We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Centre for Academic, Researcher & Organisation Development

Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards

General guidance


Durham is committed to excellence in education and research and the University places equal value and esteem on both goals. It has a long tradition of research-led teaching and the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards recognise and reward individuals or groups of staff who have made an outstanding contribution to learning and teaching at Durham. The award is restricted to staff engaged in learning and teaching on taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Separate awards are made for excellence in doctoral supervision.

A total of £9000 is available for these awards and a minimum of 3 awards are made per year. This may be taken as income (subject to tax and national insurance) or placed in a departmental account at the start of the financial year (August) which can be drawn on to support academic activities during the following academic year or divided between these two uses.

In 2017, one of these awards will be reserved for an individual (or team) who is making a significant contribution to the student learning experience through the innovative use of technology.


In order to be eligible, staff should normally have taught at the University for at least two years and not have won an award in the five years prior to making the application. All staff with a significant teaching role can be nominated, irrespective of whether they are academic or support staff or full-time or part-time. Staff of Durham's partner institutions teaching on programmes leading to a Durham award are also eligible. Joint nominations of teaching teams will be welcomed, whether they are within the same department or, if appropriate, different ones.


Nominations can be made by students who have been taught by the staff member in the previous four years and feel that the teaching and associated learning was excellent and by academic colleagues with a knowledge and understanding of the nominee's contribution to raising the profile of learning and teaching.

All applications must include at least four student nominations.

Nominations, including those by students and colleagues, should not exceed 10 sides in total.

Personal statements

Scope of Activity

You are asked to comment on you activities in the following 5 areas of activity,

  1. Professional learning – what teaching-related workshops and seminars have you obtained, what teaching qualifications have you obtained or are you furthering?
  2. Student Engagement – how do you ensure student engagement in face – to – face teaching, or if appropriate distance and/or online, comment on your student support activities and the feedback to provide to students, you may also wish to comment of your supervisor practice and undergraduate, pgt and pgr levels.
  3. Curriculum Development – what have done in terms of developing resources for courses/modules, have you been involved in curriculum review, Have you been involved in design or innovation within a module or course, How do you evaluate your effectiveness as a teacher?
  4. Research and scholarship – this is in relation to learning and teaching. You may also add comments on how your research and scholarship feeds into your ‘research-led’ teaching at Durham
  5. Leadership and Collaboration – outline work you have done on mentoring colleagues, governance (e.g. chairing boards of examiners etc), engagement in Peer review, course accreditation and external examining at the undergraduate and pgt level.

Sphere of Influence

Please indicate how you have supported colleagues and influenced support for student learning within (and if appropriate beyond) Durham, through demonstrating impact and engagement beyond your immediate academic or professional role by, for example:

  • contributing to the development of colleagues to promote student learning;
  • contributing to departmental/faculty/institutional/national initiatives to facilitate student learning.

Source of Evidence

You should provide some evidence of excellence in teaching practice. Three sources of evidence for evaluating teaching excellence are available, namely,

  • Personal – Evidence of reflective practice, evidence of engagement with educational literature and/or theory, e.g. how a teaching philosophy / theory informs your practice
  • Students – Clearly student value your teaching by nominating you, what other evaluative evidence do you have enhancing student achievements. How do you student evaluation scores compare with the School / Department average?
  • Peers – Evidence of recognition by colleagues, head of department / school, external examiner. May also include peer observation and peer reviews of curriculum development.

Personal statements should not be more than 3000 words.

The statements of the successful candidates will be published on the CAROD website as exemplars of good practice in teaching and supporting student learning.


Applications should include:

  • Nominations by students (mandatory)
  • Nominations by colleagues (optional)
  • A personal statement

Applications should be accompanied by:

  • A supporting statement from the relevant Head of Department;
  • A brief CV (maximum one side of A4) indicating the range of teaching and learning in which nominees are currently engaged, how long they have been teaching at Durham or, in the case of staff from partner institutions, teaching on programmes leading to Durham awards, and any previous experience of teaching and supporting learning;
  • Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form;
  • Allocation of award form.

Application forms can be obtained from Mr Paul Finley, Centre for Academic, Researcher and Organisation Development (CAROD) Completed applications should be sent to a single email, in accordance with the timetable set out below.

Review of applications

Applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of:

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) (Chair);

The Pro-Vice-Chancellors of each of the three Faculties, or their nominees;

Three student representatives nominated by DSU;

One current Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award holder;

An external member (usually a National Teaching Fellow).


The timetable for the awards will be:

Deadline for receipt of applications End of Epiphany Term (23 March 2018)
Review panel meeting April/May
Announcement to winners May
Formal announcement via Senate

June Senate

Presentation of Awards at Summer Congregation and examples of successful personal statements will be made available via the CAROD website.