Call for nominations: Distinguished Teacher Award 2023

21 May 2024 | Acting DVC Emer Prof Linda Ronnie

Dear colleagues and students

Nominations for the Distinguished Teacher Award for 2023 are now open.

The Distinguished Teacher Award is the highest accolade awarded to teaching staff at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Through the award, the university recognises and celebrates excellent teaching and transformed practice, and acknowledges the primary place of teaching and learning in the institution’s work.

Each year the Distinguished Teacher Award Committee considers nominations made by students and staff on behalf of a number of excellent teachers. The committee examines each submission in detail in accordance with a carefully devised rubric, terms of reference and set of criteria.

Nominations and eligibility

In order to be considered for the award, the committee will accept a nomination submitted by students and/or members of the academic staff.

Academic members of staff who have taught at UCT for a minimum period of five full-time years while on academic conditions of service are eligible for nomination.

Nominations must broadly address the criteria cited below. Nominations that do not speak to how the nominee meets the criteria will be returned to the nominator for resubmission.

All nominees will be consulted to confirm acceptance.


The following are the criteria used to adjudicate the award:

  • the nominee’s teaching philosophy and how their pedagogical approach addresses teaching and learning challenges at UCT and beyond
  • the nominee’s contribution to curriculum renewal and transformation in teaching and learning
  • the nominee’s impact on students beyond formal teaching time
  • the nominee’s impact on the teaching and learning approaches of colleagues, through for example, collaboration, sharing of best practice, and leading continuous professional learning
  • the nominee’s understanding and practice of inclusivity in their teaching and engagement with students, including how they foster an inclusive environment and accommodate diverse learners
  • the nominee’s reflection on their teaching practice and how they have engaged with and adapted this in response to student and colleague feedback.

They are also encouraged to submit a reflection on their scholarship of teaching and learning, including any relevant publications, conference attendance, external engagements and research projects.

Nominee portfolio

The committee examines each nominee’s portfolio for evidence of how they meet the criteria.

The committee requires that the teaching portfolio is submitted electronically and is no more than 25 pages (excluding appendices).

Student feedback is a mandatory requirement for all submissions

Submissions that do not refer to the criteria or do not include student feedback will be returned to nominees.

Evidence for the nominee’s contribution to teaching and learning at UCT and demonstration of excellent teaching practice will be provided by nominees electronically in appendices to the portfolio. The appendices may be no more than 50 pages. The following includes types of evidence that is evaluated by the committee:

  • contributions to curriculum change, including engaging with debates on decolonisation of the curriculum
  • contributions to improving student success (reducing the achievement gap, reducing the articulation gap) and improving the student experience
  • mentorship of colleagues
  • participation in teaching and learning committees
  • leadership or participation in curriculum development teams and/or teaching development projects
  • example of and reflection on innovative teaching design/practice
  • evidence of having served as an external examiner for courses or programmes at other universities, with the nominee’s reference to such evidence to include a reflection on how experiences gained through external examining has influenced and enhanced the nominee’s own teaching practice, fostering a cycle of continuous improvement and innovation
  • external teaching and learning activities outside of the nominee’s home academic department
  • a list of publications related to student learning and/or the practice of teaching in higher education.

The Distinguished Teacher Award Committee may recommend up to a maximum of four recipients per year, and the awards are formally announced at an appropriate celebration. A purse is attached to the award.

We respectfully inform all nominees that the decision of the committee is final. We appreciate your understanding that no appeals or requests for reconsideration of nominations in the current cycle can be considered.

Nominations deadline

Please submit nominations to the committee by 3 June 2024.

Once they accept the nomination, nominees will have until 31 July 2024 to submit a portfolio.

The outcomes of the adjudication process are announced in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Past awardees can be accessed on the Distinguished Teacher Award page on the UCT website.


Emer Prof Linda Ronnie
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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