Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning recognise individuals and teams who make a significant contribution to student learning; who are 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 $4000.

There is no limit to the number of Citations awarded.

Key dates

ActionDue date
Expressions of interest closeFriday 22 April 2022
Full applications closeFriday 22 July 2022
UQ awards ceremonyMonday 31 October 2022


  • Application is open to academic staff, professional 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 (UQ) 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. 
  • An applicant is eligible for a Sessional Staff Citation if they have had six semesters of employment at UQ (not necessarily continuous) in the context of the contribution to student learning for which they are applying. No minimum hours-per-semester employment specification for sessional staff to be eligible to apply. 
  • 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 UQ ATE may not be the recipient of a UQ 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 UQ Citations and/or Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citations are not eligible to reapply within three years of receiving a Citation (i.e. if a recipient in 2015, then not eligible to reapply until 2018). However, previous UQ 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 a UQ 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.
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Citations categories

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.

Category one: Approaches to teaching and/or 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;
  • Developing and/or integrating assessment strategies to enhance student learning.
  • Provision of support services or programs that improve the student experience and enable learning.

Category 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.

Category three: Effective assessment practices that bring about improvements in student learning, may have a focus on academic integrity or digital solutions, or any assessment strategies that bring about change.

This may include:

  • Showing advanced skills in assessment/alternative assessment practices
  • Using a variety of assessment strategies to bring about change
  • Adapting assessment methods to different contexts and diverse student needs and learning styles
  • Contributing professional expertise to the field of assessment in order to improve program design and delivery
  • Dissemination and embedding of good practice identified through assessment
  • Evaluating the quality of the assessment practices.

Category 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 (two years of evidence of sustained contribution), consideration will be given to the career stage of the applicant.

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Assessment criteria

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

  • Impacted on student learning, student engagement or the overall student experience for a period of no less than three years (two years for early career), not including time taken for development or trial of any activity which must be demonstrated in student testimonial, student improvement in results over time and/or strong SECaT results.
  • Gained recognition from fellow staff, the University, and/or the broader community.
  • Shown creativity, imagination or innovation, irrespective of whether the approach involves traditional learning environments or technology-based developments.
  • Drawn on the scholarly literature on teaching and learning to inform the development of initiatives, programs and/or practice.

Please refer to the information session resources: Addressing a Learning Challenge (PDF, 165.5 KB) and Evidence for your application (PDF, 107.1 KB) when drafting an Expression of Interest or Full Application.

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How to apply

Expression of Interest (EOI)

COCSL applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest and upload their Summary of Evidence (DOCX, 48.7 KB) by 5pm, 22 April 2022.

The EOI online form will prompt applicants for the following information:

  • Application form:
    • applicant details including name, school, faculty, email and team details (if applicable)
    • chosen category
    • citation statement (max. 25 words)
    • summary of particular contribution and its context (max. 200 words).
  • File uploads:
    • summary of evidence addressing all four assessment criteria provided in dot point format (maximum one A4 page)
    • SECaT Teaching Summary Report for the last three years (i.e. if applying in 2022, this report must provide data for 2019, 2020 and 2021). Applicants may include a short explanation supporting this document if desired.


A Shortlisting Committee will appraise expressions of interest according to the published criteria and invite eligible applicants to provide a detailed application by 22 July 2022.

To download previous COCSL applications, browse through our Exemplar award application library (staff login required).

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.

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Workshops and information sessions

Drop-in sessions

Applicants who need 1:1 support are recommended to request a consultation at the following sessions: 

  • 30 March 2022, 9–10am
  • 11 April 2022, 9–10.30am

Teaching Excellence Awards Information Session

17 March 2022 at 10am

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 (register now).

Writing a Teaching and Learning Award Application Workshop

This session is open to shortlisted applicants only, and will be held in June 2022.

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.

Award Writing Session

This session is open to shortlisted applicants only, and will be held in July 2022.

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.

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Previous COCSL award winners

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