Distinguished Teaching Award

The Cape Breton University (CBU) Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award is funded and administrated by the CBU Alumni Association.


Nominees must be full-time members of the CBU teaching faculty and staff, with an assignment commensurate with their appointment (NSGEU vs. CBUFA; Schedule B, research active vs. inactive, etc.). This includes full-time, continuing, lab instructors, but not Deans or those currently at higher levels of Administration. Previous award winners are ineligible for a period of 5 years from the date of their initial award.


This award recognizes excellence in university teaching over a number of years, primarily at the undergraduate level.

An individual nominated for this award will be characterized by a proven commitment to enhanced student engagement and learning, a reflective and intentional approach to teaching practices, and dedication to teaching improvement. The following list, which aligns with the criteria for the regional AAU Distinguished Teaching Award, reflects ten significant criteria of distinguished teaching:

  • demonstrates knowledge of the teaching and learning process;
  • demonstrates the capacity to arouse learner interest in the subject;
  • prepares and organizes thoroughly for classes, labs, or tutorials;
  • develops and communicates clearly student learning outcomes, course requirements and pathways to success;
  • challenges students to achieve learning outcomes and to develop critical thinking and problem solving abilities;
  • develops rapport with learners;
  • uses approaches to teaching and evaluation of learning that respect diverse student learning needs;
  • uses assessment methods that are aligned with learning outcomes and instructional approaches;
  • encourages student participation in the learning process; and
  • demonstrates reflective teaching, for example by:
    • engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and using research to adapt and develop teaching practice and inform course development
    • sharing good practice with others through workshops, presentations, or publications on teaching and learning, or
    • participating in professional development activities to enhance teaching practice.

Nomination Process

Students are eligible to submit a nomination for this award; although alumni and faculty/staff may offer support. The completed nomination form (see below) should be sent electronically to Stephanie MacDougall at Stephanie_MacDougall@cbu.ca.

Subsequent to the Alumni Association Officer receiving a nomination, the nomination will be acknowledged (via email reply) and the Alumni Association Officer will then contact the nominee directly to initiate the formal dossier process. This process will be done in confidence, not identifying the nominators to the nominee.

Nominees are then responsible to provide the following documentation as their award nomination dossier.

  •  An abbreviated CV (maximum 5 pages) that highlights the nominees achievements in teaching and learning, such as course development, instructional strategies, workshop presentations or publishing on teaching and learning;
  • A Teaching Philosophy (1-2 pages), which is signed and dated by the nominee;
  • Evidence of Excellence in Teaching (how they implement their teaching philosophy, which may include course syllabi, learning activities developed, assessment strategies used);
  • A selection of standard student course evaluations (at a minimum, evaluations from 5 courses, taught over the past 3 years, which represent teaching across a variety of levels);
  • A letter of support from the relevant Dean or Department Chair, designating the nominee’s major strengths as a teacher.

 The completed nomination dossier should be sent electronically to Stephanie MacDougall at Stephanie_MacDougall@cbu.ca .  All material provided will be held in the strictest confidence by the Alumni Association and its selection committee, and will be destroyed when the adjudication process is complete.

 Selection Committee

The Selection Committee for this award, appointed by the Alumni Association Board of Directors on a yearly basis, will be comprised of 6 individuals:

  1. Two alumni members designated by the Association.
  2. One current CBU student.
  3. One member of the President’s Council on Teaching and Learning.
  4. The Manager of the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
  5. One previous winner of the AAU Distinguished Teacher award or a 3M National Teaching Fellowship.

None of the committee members may have been a nominator for this award in the current year. The Alumni Association Officer is not a member of the selection committee, but facilitates the nomination and selection process. In the event there is a tie, the Alumni Association President will cast a deciding vote; however, more than one recipient may be deemed the award winner in any given year.

For more information please contact Stephanie MacDougall by calling (902)563-1199.