AAUT Citation Applicants' Tip Sheet

This sheet provides advice on preparing the written statement required for an Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT) Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. You may want to print it out to keep beside you as you draft your statement.

The Nomination Instructions state, “This component is limited to four A4 pages and describes the nominee’s contribution to student learning in line with the selected criterion, providing evidence to support claims.”

The written statement should have the following components, which must be presented in this order:

  1. proposed Citation (maximum 25 words), describing the distinctive contribution of the nominee
  2. overview of a particular contribution and its specific context
  3. statement addressing chosen selection criterion and statement providing evidence for the ways in which the contribution has:
    • influenced student learning, engagement and/or the overall student experience
    • been recognised by fellow staff, the institution, and/or the broader community
    • been sustained over time for a period of no less than 3 years (2 years for Early Career nominations).”
  4. reference list to be included wihtin the four pages with a preferred recgonised reference style used throughout.

Evidence

Component 4 of the statement requires you to present evidence that your contribution has been effective from the point of view of both students and fellow professionals. If you are uncertain how to go about gathering this evidence, go to the Evaluating Teaching page of the Teaching Gateway for links to a very useful set of pages about obtaining feedback on your teaching.

Content

1. Proposed Citation (maximum 25 words)

  • Begin the proposed citation with the words “This citation is for...” or (if word-count is tight) “For...”
  • Check that the proposed citation is grammatically correct and contains no typographical errors, for a good first impression.
  • Check that the citation clearly and adequately describes your distinctive contribution, using active verbs to summarise what you did to earn this citation.

2. Summary of a particular contribution and its specific context

  • Begin with a big-picture description of the contribution and the issue it addressed, the practice it improved or the innovation it introduced.
  • Describe the major actions taken, and the ways in which these were intended to improve the effectiveness of teaching or the quality of the learning experience.
  • Briefly describe the impact of these actions and how these were measured. (You will elaborate on this in component 4.)
  • Mention, where relevant, any smaller-scale elements of the actions (supplementary resources that were developed or practices that were instituted).

Describe the contribution in a way that shows you to your best advantage. Make clear the significance of your own role in the contribution. It should be clear why this action is outstanding.

3. Statement addressing chosen selection criterion

  • Include the chosen criterion at the top of the statement. This makes it easier for the assessor to check whether the statement does indeed address the criterion—and it can also help you keep your thoughts focused as you write this section.
  • Make sure the statement really does address the criterion. Section 2.3 of the Nomination Instructions lays out possible ways in which each criterion might be addressed.
  • Provide a sensible amount of detail. Don’t get too theoretical, but don’t get caught up in describing the minutiae of the practical measures you took.

4. Statements providing evidence

Statement providing evidence for the ways in which the contribution has
influenced student learning, engagement and/or the overall student experience

Provide convincing and relevant evidence of your effect on students’ experience.

Present evidence from a variety of perspectives, for example:

  • relevant statistics
  • testimonials from students. Student testimonials addressing the specifics of your contribution will be more convincing than general pleasantries.
  • peer observations
  • self-reflections.

Present the evidence in order of hardest to softest:

  • statistical summary of CATEI scores
  • testimonials from students
  • evidence observed only by you.

Statement providing evidence for the ways in which the contribution has
been recognised by fellow staff, the institution, and/or the broader community

Provide convincing and relevant evidence of the recognition of your contribution by others.

Include brief testimonials from colleagues, university or community commendations or awards, and consider possible sources of evidence (e.g. congratulatory emails, news or newsletter articles, community feedback) that might be used with permission.

As with the student evidence, present this evidence in order of hardest to softest:

  • relevant statistical evidence
  • related staff or community awards or formal recognition
  • testimonials from superiors, colleagues or community members (preferably different from the referees you’ve used)
  • verbal recognition delivered only to you.

Statement providing evidence for the ways in which the contribution has
been sustained over time for a period of no less than 3 years (2 years for Early Career nominations)

List and date the actions comprising the contribution here, even you’ve mentioned dates in other sections. The assessor should be able to see, without having to perform calculations of any complexity, that the enhancements are iterative and that the period for which you sustained your contribution meets the requirements.

General points

  • Clearly differentiate the 4 components (including the 3 Evidence sub-components). This makes comparison easier for the assessors.
  • Ensure that the text is appropriately balanced among the different components. Check the first draft for underwritten sections that could be made more substantial, and be prepared to cut away less relevant or overly detailed material.
  • Aim for clarity throughout the application. There should be nothing puzzling, vague or misleading. Don’t make the assessors reread sentences to establish their meaning.
  • Avoid passive constructions. The passive voice, while it doesn’t misrepresent your achievement (e.g. “for development of a revolutionary teaching method”), doesn’t connect you as closely with your achievements as do active verbs (e.g. “for developing a revolutionary teaching method”).
  • Avoid jargon and course-specific buzzwords. You can’t assume that the assessors will have detailed knowledge of your discipline. Use as plain a form of English as is possible while getting your point across.
  • Try to strike a balance in the tone of your writing between conversational and formal speech. Avoid extremes, either of slangy over-familiarity or of cool detachment.

Presentation

Use only 11 pt Arial or Calibri (no narrow fonts), for ease of reading by the assessor.

Space the text well on the page, to make it easy for the assessor to read.

  • Leave 2cm wide margins on all sides.
  • Clearly define paragraphs (either indent their first lines or insert a little white space between them).

Text should be in a single column.

Clearly label all 4 components (including the 3 sub-components of the Evidence statement).

Use headings echoing the wording of the instructions. This will make it easier for assessors to compare one statement’s particulars with another’s.

Check grammar, spelling and punctuation. Put your final draft through a spelling checker and closely read it to check for errors that a spelling checker will not detect. If you are unsure of grammar or punctuation, have your application read by a more confident wordsmith, and correct it as they suggest.

To aid clarity and ease of reading :

  • Present all quotations in the same format (italicise them if you wish, but don’t italicise some and not others).
  • Use quotation marks consistently—single or double is fine, but using both looks indecisive.
  • Keep capitalisation of headings consistent.
  • Use only one space after a full stop. Search and replace double spaces with single ones on the final draft.
  • Use hyphens, en- and em-dashes and ellipses correctly and consistently.
  • Present numbers consistently.

Attribute testimonials consistently.

Feedback

Did you find this tip sheet useful? Please send any comments to the Learning and Teaching Unit.