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President’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Founded in 2024, the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence is the highest honour for teaching at Toronto Film School.


Recipients of the TFS President’s Award for Teaching Excellence inspire and facilitate learning in ways that have a positive and sustained influence on our students. These Award-winning faculty not only exemplify our core values but demonstrate exceptional abilities to encourage and motivate students, to create supportive and inclusive learning environments, to foster student success within and beyond the classroom, and to reflect upon and refine their teaching practice.


By recognizing the achievements of exceptional Toronto Film School educators, we celebrate and enhance a culture of excellence in teaching and learning.

Elements of Teaching Excellence

The President’s Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes and celebrates faculty who:

  • cultivate dynamic and interactive learning environments that motivate and challenge students to explore their curiosities, deepen their skills, and apply their learning in new and impactful ways;

  • offer learners constructive, timely, and specific feedback that inspires them to reflect on their work, encouraging growth, resilience, and a commitment to continuous improvement;

  • create inclusive learning environments that anticipate, celebrate, and respond to the diversity of learner needs and experiences; and who

  • engage students in authentic learning opportunities that enable them to demonstrate our Signature Learning Outcomes, enhance their employability, expand their professional networks, and connect them to communities.


What do I need to know?

Who is eligible to be recognized by this award?

Any TFS faculty member who has taught at least one TFS/O course in the past 12 months, and is not currently a Program Director is eligible for the award.


If you are unsure whether the excellent TFS teacher you have in mind meets these criteria, please reach out to us at [email protected] and we can help!

I’m a student. Can I nominate my professor?

Yes! Any member of the TFS communities, including students (and recent grads who have taken a TFS course in the past 12 months) may submit a nomination for a TFS faculty member.

I’m a faculty member. Can I apply for the award?

Yes! As a faculty member, you may apply directly for the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence if you meet the eligibility criteria.

I’m a TFS employee. Can I nominate a colleague?

Yes! Any member of the TFS communities, including peers and colleagues of excellent TFS faculty, may submit a nomination for the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

How many faculty are recognized with this award each year?

Each year, the adjudication committee will identify a small group of honourees from among whom a single recipient of the President’s Award of Excellence will be selected. All honourees and the recipient will be celebrated at TFS convocation.

What do award recipients and honourees receive?

Recipients of the award receive: a citation of excellence; a trophy presented at Convocation; travel, with up to 2-nights’ accommodation, and meal expenses to attend Convocation as well as a celebratory meal; and up to $3500 for registration, travel, and/or accommodation expenses for a conference or event that will meaningfully contribute to/enhance their teaching practice.


Honourees of the award receive: a citation of excellence; 1-night’s accommodation and invitation to a celebratory meal; and up to $500 registration for a conference or event that will meaningfully contribute to/enhance their teaching practice.

Do award recipients and honourees have any obligations?

Yes, recipients will be expected to: address graduating class(es) at an upcoming Convocation ceremony; deliver a presentation at a school-wide event, such as the annual teaching conference; as well as serve as a member of a future President’s Award for Teaching Excellence Adjudication Committee.


Honourees will be expected to: deliver a presentation at a school-wide event, such as the annual teaching conference.

What are the key parts of the nomination/application?

For nominations, there are two key components: 1. Your Statement of Support for the faculty member you are nominating; and 2. Your contact information.


For applications, there are three key components: 1. Your Personal Statement, 2. Your resume/CV, 3. Your contact information.


That’s it! See full details and link to the online nomination/application forms below – or click here to nominate or click here to apply!

When is my nomination/application due, and what other key timelines should I be aware of?

This year’s deadline is Friday, June 28th at midnight (local time).


Once the nominations/applications close, they will move into adjudication across July and August with the Recipient and Honourees selected by early Fall. The Recipient and Honourees will be announced in November and receive their citations at TFS Convocation.

How long will it take me to complete the nomination/application?

We imagine no more than 60 minutes/1 hour – of course, it could take a bit longer or a bit shorter depending on your style and approach with your Statement of Support/Personal Statement. The more specific details and examples you can give in your c. 700 words about your TFS professor, the more powerful your nomination will be; likewise, for applications, the more specific details and examples you can give about yourself in your c. 700 words, the more powerful your application will be.


…and you do not have to write a polished, formal letter on fancy letterhead, no! Be you, be true, tell us quick and meaningful stories about them and their excellent teaching, and your voice will go far.


We are hosting a drop-in sessions in June for folks interested in learning more about the Award, chatting about the application/nomination process, and/or getting some questions answered and guidance as you keep going.


Feel free to drop in any time, no registration required!


Monday, June 17 – 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. (ET) – Zoom Meeting link


Additionally, we also are inviting Award applicants and nominators to book one-on-one meetings to individually chat about the award, reflect on your teaching, and ensure application/nomination packages are complete and ready for submission.
Please e-mail Matthew Dunleavy at [email protected] to book a 30-minute conversation during the following slots:


Wednesday, June 19 – 9 to 11 a.m. (ET)

Tuesday, June 25 – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET)


Should these times for individual 1:1s not work well for you and your schedule, please still reach out to Matthew directly to find a better time that works! Or, please email us at [email protected] with any other questions.

Can I nominate more than one person/apply more than one time?

For nominations – Yes! You certainly can nominate more than one TFS faculty member who is an excellent teacher. Be sure to submit these as separate nomination packages with individual Statements of Support and with individual nomination form completions.


For applications – As a TFS faculty member, you can apply only once per year. Regardless of how many courses you teach and how many TFS/O programs you teach in and are connected to, if you are eligible for the Award, one complete application per year will ensure you are considered each cycle. (Remember, if you have won the Award in the past five (5) years, you will unfortunately be ineligible until the end of that five-year period.)

How is the Award adjudicated and the Recipient and Honourees decided?

The Award is adjudicated by a Committee of TFS community representatives (students, faculty, and staff) who will review complete nomination and application packages long-listed by TFS Program Directors and then arrive at a short-list of candidates to have a live interview conversation with about their teaching. After these Candidate Interviews, the Adjudication Committee will make recommendations to the President for the Recipient and the Honourees.

What else/what next?

That’s it! Check out the full details and links below for wider information, and if you have any questions/concerns, please reach out to us at [email protected]


We can’t wait to read about and learn more intimately about all the excellent teaching happening at and across TFS!

Ready to submit?

Please use our online forms (links below) to complete and submit your nomination/application. The submission deadline is June 28th, 2024.