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 $4,000. There is no limit to the number of Citations awarded.

Key dates

Round status – open 11 March

Action Due date
Expressions of interest close Wednesday 1 May 2019
Full applications close Friday 19 July 2019
UQ awards ceremony Monday 28 October 2019 (during Teaching and Learning Week)


  • 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 3 years.
  • An applicant with no more than 5 years of experience teaching in a higher education institution, including tutoring and part-time teaching, may apply for an Early Career Citation. The 5 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.

* A member of sessional staff who is the lead applicant is eligible for application if he/she has had 6 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.

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 3 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 3 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.

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 3 years (2 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (EOI)

COCSL applicants must first submit an Expression of Interest and upload their Written Statement (DOCX, 50KB) by 5pm, 1 May 2019.

The EOI online 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 (file upload), including:
    • citation (maximum 25 words)
    • summary of particular contribution and its specific context (maximum 200 words)
    • 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 19 July 2019, using the COCSL application template (DOCX, 60KB).

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.

Workshops and information sessions

Drop-in sessions

Applicants who need 1:1 support may drop in to any of our upcoming sessions.

Teaching Excellence Awards Information Session

Tuesday 19 March 2019, 2–4pm

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.

Learn more and register now

Writing a Teaching and Learning Award Application Workshop

This session is open to shortlisted applicants only, and will be held on Monday 27 May 2019.

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 on Wednesday 3 July 2019.

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.

Previous COCSL award winners