Early Career (Higher Education)


This award recognises the variety of contributions made to the quality of student learning and/or the student experience by individuals or teams who have no more than five years’ experience teaching in a higher education institution. The five years can be non-sequential and must be counted on a semester basis, including all tutoring and part-time teaching.

Value of the award

The award consists of a grant of $3,000 which can be used by the recipient/s to:

  • advance the career/s of the recipient/s
  • provide additional resources to support their teaching or activities related to the award
  • assist the individual/team to disseminate and embed good practice in learning and teaching.

Award monies must be spent within the year the funds are allocated and cannot be rolled over into the future years i.e. a November 2018 award will be allocated money in 2019 and must be expended in 2020.


This category is for staff who have been teaching in higher education programs for five calendar years or less. This includes part time and full-time teaching but not any sessional teaching.

To be eligible you must not have been employed in a teaching capacity at any higher education institution for more than five years, with the exception of sessional teaching.

You may be currently employed at RMIT in a sessional, part time or full-time basis. This category is open to staff in any discipline.


Applicants are required to address two of the following selection criteria:

  1. Approaches to the support of learning and teaching 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
  1. 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.
    • Contributing professional expertise to enhance curriculum or resources.
  1. 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 to improve program design and delivery.
    • Dissemination and embedding of good practice identified through evaluation.
  1. 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.

Additional considerations

Applications will also be evaluated on the extent to which applicants evidence that their contribution has:

  • Influenced student learning, student engagement or the overall student experience.
  • Gained recognition from fellow staff, the University, and/or the broader community.
  • Been sustained for a period of no less than two years, not including time taken for development or trial of any activity.

Application requirements

  1. Written statement in response to one criterion
  • Comprising no more than 4 x A4 pages in Calibri/Arial 11 point font, minimum 2 cm margins.
  • This needs to include a Citation of 25 words or less which summarises the contribution and an overview of the contribution, written in the third person.
  1. Statement of contribution (for team applications only)
  • Comprising a single A4 page statement of contribution identifying the contribution of each team member, with that contribution represented as a percentage of 10% or more.
  1. References
  • Two references, of no more than one A4 page each, are to be provided by referees able to comment on the applicant’s contribution to student learning against the selected criterion.
  • One referee must be from the head of the applicant’s, school, college, portfolio or higher level.
  • For team applications, references must apply to the team not individual team members.
  • References must be signed – electronic signatures are acceptable.


  • Application form for Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Learning and Teaching - Early Career (Higher Education)
  • Application guide for Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Learning and Teaching - Early Career (Higher Education)

For any enquiries, please contact your college Teaching Awards coordinator.

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