The Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Award honors UC Berkeley GSIs each year for their outstanding work in teaching on the Berkeley campus. These OGSI recipients are nominated from within their teaching department. The GSI Teaching & Resource Center provides the award recipients certificates of distinction. Though the GSI Center is unable to host a reception this spring due to the pandemic, we plan to continue this celebratory practice in the future.

Criteria for the Award
Selection Procedure
Number of Awardees
Online Submission Procedure
Recognition of Outstanding GSIs
Recipients of the OGSI Award

Criteria for the Award

Each department is asked to establish criteria and decide upon the evidence that it will use to determine the award. Criteria may include the following:

  • overall effectiveness as an instructor
  • ability to create inclusive learning environments
  • capacity to promote critical thinking
  • skills in presenting course material
  • utilization of pedagogically effective approaches, for example, collaborative learning, problem-based learning, or community-based learning
  • skills in developing course materials that promote learning, for example, course syllabi, website, essay or exam questions, paper topics
  • command of the subject area
  • ability to motivate students
  • engagement in departmental and campuswide activities that enhance teaching and learning

Evidence upon which to base the award may include the following:

  • evaluations submitted by students
  • letters of nomination by faculty or students
  • classroom observations by faculty
  • documentation of teaching excellence submitted by GSIs (e.g., course materials, a statement of teaching philosophy, a teaching portfolio)

Selection Procedure

Each department should formalize its selection procedures. We recommend the following process to select Outstanding Graduate Student Instructors:

  • Set up a committee and determine criteria and evidence that the department will use to select the award nominees. (You will be asked to enter the criteria and evidence your department used when you submit your nominations.)
  • Invite faculty, GSIs, and undergraduate students to nominate candidates on a special form stating their reasons for nominating the GSI.
  • Invite GSIs to submit materials that document their teaching, for example, course materials, a statement of teaching philosophy, or a teaching portfolio.
  • Have the departmental committee review all submitted materials and select nominees according to the established criteria.
  • Forward the names of the GSIs nominated for the award to the chair, vice chair, or dean for endorsement.
  • Send name and email address of departmental contact person to the GSI Teaching & Resource Center ( to obtain the password needed to access the online submission form (if you have not already done so).
  • Using the online submission form (see “Online Submission Procedure” below), and the Excel spreadsheet template, submit information about the nominees and the criteria, evidence, and selection procedures used to determine the nominees.
  • Submission deadline is Monday, March 14, 2022.

After you have received confirmation from the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, please inform the recipients that they have been selected for the award and make their names known to faculty and GSIs in the department.

Number of Awardees

All departments are eligible to nominate at least one outstanding GSI. Departments with large numbers of GSIs may nominate up to 10% of the GSIs appointed by the department during the academic year.

Please note that the number of nominees is based on the number of discrete individuals appointed, not on the number of GSI positions, as one individual could hold two GSI positions in the academic year. Nominees must not exceed 10% of the total number of individuals appointed as GSIs in spring 2021 and fall 2021. (Summer GSIs may be nominated, but the total number of slots will be based on spring 2021 and fall 2021 hiring).

Please also note the following: Given changing patterns in the number of graduate students in different programs and increasing numbers of undergraduates, an increasing number of graduate students are teaching in departments other than their home department. These GSIs are often overlooked when departments make decisions about their Outstanding GSI Award nominees. Upon the advice of the Graduate Council Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs, departments are asked to consider all GSIs who have taught in the department for the award without regard to the academic program in which the GSI is enrolled.

Only those GSIs who have demonstrated outstanding skills in teaching should be nominated. Some departments may wish to nominate fewer than 10% of their GSIs.

Because some of the evidence upon which you may wish to select the nominees such as end-of-semester evaluations is not available by mid-March, departments should base the award on teaching done in spring 2021, summer 2021, and fall 2021. Please email the GSI Teaching & Resource Center ( if you have any questions.

GSIs may only receive the award once during their studies at Berkeley. In the event that a GSI is nominated simultaneously by the home department and another teaching department, the GSI’s name will appear on the home department’s list. A GSI being nominated for teaching done in a cross-listed course should be put forward by the department that appointed the GSI.


Online Submission Procedure

  1. Using this OGSI Departmental Contact Information form, the department should submit the name and email address of a contact person to the GSI Teaching & Resource Center ( no later than February 15. We will provide that person the password needed to access the online submission form. The contact person will be the department’s liaison for communicating with the GSI Teaching & Resource Center about the awards. Notifications and certificates will be sent to the departmental contact person.
  2. By March 14, the OGSI Departmental Contact should use the OGSI Online Submission Form to submit this year’s OGSI Award nominees. The contact person will be asked to enter information about the nominees along with the criteria, evidence, and selection procedures used by the department in choosing nominees.

Go to Online Submission Form 

Download Excel Spreadsheet Template

If a department submits nominations after the deadline, the GSIs may be prevented from submitting a Teaching Effectiveness Award application, and the names of the GSIs may not appear in the Outstanding GSI Award reception program.

Recognition of Outstanding GSIs

Several departments have established traditions for honoring GSIs who receive this award. For example, some distribute awards at commencement ceremonies, in special departmental gatherings, or at luncheons held to recognize the achievements of these GSIs. Other departments display the names and photographs of recipients in the department office or on the departmental Web site. In some departments, cash awards are given. Departments may also honor outstanding GSIs by including past recipients of the award on the departmental selection committee. Please let us know of your department’s traditions regarding this award.

Recipients of the OGSI Award