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 members bring to the classroom, their quality of pedagogy, and the value they bring to their students’ education and the FASS teaching community.

The FASS Dean presents up to six Cormack Teaching Awards annually, one for each rank in the teaching stream (lecturer, senior lecturer, and university lecturer) and one for each rank of the research stream (assistant, associate, and full professor).

How to nominate

All nominees must be continuing members of FASS. Nominations may come from students, colleagues, or chairs and directors. Self-nomination is not an option.

Address nominations to Dai Heide (Associate Dean, Learnng and Teaching, and Student Experience) and email the nomination form and supporting file to the Assistant to the Associate Deans ( in a format that includes the following information:

  • The Cormack Teaching Award nomination form 
  • Name of proposed recipient 
  • Rank
  • Nominator's name and rank (if faculty), name and student number (if student) 
    • All nominations, including student nominations, should include the signature of the Chair or Director of the School or Department, and the signature of the Nominee
  • Rationale for the nominee’s exceptional teaching contributions (content, delivery, modality, innovation, etc) that warrant consideration for the award (maximum of 200 words). Please include specific examples.
  • A table or list provided by the Department (Chair/Director, Manager, or Secretary) which outlines the courses taught by the nominee in the previous 24 months, the term in which the courses were taught, and the enrolments in each course


The award focuses on the more recent 2-year (6 term) period. Excellence in teaching is evaluated by peers locally in the Department and by a FASS-wide Cormack Adjudication Committee according to the following criteria, while and not exhaustive:

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 April 8
  • Final nomination portfolios and letter of support due on May 31
  • Announcement of award recipients: Early July
  • FASS Cormack Symposium and Reception - award recipients will participate in a public address or workshop to highlight aspects of their teaching: TBD

Nomination Form

Nomination portfolios - Due May 31, 2024

From the Nominating Department

One letter in support of the nominee to be written by the Chair or Director of the Department or School; where the Chair or Director is a nominee, the letter will be written by the chair of the undergraduate or graduate program. The support letter should be a more extensive assessment than that included in the original nomination. It should 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 social sciences learning. Letters should include an assessment of teaching based on departmental criteria from assessing teaching. Normally, such letters include some or most of the following:

  • Demonstrated support and text from TPC: evaluations of teaching addressing quality, innovation, and importance of teaching
  • Supportive comments collected by the Chair/Director from other faculty colleagues, staff, and/or students
  • An aggregate summary of the last 6 semesters of teaching evaluations (if available due to covid restrictions) 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 of teaching
  • Assessment of the 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)

Optional (Please limit the following documents to a maximum of 10 pages)

  • 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, Learning and Teaching, and Student Experience, and consist of a minimum of five members, including two FASS Teaching Fellows, two previous Cormack Teaching Award Recipients and up to three others selected to achieve gender balance, balance between humanities and social sciences, and faculty at the 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. Those nominees will be required to update their nomination portfolio (list of courses taught and student enrolment numbers, student evaluations, 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 Fall Reception (Fall semester) to receive the award;
  • offer a public talk/presentation on some aspect of their 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 on teaching matters as needed from time to time;

Successful award recipients will receive a $500 grant to add to their professional development funds, and public acknowledgement at the FASS Fall Reception (Fall semester).


Nominations for the 2024 Cormack Teaching Awards are now closed. The winners will be announced in Fall 2024—Stay tuned!