Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award


The Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award was created to honor individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to GW teaching and to recognize the important contribution our graduate students make to the educational process. President Stephen J. Trachtenberg and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald R. Lehman established the Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Assistants Awards for Outstanding Teaching in 2003. Winners will be selected by a committee and receive $500 for professional development.


Award Criteria

This award is conferred to Graduate Assistants (GAs) who will have had at least three semesters of GA experience by the end of the fall semester; Instructional Assistants are eligible for this award if their work has been in a teaching capacity. Nominated GAs/IAs must have outstanding evaluations from their students and their supervising professors, as well as outstanding academic work. Winners will be selected based on the following qualities:

  • Enthusiasm, effectiveness, and commitment to improvement of the teaching and learning process.
  • Ability to engage and inspire students both within and outside the classroom.
  • High standards of professionalism and collegiality.
  • Commitment to the educational enterprise of the University.

Selection Process

GAs may be nominated by any GW student or faculty member. Departments or programs that appoint Graduate Assistants may also nominate or support candidates by submitting the following materials electronically as a single PDF document:

  • Letter of nomination (1–2 pages) from a faculty mentor or supervisor detailing the GA’s accomplishments.
  • Letter of support from the department chair, program director, or second faculty sponsor (1–2 pages).
  • Students’ comments on the GA’s semester feedback, with numerical ratings where available summarized in a table (maximum of five pages).
  • Letters of support from one to five students (1–2 pages each).
  • Unofficial GW transcript of graduate work.
  • Additional evidence of teaching effectiveness and the GA’s contributions to the department or program (e.g., educational materials created; ten pages maximum).

The entire dossier should be a minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 30; material beyond the 30-page limit will not be considered. Letters need not be on letterhead nor signed by hand; typed signatures are acceptable but must be accompanied with complete contact information in the letter. To obtain a full review from the selection committee, dossiers should be strong, complete, and concise.

*Nomination materials will not be returned*

Award winners will be selected by a committee consisting of past winners, faculty, and a Faculty Advisory Board member of the Office of Faculty Affairs. The recipients will be honored at the Faculty Honors Ceremony during the Spring semester.


Nominations for 2017-2018 Faculty Awards will be open from October 11th through November 26th. Submission packets from candidates endorsed by their department are due to Aaron Kramer by January 25th

Please contact Aaron Kramer (202-994-5884; [email protected]) with any questions.

List of previous winners of the Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award