Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) Award

Call for Proposals: Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) Award

Deadline: Extended to Monday January 22, 2018

Have you ever had that moment in the classroom when your students finally grasp a difficult concept and you know that all of your hard work and planning has paid off? The Teaching Support Centre wants to recognize and reward outstanding Teaching Assistants for their commitment to undergraduate student learning!     

The Teaching Support Centre selects the winners of the GIFT Award from a competitive pool of proposals submitted by graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. Each proposal provides a summary of an in-class activity, creative assignment, or another strategy that supports undergraduate student learning. Great proposals describe a course- or discipline-specific teaching idea but also include thoughts on how the strategy could be modified for use in other disciplines.

The winners will demonstrate their innovative teaching method to other Western grads and postdocs from across disciplines at a Future Professor Workshop on the morning of February 9th, 2018.


  • A teaching award looks great on a CV and Teaching Dossier - especially when applying for future teaching positions.
  • By presenting their “Great Idea” at a Future Professor workshop, winners have the chance to share successful teaching methods with other graduate student instructors
  • Winners receive a $100 gift certificate to the Western Bookstore or Hospitality Services.


Prepare and submit a 1-2 page summary of your teaching idea, including the following details:

  • A description of the intended audience (e.g., discipline, department, course, level)  
  • Learning outcomes (i.e., what the students will know or be able to do at the end of the lesson)
  • A lesson outline, including required time and resources
  • An explanation of any core concepts covered in the lesson
  • Your name, department, and contact information

Note: Winners must be available on February 9th to present their Great Idea.

Submit your proposal to Karyn Olsen at 



Kathy Asari, Department of French Studies

Candace Brunette-Debassige, Faculty of Education

Heather Church, Faculty of Health Sciences (youtube)


Ana Boller, Modern Languages and Literatures

Diana Fernandez, Modern Languages and Literatures

Arwen Johns, Anthropology

Runner-up: Shrikaar Kambhampati, Mandana Miri, and Keegan Leckie, Biology


Lisette Farias Vera, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Natalya Domina, Comparative Literature

Shrikaar Kamphampati, Christina Catellani, and Alanna Edge, Biology


Jenna Butler, Computer Science

Kristen Colbeck, Faculty of Information and Media Studies

Lisa Cossy and Leichelle Little, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Runner-Up: Allen O'Hara, Mathematics


Acting out Algorithms - A "hands-on" approach to teaching Computer Science (pdf) - Jenna Butler

Stimulating Student Learning in Breadth Courses (pdf) - Chelsea Hicks

Photo-Reflection Assignments (pdf) - Beth Hundey


Winners and Runners-up (pdf)


Virtual Virtuality (pdf) - Jennifer Martin

The Question Game (pdf) - Angel Petropanagos

Post-it Empowered (pdf) - Megan Popovic


The Medium is Still the Message: Generation Text Meets Marshall McLuhan (pdf) - Mike Arntfield

Fossil Analogies: Correlating Primate Behaviour and Morphology (pdf) - Zoe Morris

Art Theory Review Pie (pdf) - Helen Parkinson


The World Café Comes to Western (pdf)– Megan Popovic

Rethinking Multi-Media (pdf) – Mike Arntfield

“Webmindful(l)”: Building Web Resource Evaluation Skills (pdf) – Elan Paulson


The Traveling Discussion (pdf) – Suzanne Fox

Vocabulary Relay Race (pdf) - Lauren Keys