Awards for GSIs and their Faculty Mentors: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Outstanding GSI Award?
The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Award, sponsored by the Graduate Division’s GSI Teaching & Resource Center, gives campuswide recognition to excellence in teaching by graduate student instructors (GSIs). Certificates of distinction and a spring award ceremony honor the recipients.
Who is eligible for the OGSI Award?
All GSIs are eligible; however, GSIs may receive this campus award only once during their graduate studies at UC Berkeley
How are GSIs selected for the OGSI Award?
Each spring the GSI Teaching & Resource Center sends guidelines for the award and a call for nominations to departments. Each department is asked to establish criteria and decide upon the evidence and procedures it will use to determine the award. Criteria may include overall effectiveness as an instructor; capacity to promote critical thinking; skills in presenting course material; utilization of pedagogically effective approaches such as collaborative learning, problem-based learning, or community-based learning; and several others. The evidence upon which departments base their decisions may include such things as end-of-semester student evaluations of GSIs, letters from students or faculty mentors, classroom observations conducted by faculty, and teaching portfolios. For a fuller list of possible criteria and the evidence on which departmental evaluations are made, visit our OGSI home page.
How many GSIs can a department nominate?
Departments may nominate up to 10% of their total number of active GSIs in a given year.
What is the Teaching Effectiveness Award, and how is it different from the OGSI Award?
All OGSI recipients from the current and previous year are eligible to apply for the Teaching Effectiveness Award (TEA), but only a small number of those applicants are chosen for the award. An OGSI Award honors a GSI’s overall performance as judged by the GSI’s teaching department; the TEA recognizes particularly effective teaching strategies that an OGSI recipient has executed and is judged by the members of the Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs, a faculty subcommittee of the Academic Senate’s Graduate Council.
How are recipients of the TEA selected?
Applicants for the TEA write a one-page essay explaining a particular problem they identified in their teaching, the intervention they created to address the problem, and how they assessed the effectiveness of their intervention. These essays are then evaluated by the Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs, which selects up to fourteen each year for the TEA. Recipients of the TEA receive a $300 award and are honored at an award reception. The Teaching Effectiveness Award essays are published on the GSI Center website.
What is the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs?
The Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs was established in 1999 to acknowledge the work that faculty do in mentoring GSIs. As evidenced by the Graduate Council’s Policy on the Appointment and Mentoring of GSIs (pdf), which as of 1996 laid out expectations and standards for faculty mentorship of GSIs, UC Berkeley was one of the first universities in the country to understand the important role that faculty play in ensuring that GSIs are well prepared for teaching. The Graduate Council’s Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs established the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs to acknowledge this important work.
How do faculty get selected for the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs?
At the beginning of the spring semester, guidelines for the faculty mentorship award and a call for nominations are forwarded to all graduate students. Current and former GSIs submit letters – either individually or as a group – describing the particular mentoring contributions made by the faculty member and a rationale for why the faculty member should receive the award. The Graduate Council’s Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs reviews the nominations and selects the recipients of the award based on the GSI nominations. Faculty recipients are presented with the award in late April.
Who has won it in the past?
Dozens of UC Berkeley faculty members, going back to 1999. Please see the list of all recipients of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs.
Each faculty member selected by the Committee is asked to submit a one- to two-page statement describing his or her mentoring philosophy and the steps he or she has taken to mentor GSIs. These statements of mentoring philosophy are posted on the GSI Center website as a resource for other faculty members.