National 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. The AAUT recognise quality teaching practice and outstanding contributions to student learning, demonstrating excellence in higher education learning and teaching. Recipients, with the support of their institutions, further contribute to systemic change in learning and teaching through the ongoing sharing and dissemination of knowledge.

Awards for Teaching Excellence (Teaching Awards) celebrate a group of the nation’s most outstanding university teachers in their fields. Teaching Awards give recognition to teachers (individuals and teams) renowned for the excellence of their teaching, and who have made a broad and deep contribution to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in higher education. Up to 16 Teaching Awards across eight categories, valued at $25,000 each, are awarded to teachers who have demonstrated sustained commitment to improving student learning outcomes in higher education.


To recognise Australia’s most outstanding university teachers who have demonstrated excellent leadership through sustained commitment to innovation and delivery of quality teaching and sustained dedication to enriching and improving student learning outcomes in higher education.

ANU YouTube: Promoting Excellence playlist



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.

Eligibility for previous recipients of Awards or Citations

Recipients of a Teaching or Program Award (including Carrick Award or ALTC 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 submit up to eight Teaching Award nominations for individuals or teams with a maximum of two nominations in any category.

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.


Nomoinees must select the relevant teaching category below. The Teaching Award categories are:

  1. Biological Sciences, Health and Related Studies (including Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Medical Sciences and Nursing)
  2. Early Career - open to staff with no more than five years' experience teaching in higher education institutions. The five years can be non-sequential and must be counted on a semester basis. This includes all tutoring and part-time teaching.
  3. Humanities and the Arts
  4. Law, Economics, Business and Related Studies
  5. Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education - up to two awards are open to both individuals and teams who must demonstrate their contribution to Indigenous education. Indigenous and non-Indigenous academic staff may nominate.
  6. Physical Sciences and Related Studies (including Architecture, Building and Planning, Engineering, Computing and Information Science)
  7. Social and Behavioural Sciences (including Psychology and Education)

It is anticipated that Teaching Awards will be distributed across the seven categories, although the pattern of distribution will ultimately be determined by the quality of nominations.


Application components

  1. Nomination form
  2. Claims against the assesment criteria: Synopsis, Overview and Statement
  3. Curriculum Vitae
  4. Statement of contribution
  5. Letters of reference
  6. Supporting teaching materials
  7. Digital photograph


Applications must be submitted to the AAUT Awards Portal by the AAUT Institutional Contact Officer in ANU, by Wednesday 12 July 2017, 5pm.

1. Nomination form

The nomination form reports administrative information and includes a declaration from the nominee and institution. The form acts as a cover sheet for the nomination. The completed nomination must be signed by the Vice-Chancellor / Chief Executive Officer or their nominated delegate.

2. Claims against the assessment criteria

This component is limited to eight A4 pages and describes the nominee’s teaching activities and achievements and must address all four assessment criteria, providing evidence to support claims. It should comprise the following elements presented in order:


Up to 200 words, which including 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
  • should inform the broadest possible audience about the nominee’s teaching.


An overview of the nominee's teaching and its context.


Addresses the assessment criteria (include criterion headings), providing supporting evidence including impact on student learning.

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. 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 student learning.
  • Conducting and publishing research related to teaching.
  • 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.

The statement addressing the assessment criteria must provide supporting evidence. Student survey data from institutional teaching quality survey or feedback should be framed and presented as a broader source of evidence to support excellence of teaching.

Nominees should note that assessors are likely to be drawn from cognate disciplines and learning and teaching specialisations; it should not be presumed they have detailed knowledge of the discipline.


Lists of references should be included in the 8 page written statement. Links to references online will not be reviewed by assessors.

3. Curriculum Vitae

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’s 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 (for team nominations)

Team nominations must include one A4 page which explains the role and indicates the percentage contribution of team members (limited to team members with 10 per cent or higher), in addition to the team information included within the nomination form.

5. Letters of reference

Two references, of no more than one A4 page each, are to be provided by referees able to comment on the nominee's teaching against the assessment criteria. References should:

  • Include one referee who is the head of the nominee’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.’
  • References must be signed – electronic signatures are accepted.

6. Supporting teaching materials

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

  • a three minute video (which could include footage of the nominee talking about their teaching, their teaching philosophy and interviews with students) – include web address
  • website (URL) – include web address
  • 10 pages of teaching materials in PDF format.

The relevance of all material must be made clear in the written component. Supporting materials should be clearly labelled 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 include a login and password to access the material.

7. Digital photograph

A formal digital photograph of the individual nominee or team must be submitted with each nomination, in line with the following specifications:

  • colour
  • white background
  • head and shoulders only
  • image resolution of 300 dpi (approximately 10 cm by 10 cm and the size of the file must be at least 1 MB)
  • JPEG file.

If the nomination is successful, digital photographs are used for publication purposes, including the awards booklets, the department’s website and other promotional materials. The photographs should therefore be of the best possible quality and include all members of a team nomination. Low quality photographs will not be accepted. Where possible, the Promoting Excellence team will arrange for the photo to be taken by ANU Photography.




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.
  2. Development of curricula, resources or services that reflect a command of the field of study.
  3. Evaluation practices that bring about improvements in teaching and learning.
  4. Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience.

The assessment will also take into account:

  1. the extent to which the claims for excellence are supported by formal and informal evaluation
  2. the extent of creativity, imagination or innovation, irrespective of whether the approach involves traditional learning environments or technology-based developments
  3. information contained in student data or institutional student surveys, references, and selected teaching materials submitted by the nominee.

AAUT Assessment reports

Nominees are advised to contact the Promoting Excellence team for copies of the previous years' AAUT Assessment Reports.


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.