In 2005, the Academic Board of The University of Queensland established the annual Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (COCSL) to recognise and reward individuals and teams who make a significant contribution to student learning in a specific area of responsibility over a sustained period, who are widely acknowledged for their achievements within a Faculty or the wider University community, and who have received strong endorsement within their area.

To encourage further development of the winners’ contributions to student learning, successful applicants will receive a certificate and grant of $4,000. There is no limit to the number of Citations awarded.

  • Eligibility

    General eligibility

    • Application is open to academic staff, professional staff, sessional staff* and institutional associates.
    • Both individual and team applications are encouraged (teams may be of any size). All teams must provide a team name.
    • Applicants are not eligible to be included in more than one COCSL application in any year (as an individual and as a member of a team).
    • Cross-Faculty, cross-School/Unit or cross-discipline applications will be considered. 
    • All applications must relate to contributions to student learning at The University of Queensland that have been sustained for a period of at least three years.
    • An applicant with no more than five years’ of experience teaching in a higher education institution, including tutoring and part time teaching, may apply for an Early Career Citation. The five years can be non-sequential and must be counted on a semester basis.
    • Previously unsuccessful COCSL applicants are eligible to reapply.
    • Awards for Teaching Excellence (ATE) and Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning (APEL) applicants whose application is considered to be more closely aligned with the criteria for a Citation will be referred to the COCSL Selection Committee for consideration in the same year.
    • A winner of a University of Queensland ATE may not be the recipient of a University of Queensland Citation in the same year, unless they form part of a team application and are not the lead applicant.

    Eligibility of previous recipients

    • Previous winners of University of Queensland Citations and/or Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citations are not eligible to reapply within three years of receiving a Citation (ie, if a recipient in 2015, then not eligible to reapply until 2018). However, previous University Citation recipients are eligible to reapply within three years of receiving a Citation if they form part of a team application and are not the lead applicant. Applicants reapplying for a Citation must demonstrate significantly different achievements in later years.
    • Previous winners of University of Queensland ATE and APEL and/or AAUT ATE and APEL can only apply if they form part of a team application but are not the lead applicant. They must demonstrate significantly different achievements from the work that has been previously recognised by these awards.

    * A member of sessional staff who is the lead applicant is eligible for application if he/she has had six semesters of employment at The University of Queensland (not necessarily continuous) in the context of the contribution to student learning for which they are applying. There is no minimum hours-per-semester employment specification for sessional staff to be eligible to apply.

  • Assessment criteria

    Expressions of interest and applications for COCSL will be assessed against the chosen assessment criterion and the extent to which it shows evidence of evaluation, innovation, leadership and scholarship in the written statement that the applicant’s contribution has:

    • Influenced student learning, student engagement or the overall student experience;
    • Been sustained for a period of no less than three years (two years for early career); and
    • Gained recognition from fellow staff, the University, and/or the broader community.

    COCSL applicants are invited to select one of the following criteria, determined by the nature of their contribution to student learning. The text below each criterion is indicative of ways in which the criterion might be demonstrated. Applicants should not feel limited by these illustrative examples. Expressions of interest and applications will be assessed on evidence provided in relation to the selected criterion.

    Criteria one: Approaches to teaching and the support of learning that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn

    This may include:

    • Fostering student development by stimulating curiosity and independence in learning;
    • Participating in effective and empathetic guidance and advice for students;
    • Assisting students from equity and other demographic subgroups to participate and achieve success in their courses;
    • Encouraging student engagement through the enthusiasm shown for learning and teaching;
    • Inspiring and motivating students through effective communication, presentation and interpersonal skills;
    • Enabling others to enhance their approaches to learning and teaching; and
    • Developing and/or integrating assessment strategies to enhance student learning.

    Criteria two: Development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field

    This may include:

    • Developing and presenting coherent and imaginative resources for student learning;
    • Implementing research-led approaches to learning and teaching;
    • Demonstrating up-to-date knowledge of the field of study in the design of the curriculum and the creation of resources for learning;
    • Communicating clear objectives and expectations for student learning;
    • Providing support to those involved in the development of curricula and resources; and
    • Contributing professional expertise to enhance curriculum or resources.

    Criteria three: Evaluation practices that bring about improvements in teaching and learning

    Evaluation comprises making judgements about the quality of programs and activities that are part of the academic, cultural and social experience of higher education.  This may include:

    • Showing advanced skills in evaluation and reflective practice;
    • Using a variety of evaluation strategies to bring about change;
    • Adapting evaluation methods to different contexts and diverse student needs and learning styles;
    • Contributing professional expertise to the field of evaluation in order to improve program design and delivery; and
    • The dissemination and embedding of good practice identified through evaluation.

    Criteria four: Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience

    This may include:

    • Participating in and contributing to professional activities related to learning and teaching;
    • Innovations in service and support for students;
    • Coordination, management and leadership of courses and student learning;
    • Conducting and publishing research related to teaching;
    • Demonstrating leadership through activities that have broad influence on the profession;
    • Providing innovative learning and teaching for different contexts, including technology enhanced environments, for large and small class sizes and/or to meet the needs of a diverse student cohort; and
    • Influencing the overall academic, social and cultural experience of higher education.

    Please note: In assessing the evidence supporting Early Career applications, consideration will be given to the career stage of the applicant.

  • How to apply

    Expression of Interest

    COCSL applicants must submit an expression of interest (EOI) by emailing a completed EOI form to

    This form will prompt applicants for the following information:

    • Part A: Applicant details, including name, school, faculty, email and team details (if applicable)
    • Part B: Chosen criterion
    • Part C: Written statement, including:
      1. Citation (maximum 25 words)
      2. Summary of particular contribution and its specific context (maximum 200 words)
      3. Summary of evidence addressing the chosen selection criterion in dot point format (maximum one A4 page)


    A Shortlisting Committee will appraise expressions of interest according to the published criteria and invite eligible applicants to provide a detailed application by a nominated closing date.

    Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a workshop facilitated by ITaLI where advice and guidance will be given on the format and content of their COCSL application.

    A Selection Committee will appraise applications according to the published criteria and make recommendations for awarding commendations and citations to the University Teaching and Learning Committee for approval. 

  • Key dates



    Due date

    Expressions of interest close


    3:00pm, Monday 28 May, 2018

    Full applications close


    3:00pm, Monday 30 July, 2018

    UQ Awards Ceremony


    TBC (during Teaching and Learning Week)

  • Workshops and Information Sessions
    • The University of Queensland Teaching Excellence Awards Information Session
      This session will provide an overview of the Teaching and Learning Award schemes offered at UQ and tips for structuring an effective expression of interest.
      Time and date: 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Tuesday 24 April, 2018 in Room 202a, Learning Innovation Building (#17), St Lucia 
    • Writing a UQ Teaching and Learning Award Application Workshop
      The purpose of this workshop is to provide applicants with guidance on the format and content of their application and discuss tips for a successful application.
      Time, date and location: 10:00am – 12:00pm, Friday 29 June, 2018 in Room 202a, Learning Innovation Building (#17), St Lucia
    • Award Writing Session
      The purpose of this session is to provide applicants with time and space to work on their draft application, with ITaLI staff and previous UQ award winners available to provide advice and clarification.
      Time, date and location: 1.30pm – 3.30pm, Monday 9 July, 2018 in Room 202a, Learning Innovation Building (#17), St Lucia
  • Previous recipients

    Please visit the UQ Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards page to view the 2017 Citation recipients. A full list of Teaching and Learning Awards recipients, by year and award, can also be found here.

  • UQ Application Documentation
  • Contact Information

    Teaching Awards and Grants Officer
    Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI)
    Telephone: 3365 6351