AAUT Awards for Teaching Excellence

The Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) were established in 1997 by the Australian Government to celebrate and reward excellence in university teaching. Since then, with an honour roll that includes many highly respected and celebrated members of the sector, the Australian Awards for University Teaching have become a valued form of recognition for university educators Australia wide.

The AAUT Awards recognise the impact that educators have on the learning and teaching experiences and outcomes of university students. They celebrate and reward programs that support students and enhance learning. They promote excellence in learning and teaching in all aspects of higher education. Recipients, with the support of their institutions, contribute to systemic change in learning and teaching through the ongoing sharing and dissemination of knowledge.

The AAUT Awards for Teaching Excellence recognise Australia’s most outstanding university teachers who have demonstrated excellent leadership through sustained commitment to innovation, delivery of quality teaching and sustained dedication to improving the student experience and learning outcomes in higher education.

See videos of our previous AAUT award recipients and applicants talking about their teaching.

Read about our AAUT award recipients



All nominations must relate to teaching activities in higher education and must be supported by the nominating institution. Nomination is open to individuals and teams with current teaching or teaching/research appointments (full-time or fractional, continuing or contract).


Team nominations can only include members with a contribution of 10 per cent or higher. This means the maximum number of team members is 10 either from the same institution or collaborating institutions. All members of the team must be employed by an eligible institution.

Past recipients

Past recipients of a Teaching or Program Award (including Carrick Award, ALTC Award or OLT Award) can only renominate if they form part of a team nomination and are not the lead nominee. The new nomination should not substantially replicate the original nomination.Early Career Teaching Award recipients are eligible for renomination in a different category five years after receiving the Early Career Award.

Nomination or receipt of a Citation does not affect eligibility for a Teaching Award.



ANU may nominate a maximum of three individuals or teams for the AAUT Teaching Awards.

The ANU Promoting Excellence team will nominate individuals or teams from the recipients and applicants for the Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Education.

Nominees may be included in only one Teaching Award nomination in any year, except if a nominee forms part of a team nomination and is not the lead nominee.


Teaching Award categories

Nominees must select the relevant program category below. The seven categories for the AAUT Awards for Teaching Excellence are:

1. Biological sciences, Health and related studies

  • Including Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Medical Sciences and Nursing

2. Early Career

  • For teachers with less than five years cumulative experience teaching in higher education institutions.

3. Humanities and the Arts

4. Law, Economics, Business and related studies

5. Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education

  • Individuals must demonstrate their contribution to Indigenous education. Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers may nominate.

6. Physical Sciences and related studies

  • Including Architecture, Building and Planning, Engineering, COmputing, and Information Science.

7. Social and Behavioural

  • Including Psychology and Education.

Preparing an application

1. Teaching Award Nomination Form

5 pages


The Nomination Form reports administrative information, includes a declaration from the nominee and institution and acts as a cover sheet for the nomination.

The completed nomination must have all boxes ticked and be signed by the following:

  • Nominee
  • Head of School/Faculty
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or their nominated delegate
  • Institutional Contact Officer

2. Claims against Assessment Criteria

8 pages max.

This component describes the nominee’s teaching activities and achievements and must address all four assessment criteria, providing evidence to support claims. It is to be comprised of the following elements:

  • Synopsis: 200 words max., which includes a description of the nominee’s teaching area or discipline, teaching experience and teaching focus and methods. The synopsis must be written in the third person, avoid jargon and use plain English, and inform the broadest possible audience about the nominee’s teaching.
  • Overview of the nominee's teaching and its context.
  • Statement addressing the assessment criteria, including criterion headings, providing supporting evidence including impact on student learning.
  • Reference list: nominees should use their preferred recognised reference style throughout and include a reference list within the eight pages. Links to reference lists online will not be reviewed by assessors.

Assessment Criteria

All nominations will be assessed on the evidence provided in response to the following four criteria which will be given equal consideration by the assessors:


1. Approaches to teaching and the support of learning that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn.


This may include:

  • Fostering student development by stimulating curiosity and independence in learning.
  • Participating in effective and empathetic guidance and advice for students.
  • Assisting students from equity and other demographic subgroups to participate and achieve success in their courses.
  • Encouraging student engagement through the enthusiasm shown for learning and teaching.
  • Inspiring and motivating students through effective communication, presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Enabling others to enhance their approaches to learning and teaching.
  • Developing and/or integrating assessment strategies to enhance student learning.

2. Development of curricula, resources or services that reflect a command of the field.


This may include

  • Developing and presenting coherent and imaginative resources for student learning.
  • Implementing research-led approaches to learning and teaching.
  • Demonstrating up-to-date knowledge of the field of study in the design of the curriculum and the creation of resources for learning.
  • Communicating clear objectives and expectations for student learning.
  • Providing support to those involved in the development of curricula and resources.
  • Contributing professional expertise to enhance curriculum or resources.

3. Evaluation practices that bring about improvements in teaching and learning.


Evaluation comprises making judgements about the quality of programs and activities that are part of the academic, cultural and social experience of higher education. For the purposes of the AAUT application, evaluation practices so not include student assessment.

This may include:

  • Showing advanced skills in evaluation and reflective practice.
  • Using a variety of evaluation strategies to bring about change.
  • Adapting evaluation methods to different contexts and diverse student needs and learning styles.
  • Contributing professional expertise to the field of evaluation in order to improve program design and delivery.
  • Dissemination and embedding of good practice identified through evaluation.

4. Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience.


This may include:

  • Participating in and contributing to professional activities related to learning and teaching.
  • Innovations in service and support for students; coordination, management and leadership of courses and studentlearning.
  • Conducting and publishing research related toteaching.
  • Demonstrating leadership through activities that have broad influence on the profession.
  • Providing innovative learning and teaching for different contexts, including technology enhanced environments, for large and small class sizes and/or to meet the needs of a diverse student cohort.
  • Influencing the overall academic, social and cultural experience of higher education.

3. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The curriculum vitae should outline the nominee’s educational qualifications, employment history, teaching positions and teaching experience.

For individual nominations the curriculum vitae should be no longer than three A4 pages.


For team nominations:

  • The team leader’s curriculum vitae should be no longer than three A4 pages.
  • Curriculum vitae of up to one A4 page in length can be included for each team member. This means a team of three may have up to five pages (three + one + one).

4. Statement of contribution

1 page max,. teams only


Team nominations must complete one A4 page that consists of the following:

  • Name and indication of the percentage contribution of each team members (in order from highest to lowest). Note that team members are required to a contribution of 10 per cent or higher.
  • An explanation of the role of each team member
  • The maximum number of team members is 10 either from same institution or different institutions.

Team nomination requirements are as follows:

  • A team lead is to be identified for the purposes of the nomination
  • Team must have a team name as listed in the nomination form
  • For publication purposes, titles and names stated in the team statement must be the same as listed on the nomination form
  • If the team consists of members from different institutions, clearly state the representative institution on the nomination form and the team lead’s institution will submit the entire nomination on behalf of the team.

5. Letters of reference

1 page each

Two letters of reference, of no more than one A4 page each, are to be provided by referees able to comment on the contribution to student learning against the assessment criteria. References should demonstrate familiarity with the contribution and context, providing endorsement of the claims and additional evidence relating to context, merit and impact on students. Where possible, at least one referee should be qualified to comment on the broader impact of program’s contribution based on relevant professional or personal expertise and standing.


References should:

  • Include one referee who is the head of the Team Leader’s faculty, department, school or administrative unit or higher level.
  • For team nominations, apply to the team not individual team members
  • Include a statement acknowledging the referee’s acceptance of the Privacy Notice in the nomination form, e.g. ‘I accept the Privacy Notice provided by the nominee.’
  • Be signed – electronic signatures are accepted
  • Be on institutional letterhead
  • Body text – Font must be Arial or Calibri regular 11 (narrow fonts must not be used)

6. Supporting materials

Supporting materials should illustrate and provide evidence of claims made against the selection criteria. Please do not include any additional information or use as an extension of the page limit.

Nominees can choose to submit up to two of the following supporting materials:

  • A three-minute video, which could include footage of the program in action, team members talking about the program and its vision or interviews with students.
  • One website URL – include web address in your PDF submission.
  • 10 pages of supporting material in PDF format.

The relevance of all material must be made clear in the statement addressing the selection criteria. Supporting materials should be clearly titled and are the last component of the combined nomination file. Supporting materials (including websites) should remain accessible throughout the assessment process, beyond the submission date. Supporting materials should not require a login and password to access the material.

7. Photograph

An up-to-date, formal digital photograph of the individual nominee or team (group photo) must be submitted with each nomination, in line with the following specifications:

  • Background colour:White
  • Image definition parameters: Head and shouldersonly
  • Image resolution: 300dpi at 10cm by 10cm or 1200px by1200px
  • File Format:JPEG
  • File size: 1MB - 10MB

If the nomination is successful, the submitted digital photographs will be used for publication purposes, including awards booklets, the Universities Australia website and other promotional materials. The photographs should therefore be of the best possible quality and include all members of a team nomination within the one photo.


Applications will be submitted to the Awards Portal by the AAUT Institutional Contact Officer between 2 - 13 September 2019.



Claims against Assessment Criteria

In addressing the four criteria, applicants are required to make a case that they have:

  1. Impacted on student learning, student engagement or the overall student experience for a period of no less than three years (two years for early career), not including time taken for development or trial of any activity.
  2. Gained recognition from colleagues, the institution, and/or the broader community.
  3. Shown creativity, imagination or innovation, irrespective of whether the approach involves traditional learning environments or technology-based developments.
  4. Drawn on the scholarly literature on teaching and learning to inform the development of initiatives, programs and/or practice.

This case needs to be strongly supported by a wide range of evidence in the form of qualitative and quantitative data. This may include: Formal and informal evaluation, student data, institutional student surveys, references and selected teaching materials. Refer to the Assessment Matrix below for how the evidence will be assessed.The AAUT assesses against these four criteria, scoring from 1 (poor) to 5 (outstanding) for each criteria.

This Assessment Matrix can be downloaded from the Documents panel.


A. Impact on student learning, student engagement or the overall student experience for a period of no less than three years

1 Poor Nomination does not demonstrate impact, or impact has not been sustained for three years or more.
2 Not Recommended Influence is hard to ascertain from the limited evidence provided. A range of activities may be described but the impact on student learning is not clear. Application focuses on career longevity rather than sustainability of impact. Evaluation has been done but appears to have been ad-hoc. Reflection on evaluation results is minimal.
3 Recommended Some connections drawn between activities and student outcomes. Evidence from several sources is provided to support claims of impact. Evaluation has been conducted regularly and several forms of evidence (e.g. both qualitative and quantitative) from more than one stakeholder group has been provided. Changes have been implemented as a result of evaluations.
4 Highly Recommended Multiple forms of evidence from a range of sources and stakeholder groups is provided that clearly demonstrates impact on student learning. Evaluation has been done systematically. Multiple forms evidence has been provided from several stakeholder groups. Evaluation is reflected upon and changes implemented as a result are included in the nomination.
5 Outstanding Outstanding connections drawn between the work and its influence on student learning. These are backed up by evidence from a wide range of sources that illustrate high levels of impact on student experiences, learning and graduate outcomes.  Evaluation is clearly highly valued and an integral part of the nominee’s work and has been sustained over time. Evaluation is reflected upon and changes implemented as a result are a substantial feature of the nomination.


B. Recognition gained from colleagues, the institution, and/or the broader community

1 Poor The nomination provides no evidence that the nominee has gained recognition.
2 Not Recommended The nomination provides unreliable or weak evidence that the nominee has gained recognition.
3 Recommended The nomination provides evidence from multiple stakeholders. Initiatives or has gained recognition from peers. Program or initiative may have been adopted by others within the department.
4 Highly Recommended The nomination provides multiple forms of evidence that the program has gained widespread recognition throughout their institution and the local community. Program or initiative has been adopted across the institution
5 Outstanding The nomination provides multiple forms of evidence from a range of stakeholders to back up claims of widespread recognition throughout the institution and the community across the state or nationally. Program or initiative has been adopted nationally or internationally


C. Shown creativity, imagination or innovation.

1 Poor No evidence is provided that the nominee is doing anything different to others in their field
2 Not Recommended Weak or unreliable evidence to show that the nominee implements new initiatives. Context is not explicitly considered
3 Recommended A range of evidence to show that the nominee trials and implements new initiatives or combines existing approaches in different ways. The innovations are generally appropriate for the context in which they are being applied
4 Highly Recommended Broad range of evidence to show that the nominee has trialled and implemented new initiatives or combined existing approaches in different ways. The innovations are appropriate for the context in which they are being applied.
5 Outstanding Very broad range of evidence to show that the nominee has trialled and implemented new initiatives or combined existing approaches in different ways. The innovations are appropriate for, and novel to, the context in which they are being applied. A wide range of evidence is provided to illustrate impact on student learning.


D. Drawn on the scholarly literature on teaching and learning to inform the development of initiatives, programs and/or practice.

1 Poor Nomination does not refer to scholarly literature of teaching and learning
2 Not Recommended Nomination refers to some scholarly literature of teaching and learning but it is limited and not well connected to practice
3 Recommended Nomination refers to a range of scholarly literature. Connections are articulated to the applicant’s philosophy and practice
4 Highly Recommended Nomination refers to a broad range of scholarly literature of teaching and learning. Connections to the applicant’s philosophy and practice are clearly articulated.
5 Outstanding Nomination shows deep understanding of a broad range of scholarly literature of teaching and learning. Connections to the applicant’s philosophy and practice are clearly articulated. Applicant actively contributes to the scholarship of teaching and learning



Awards money

The Award monies are granted and disbursed to the recipient’s institution to be spent within three years to:

  • provide resources to support the award recipient’s teaching or activities related to the award
  • assist the individual or team to disseminate and embed good practice in learning and teaching within their institution and across the sector more broadly.

The award money is intended to be used to build on the success of the work that the recipient has been recognised for. The expenditure should contribute to improving the teaching and learning outcomes in Australian higher education.