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Preparing a teaching dossier for a teaching award

A teaching dossier helps the award committee learn about your major teaching accomplishments and your contributions to the univeristy around teaching and learning. 

Once you have been nominated for a teaching award, you are required to prepare a teaching dossier to showcase your teaching excellence. A teaching dossier is a collection of descriptions about teaching and learning activities and sample materials that serve as evidence of teaching effectiveness. A strong dossier presents a well-curated sample of evidence that aligns with the narrative of the descriptions, Teaching statement and letters of support.

Tips for preparing a Teaching Dossier for an award

Committee members reviewing your dossier want to understand why you have been nominated and what makes you stand out as an educator. They want to understand your philosophy or approach to teaching and see evidence of a positive impact on students and learning. They are also looking at your dossier with the evaluation criteria in mind. This is why it is important to carefully review the requirements for the award for which you have been nominated and align your dossier with this in mind. 

As you get started putting your dossier together, keep in mind the following tips:

1. Carefully review the award requirements and criteria

Different awards have different requirements for submission. This is sometimes because some awards place emphasis on different aspects of teaching. For example, some awards do not require submission of course evaluations.

2. Construct a Narrative

As you write your teaching statement and the other sections of the dossier, focus on a few key ideas that describe your philosophy and approach that ground all the other sections of your dossier. This will result in a cohesive and focused dossier.

3. Organize your Dossier into sections

Using headings and subheadings to make the document more readable. Use a table of contents and, if possible, hyperlink your table of contents to the associated sections of your dossier.

4. Limit the number of documents you present as evidence

It’s important to curate a limited number of documents that showcase the breadth of your teaching and leadership. Keep the dossier focused on supporting the narrative of your teaching and leadership statements with key evidence. When a dossier is too big, reviewers may only skim documents, and some important items could be overlooked.

5. Only attach files in the appendices that you specifically refer to in your dossier

Context is important when reviewers are examining documents. Be sure to refer to these documents specifically in the dossier text and hyperlink to the appendix where possible.

6. Submit only one PDF file

Put all files together into one PDF document. When you submit multiple files as part of your submission, you run the risk of one or more files being left out or overlooked.

Assembling a Teaching Dossier

Depending on your faculty or the award for which you have been nominated, there will be specific requirements for your submission. Therefore, the following sections may or may not be required as part of your submission package. Please check the specific criteria for the award for which you have been nominated.

Letters of Support/ Nomination Letters

The letters of support should provide insight into the teaching and professional activities of the nominee. They should provide a rationale for why you have been nominated backed by details and examples.

Depending on the award, there may be different requirements about how many nominations are required and who can nominate.

Letters from students


These letters should outline why the instructor is nominated and provide specific examples of how the nominee demonstrates excellence in teaching and discuss their impact on the student’s learning.

Letters from colleagues

These letters should speak to the nominee’s work in teaching leadership and how they have contributed to improve courses and teaching within the department or unit. These may speak to membership on committees, project work or other relevant work related to teaching at the university. They might also include details about collaboration on teaching-related work, the sharing of exemplary teaching materials or a peer review of teaching. It is imperative that colleagues writing a nomination do not rely on reputation, but rather describe direct experience with the nominee through collaboration, sharing, mentoring or other teaching-related activities.

Letters from administrators

(in the case of PETA or external awards)

In the case of the President's Excellence in Teaching Award (PETA) or dossier preparation for external awards, it is appropriate to have an administrator (i.e. Chair, Dean) write a letter of endorsement. This letter should list specific examples of the personal contributions the nominee has made and describe the value of the nominee to the department, faculty and the university at large.

Teaching-related Activities

This section is optional depending on the requirements for individual awards.

This section should list all the courses taught over the last two to five years. For each course, give a brief description of your approach to teaching the course, any significant changes you made to improve the course and any innovations you implemented.

You should also include other teaching-related activities in this section, such as the supervision of graduate students, involvement in capstone projects, competitions, etc.

Educational Leadership Activities

This section is optional depending on the award and the nominee’s activities. It could also alternatively appear as a sub-heading in the above section (Summary of Teaching-Related Activities).

The purpose of this section is to provide evidence that you are engaged in and contribute to initiatives at the department/faculty/institutional/national level to enhance student learning and promote teaching excellence. 

  • Any supervisory positions (e.g. Course Coordinator)
  • Work on projects or committees related to teaching and learning
  • Mentorships (as the mentor)
  • Articles published related to teaching and learning
  • Peer observations of a colleague’s teaching
  • Talks, workshops, etc. given on the topic of teaching and learning
  • Sharing of innovative or exemplary teaching resources or materials with colleagues
  • Engagement with the CTL and/or teaching and learning organizations outside the university
  • Activities related to curriculum and program development. For example: development or revamping of courses, program evaluation and other projects (not mentioned in the previous section)

Professional Development

You should list all professional development activities related to teaching from the past 3-5 years. This could include participation in:

  • Online and face-to-face workshops, courses, talks, seminars related to teaching and learning attended
  • Mentorships (as the mentee)
  • Consultations with the CTL or other offices or organizations to improve teaching, courses, etc.

Proof of attendance is not required for all activities, but do provide confirmations of registration, certificates of attendance, etc. where available. These should be included in a separate Appendix.

Teaching Statement

Refer to the specific award requirements for the page limit.

The Teaching Statement is not a summary of your teaching or other achievements, but rather it is a document that discusses your beliefs about how learning happens and how you approach teaching, with specific examples, based on these beliefs. It also includes a discussion about your approach to assessments and how you make your courses inclusive.

Refer to our Writing a teaching statement page for more information and guidance.

Educational Leadership Statement (optional depending on award)

This section is optional depending on the award and the nominee’s activities. It could also alternatively appear as a sub-heading or paragraph in the Teaching Statement.

The purpose of the Educational Leadership Statement is for you to reflect on your educational leadership and the impact you have had on key stakeholders (e.g. students, department, programs, etc.). Kenney and Berenson (2016) suggest organizing your statement into three sections: 1) educational leadership activities and initiatives, 2) impact and influence, and 3) future aspirations.

For more information on writing an Educational Leadership Statement, refer to the University of Calgary Taylor Institute’s Writing an Educational Leadership Philosophy Statement.

Evidence of Teaching Excellence

This section is a set of documents that will demonstrate consistent excellence in teaching. The documents should align to show how your teaching philosophy is enacted through your teaching practice. They should provide insight into your teaching and your work related to the development of teaching and learning.

The documents should be curated to showcase excellence, innovation and leadership, and be limited to the best 4-6 documents

This section should include:

1)    Four to six artefacts that demonstrate the enactment of the teaching beliefs and approaches highlighted in the Teaching Statement and nomination letters.

2)    A brief overview that puts each piece of evidence into context and explains how this demonstrates excellence in teaching (3 pages maximum)

The evidence can take many forms depending on the award for which you have been nominated and what practices you are highlighting.  The following list provides some items that could serve as evidence of teaching excellence.

  • Lesson plans
  • Course Syllabi (ensure to highlight how the syllabus serves as evidence)
  • Descriptions of innovative course assignments (or other assessments)
  • Letters of endorsement from students specifying the impact you have had on their learning (limit of 3)
  • Examples of students work
  • Examples (or descriptions) of teaching resources you developed that you have shared with other faculty for use in their courses (e.g. lesson plans, handouts, diagrams, rubrics, videos, assignments, activities, etc.)
  • Evidence of a creative or innovative practice (description or reflection of the practice and how it was implemented)
  • Evidence of impact on learning (e.g. student testimonials, sample of student work)
  • Classroom observation notes from CTL staff or a colleague
  • Selected course evaluation or mid-course course survey results & comments
  • Evidence of being a reflective practitioner (e.g. teaching reflections, journal entries, mid-course evaluations with descriptions of how you changed your practice based on feedback)

Course Evaluations Summary

This section is optional depending on the award. Not all teaching awards use teaching evaluations as a measure of excellence. However, some awards require the inclusion of evaluations.

The Summary of Course evaluations is a one-page table that provides data on course evaluation for the five most important questions related to teaching and teacher effectiveness for all courses within the past 2-5 years.

The chart below is one example of how to present a summary of teaching evaluations could be presented.

Dossier Contents Checklist



Nomination letters & letters of support


Copies of the letters required for the specific award.

*Do not include additional letters in this section.

Teaching-related activities

2-5 pages


  • A list of courses taught in the last 2-4 years with a brief summary of pedagogical approach.
  • A list of all graduate supervision and involvement in other teaching activities such as capstone projects, competitions, etc.

Educational leadership activies

1 page

A list with a brief explanation of all activities from the past 2-5 years.

*Only required for certain awards.

Professional development

1 page

A list of all face-to-face and online PD activities related to teaching.

*You may provide evidence of participation in a separate Appendix. 

Teaching statement

1-4 pages

Include descriptions of

  • Your beliefs about learning
  • Your teaching and assessment methods and how they align with your beliefs about learning
  • Goals you have for your students

Refer to our Writing a teaching statement page for more information and guidance.

Educational leadership statement

1-2 pages

A reflection on your educational leadership and the impact you have had on key stakeholders. (See The University of Calgary's Writing a Educational Leadership Philosophy Statement)

*You may provide evidence of participation in a separate Appendix. 

Evidence of teaching excellence


This section serves as support for the letters of support and the Teaching statement.
  1. Select the 5-8 artefacts that best demonstrate the core approaches described in your teaching statement and letters of support.
  2. A brief summary of each of the artefacts that explains how they align with your philosophy and demonstrate excellence and/or innovation in teaching.       

Course Evaluations

1 page summary

This is a one-page summary in a table format that includes your class mean of about five questions from course evaluations over the past 2-5 years.



Create separate appendices for different kinds of documents. Clearly label Appendices and only include items that have been referred to elsewhere in the dossier.

It is important to include context for every document.

For assistance developing your dossier, or feedback on your dossier, contact the CTL for a consultation.


Kenny, N. & Berenson, C. (2018) Writing an Educational Leadership Statement. Retrieved March , 2021 from:


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