The COVID-19 pandemic required rapid innovation on the UT Austin campus with a total transformation in the way students learn and how professors deliver instruction. Professional (non-tenure-track) instructional faculty and staff played a crucial role in this shift to a hybrid model of teaching and learning. In recognition of their creativity and excellence in teaching, the Provost’s Office awarded 45 professional-track instructional faculty and staff with the first-ever COVID Transformational Online Instruction Contributions (TONIC) Awards.
“The pandemic created so many challenges for teaching and learning. One of the brightest spots from this has been the creative and unique methods of online teaching and connecting that quickly evolved as a result of all the abrupt changes,” said senior vice provost of faculty affairs, Tasha Beretvas. “We’re so proud of the creativity, determination and dedication of our faculty and staff. And we wanted to particularly recognize and honor our professional-track instructional faculty and staff who went above and beyond to provide incredible learning experiences and a climate of care for our students.”
The TONIC Awards reward innovation and excellence through the creation of impressive pedagogical resources, systems or programs for the transformation of online instruction in response to COVID-19. The Awards were also intended to reward contributions that enhanced student engagement and community while maintaining inclusive and equitable access for all learners.
Recipients of the award will receive $1,000 and are invited to participate in a panel presentation for the Faculty Innovation Center’s Technology-Enhanced Learning Symposium in May 2021.