Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Biology Teaching Award for Outstanding Instructional Achievement by a Graduate Student

The Division of Biology offers an award to recognize excellence in teaching by a graduate student at the University of Tennessee. There is one award in the amount of $1000.

The competition is open to all currently enrolled graduate students recruited into the departments within the Division (BCMB, EEB, and Microbiology) and the Graduate School of Genome Science and Technology who have completed a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) assignment in the last year. Preference will be given to candidates who have taught multiple semesters and at the 100-level, but in all cases the standard will be demonstration of quality of instruction.

An application for the award shall consist of the following:


  • Cover letter describing the courses you have taught at UTK, a brief teaching philosophy, examples of your teaching philosophy in action, and why you think you should win this award (limit three pages)
  • Current curriculum vitae (including courses taught at UTK)
  • Copies of teaching evaluations and any other evidence of teaching excellence you feel would support your candidacy
  • Two letters of reference from faculty members at UTK familiar with your instruction. (See below for acceptable forms of reference letters.)  Names of references should be included with the application. 


The judging committee will be asked to evaluate applications based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of instructional commitment and excellence, as evidenced by cover letter statements, teaching evaluation results, and reference letters.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2015-2016 Awardee   Chelsi Cassilly, Microbiology
  • 2016-2017 Awardee   Cassie Dresser, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • 2017-2018 Awardee   Justin Hendy, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • 2018-2019 Awardee   Justin Westerfield, Biochemistry and Cellular & Molecular Biology