Outstanding Instructor

Graduate Teaching Award for Independent Instruction


Every Rice graduate student who served as an Instructor of Record in either the Fall of 2022, Spring of 2023, or Summer of 2023 is eligible to apply for the 2024 Graduate Teaching Award for Independent Instruction.


October 13th — First-Round Applications Due (submit to First-Round Application Dropbox below)
December 5 — Finalists Selected; Candidates Notified
February 1 — Finalist Portfolios Due (submit to Second-Round Application Dropbox below)
March 22 — Winners Selected; Candidates Notified
April 23, 2024 — Winners Honored at University Awards Ceremony

First Round Application

Applications are due no later than 11:59PM and deadlines are listed under the timeline.

The initial application must include the following four items to be considered complete:

  • A completed application form.
  • A cover letter that explains why, given the criteria outlined below, you should be considered for this award.
    • Overall Philosophy of Teaching
    • Use of Evidence-Based Instruction
    • Student Learning
    • Rapport with Students
    • Course Design
  • Short (300-500 words) responses to the following three prompts about your teaching.
    • Briefly describe your best teaching moment while teaching this course.
    • What activity or assignment was most effective at helping you monitor whether students were learning what you wanted them to learn? Why?
    • Briefly describe a specific challenge you faced while teaching this course, how you responded, and what you learned from the experience.
  • Official copies of your instructor and course evaluation results for the relevant course (instructions here).

We ask that all candidates combine these materials into a single PDF file before submitting via the dropbox below. An example of a properly formatted, completed application can be found here. Please use this file name format: Lastname_Firstname_independent_instruction.pdf

Before you upload your application, please make sure you have attached a completed application form above.


Second Round Application Materials

Applications are due no later than 11:59PM and deadlines are listed under the timeline.

If a candidate is selected as a finalist, they will have two months to put together a teaching portfolio of up to 25 pages.** This portfolio can include any of the following:

  • An Extended Teaching Philosophy
  • The Course Syllabus
  • Representative Assignments
  • Anonymized Examples of Student Work and Instructor Feedback
  • Anonymized Examples of Informal Student Feedback
  • Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness. This section may include some of the following:
    • Written comments from students on class evaluations
    • Demonstration of student learning such as tests, students’ lab books or other workbooks, students’ papers, essays, or creative works
    • Graded work from the best and poorest students, with teacher’s feedback to students
    • Reflections from students about their learning in your course
    • Final grade distribution
  • Classroom Observation Reports. Download a CTE designed observation form.

**Please do not exceed this page limit. If you submit a longer portfolio, the Committee will consider only the first 25 pages.


Review of Application Materials

We recognize that outstanding teaching can take many forms, that it looks differently in different disciplines, and that it can be presented in different ways. When evaluating your Teaching Portfolio, the Teaching Awards Committee will look for evidence of a coherent teaching philosophy exemplified by classroom practices, thoughtful use of evidence-based approaches, whether your students made significant learning gains, good teacher-student rapport, and intentional course design.