Presidential Teaching Awards for Graduate Student Instructors (Teaching Assistants)


Three graduate student instructor (teaching assistant) recipients are recognized each year during the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Convocation ceremony in May. Winners receive a certificate signed by President Bollinger, a formal citation written by their department, and an honorarium of $8,000. Additionally, the winners may also be recognized in University-wide and departmental publications.

Click here to view 2017 graduate student instructor (teaching assistant) winners.

Click here to view prior graduate student instructor (teaching assistant) winners.

Selection Process

The selection process begins with an open nominations period when anyone in the Columbia community (anyone with an active Columbia UNI) can nominate an eligible graduate student instructor (teaching assistant).

Nominations for graduate student instructors (TAs) can be submitted here: Nominations will be accepted until the deadline of 5pm on February 1, 2018.

The Selection Committee reviews all nominations, requests dossiers for a pool of finalists they wish to consider for the award, and ultimately selects 3 winners to recommend to President Bollinger.

The Selection Committee is comprised of 5-8 prior faculty and student award winners. There is representation from both the Medical Center and Morningside campuses, as well as across disciplines. Information about the current Selection Committee can be found here.

Eligibility requirements

  • While Columbia is fortunate to have a relationship with both Barnard and Teacher’s College that permits students to experience a wide range of teaching excellence, graduate student instructors (teaching assistants) at Barnard and Teacher’s College are not eligible for the Presidential Teaching Awards.
  • To be eligible for this award, graduate student instructors (teaching assistants) must be appointed in an instructional* role, and currently enrolled in a degree program at the University. They do not, however, need to be teaching in the year in which they are nominated.
  • This award is bestowed as once in a lifetime achievement. Past winners are not eligible to receive a second award.



*Instructional roles include: teaching assistants, preceptors, readers, graders, and teaching fellows. Students appointed in a casual, administrative, or other non-instructional role are not eligible to be nominated for or receive a teaching award, even if they engage in teaching-related activities.