and social sciences, and all four ranks under consideration. 


The office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will hold unsuccessful submissions for consideration for a maximum two-year period. This gives unsuccessful nominees an opportunity to be considered a second time. These nominees will be invited to update their nomination portfolio (teaching assignments and reflective statement) in the second year of consideration, as the Cormack adjudication process is based on teaching in the previous six semesters.

Responsibilities of Recipients

Recipients are expected to:

  • attend the FASS AGM (Fall semester) to receive the award;
  • offer a public talk/presentation on some aspect of their reflections on teaching to FASS colleagues as part of a FASS-organized Cormack Symposium (Fall semester);
  • serve at least once in the following two-year period on the awards selection committee.
  • advise the Associate Dean Undergraduate from time to time;

Successful Award Recipients will receive a grant to add to their professional development funds, and public acknowledgement at the FASS AGM (Fall semester).

Previous award winners

2020: No awards, due to COVID-19

2019:  Nicolas Fillion, Assistant Professor (Philosophy); Marianne Ignace, Professor (First Nations Language Program); Danielle Murdoch, Lecturer (Criminology); Panos Pappas, Associate Professor (Linguistics)

2018:  Tina Adcock, Assistant Professor (History); Douglas Allen, Professor (Economics); Leith Davis, Professor (English); Dai Heide, Senior Lecturer (Philosophy); Steve Weldon, Associate Professor (Political Science)

2017:  Rebecca Cobb (Psychology); Ashley Farris-Trimble (Linguistics)

2016: Lara Aknin (Psychology); Gregory Dow (Economics); Sarah Walshaw (History); Richard Wright (Psychology)

2015: Elise Chenier (History); Alex Moens (Political Science); Bidisha Ray (History); Aaron Windel (History)

2014: David Coley (English); Sheri Fabian (Criminology); Jack Martin (Psychology); Roxanne Panchasi (History)

2013: Jeremy Brown (History); Mike Everton (English); Neil Watson (Psychology)

2012: John Bogardus (Sociology & Anthropology); John Harriss (International Studies); Nicole Jackson (International Studies); Kate Slaney (Psychology)

2011: Alison Ayers (Sociology & Anthropology/ Political Science); Dave Cox (Economics); Alec Dawson (History/Latin American Studies)

2010: Lara Campbell (Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies); Nicky Didicher (English); Yue Wang (Linguistics)

Nominations for 2022 are now closed.