Academic Innovation Award

Award Description

One award will be presented annually to an individual or team who has developed an innovative initiative that has resulted in a sustained impact on student learning at Dalhousie. The award may be withheld if there is no suitable candidate.

An initiative shall be deemed ‘innovative’ if it makes a significantly new contribution to the student learning experience in the department(s) or Faculty(ies) involved.  The innovative initiative should be new to the department(s) or Faculty(ies) involved, although it may already be in practice at Dalhousie in another academic unit, or have been developed elsewhere in the academic community.  


Both nominators and evaluators should consider the following list of criteria. Nominees should provide evidence of an academic innovation, which can include but is not limited to:

  1. Demonstrated effectiveness of an innovation in course or curriculum design. This could include:
    • the development or application of tools or technologies that are enhancing student learning
    • the development or application of innovative teaching strategies or learning experiences that are enhancing student learning
    • the development or application of innovative assessment strategies that are enhancing student learning
    • the development of innovative curricula to support diversity, cross-cultural competencies, and enhancement of the understanding of groups who have experienced historic and ongoing disadvantage and harm
  2. Demonstrated effectiveness through a scholarly evaluation of the innovation project. This could include:
    • presentation or publication of the approach within Dalhousie or to the higher education community
    • Improved student grades, improved student recruitment/retention, increased program enrollment
    • positive student feedback, enhanced learning experience evident in student work, or the adoption of the innovation by others
    • conceptualization and evaluation of the innovation project grounded in the relevant literature
    • evidence that safer spaces were created by implementing innovative and culturally responsive pedagogies that specifically support and enhance diverse student populations’ educational experiences

This award shall normally be awarded once to any single innovation, but may be awarded more than once to a specific individual, pair, or team over the course of their career at Dalhousie. 

Value of Award

$2000 to the individual or team towards either a future innovation project related to teaching and learning or the ongoing evaluation of their current innovation. Recipients will be expected to submit a follow-up report detailing the project outcomes.

To be eligible, the award package must be complete and, at a minimum, meet the criteria for the award.

  1. Letter of nomination
  2. The nominee(s) abbreviated CV(s) (max. 4,000 words, 12pt, single-spaced, per individual)
  3. A description of the innovative approaches, contributions, and accomplishments in areas such as pedagogical frameworks, teaching methods, course design, curriculum development, assessment methods, various tools and technologies, along with a rationale as to why these contributions are considered innovative and effective in enhancing student learning. (max. 5,000 words, 12pt, single-spaced)
  4. Two letters of support from current and/or former students
  5. Two letters of support from colleagues
  6. Additional supporting materials (e.g., course descriptions, publications or presentations on the innovation, written comments from Student Learning Experience Questionnaire, student recruitment and retention data, student work, additional letters of support, etc.) (max. 10 pages)
  7. 150-word biography of nominee (to be used for communication purposes should the nominee be selected to receive the award)

Nominators should inform nominees of their nomination, providing nominees with enough time to write and compile the sections of the award file that must be written by the nominee. Nominators should collect and collate all required materials including those written by the nominee and the letters of supports to ensure confidentiality.

The nominator is responsible for submitting the award nomination package on or before the deadline. In the case of self-nominations, the self-nominator should seek a colleague to request, collect and submit letters of support on their behalf to ensure confidentiality. This colleague shall submit the letters as a separate electronic file to the Centre for Learning and Teaching.

Submission of Nomination

Full nomination packages must be submitted as one PDF.  Nominations may be submitted one of two ways:

  1. Upload the nomination online 
  2. Email the nomination to

Nominations close each year on January 31.

Selection Committee

  • Faculty Senator (elected by SLTC) – who shall chair the committee
  • Executive Director, CLT (or designate)
  • (1) Dean or Associate Dean Academic – appointed annually
  • (2) Faculty Representatives – appointed annually (from the pool of previous winners, where possible)
  • (1) Student Representative – appointed annually in consultation with the DSU