OER Excellence and Impact Awards

The OER Excellence and Impact Awards are teaching and learning awards that recognize outstanding work done by faculty at both UBC campuses who materially advance the use and impact of open educational resources in credit courses at UBC. The award program consists of one individual and one team-based award of $5,000 each year per campus.

2023/24 Call for Nominations

The offices of the Provost and Vice-President Academic at both UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver are pleased to announce a call for nominations for a new annual teaching award that recognizes outstanding work done by faculty at both campuses who have materially advanced the use and impact of open educational resources (OER) in credit courses at UBC. The OER Excellence and Impact Award program consists of one individual and one team-based award of $5,000 each year per campus (four total annual awards).  In addition to the monetary award, recipients will also be invited to UBC’s annual celebration of teaching excellence (along with 3M National Teaching Fellows, Killam Teaching Prize winners, and other teaching awardees) and they will receive letters of citation from the UBC President or appropriate Provost. 

Any member of the UBC community can nominate an individual faculty member or group for the award and self-nominations are welcome. Nominations are due on November 30, 2023, and nominees will be invited to submit a full nomination package by January 25, 2024.


Open education encompasses a set of practices that make the process and products of education more transparent, understandable, and available to all people. Open education can mean using and sharing open content, resources, and educational practices that can be built on, modified, or re-used by others. It can also be about engaging students as creators of knowledge and connecting with communities and networks by sharing works in progress and building upon the work of others. A central component of open education is the use of open educational resources (OER), which are defined as teaching materials that are free of cost barriers and which also carry legal permission for reuse. 

According to UBC’s Student Affordability Task Force (SATF), the affordability of educational materials is an ongoing challenge for students, due to both the rising costs of academic textbooks, but also the widespread adoption of digital learning platforms that require paid access to complete course assessments. However, the SATF also notes that educational material costs have been considerably reduced by the widespread adoption of OER, which have been supported through grant funding programs across both UBC campuses. To address the affordability of course materials and to further incentivize the use of OER, the SATF recommended that UBC (pg. 26):  

“Resource an annual institutional Open Education champion award for individuals or teams who have made a significant contribution to the use of open educational resources. Nominations from both UBC campuses should be considered by a committee struck by both Provosts, with at least one award granted to a qualified application on each campus. The award should support the recipient(s) to further enhance use and adoption of open educational resources (OER).” 

Demonstrating this commitment, in 2023 the University allocated $20,000 a year for four years to recognize outstanding work done by faculty, student and staff leaders who materially advance the use and impact of open educational resources at both UBC campuses.


To be eligible, nominees must be a faculty member of the UBC community. Specifically: 

  • The lead nominee must be a faculty member who taught a UBC credit course in the last four years and they must also have a current appointment at UBC. Group nominations must have a lead faculty member who taught a UBC credit course in the last four years but may also include other members of the UBC community, such as students and staff, who contributed to the use of the OER at UBC. 
  • Nominees must have the support of at least one student.

Faculty may be nominated as an individual and as part of a team as long as the projects they are being nominated for are distinct. Nominees can hold grants, including those from the OER Fund, ALT-2040, and TLEF, or other OER recognitions, such as the UBCV OER Champions, while nominated for this award. Nominees must also be willing to be featured in appropriate UBC publications or websites, such as Open UBC, and have their OER shared in an appropriate UBC space such as cIRcle or the UBC OER Collection where metadata will be added specifying that the creator was recognized with the award. 


The successful award recipients will have demonstrated overall excellence in their use of OER in teaching and learning, the impact of their OER work for UBC students including addressing the affordability of educational materials, and contributing to the greater open education community at UBC. Specifically, the evaluation criteria are:

Excellence in OER 

Excellence in OER is defined as a comprehensive commitment to a set of principles and practices that foster access to affordable learning materials through the development, adaptation, and use of OER to replace or supplement paid course materials. It can involve a large range of actions including following accessibility best practices, active student participation in creating and improving the resources, the development of innovative pedagogical strategies facilitated by the use of OER, and ensuring discoverability of the OER by others. It must also include a commitment to enhancing OER through a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) including the integration of diverse perspectives and ways of knowing as related to the field of study. Finally, excellence in OER practice requires commitment to sustained practice by using OER consistently over an extended period of time.

Evidence of OER Impact

Evidence of OER impact includes a range of metrics including student cost savings and improved learning outcomes generated through the use of OER to supplement or replace paid course materials. OER impact may also include evidence of adoption and use of one’s own OER in additional courses by colleagues, instructors, or other educational institutions. Impact may also be expressed through quantifiable indicators that demonstrate leadership in OER excellence through the sharing of OER expertise through presentations, workshops, committee service, and contributions to the open education community. These impacts may also extend to peer collaboration and supporting others’ capacity development in OER practice. 

Not every nomination is expected to address all aspects of the criteria. The following Guiding Questions resource may be used by both nominators and adjudicators to situate nomination packages within these criteria. The evaluation of OER project impacts will not be measured in terms of overall student numbers but will instead be contextualized by discipline.

Nomination Process and Packages

Any member of the UBC community can nominate an individual or group for the award and self-nominations are welcome. In addition, group nominations can be for UBC departments, units, or groups of individuals who advanced the use and impact of OER in teaching and learning. 

The nomination process involves the following steps: 

  • Step 1: Nominate – Nominations will be collected via this nomination form by 3pm on November 30, 2023. The nominator is asked to outline reasons for making the nomination in 100 words; please see this nomination form template for a full preview.
  • Step 2: Nominees Notified – All individual and group nominees will be contacted by the OER Award Steering Committee and invited to submit a nomination package. 
  • Step 3: Nomination package development – Nominees gather the evidence and materials needed for their package. 
  • Step 4: Nominations packages submitted – Nomination packages will be submitted as a pdf via email at oer.award@ubc.ca by 3pm on January 25, 2024. 

Nomination packages will include: 

  • A 3-to-5-page statement summarizing and presenting evidence of how the nominee has contributed to the use and impact of OER at UBC, focusing on the criteria above. Nominees will also provide links to any OER described in this statement.  
  • Nominations of teams will provide an extra summary of no more than 2 pages of how each team member contributed to the overall OER efforts.  
  • A letter of support from at least one student. 
  • A letter of support from the nominee’s Head or Department Chair.
  • Up to three additional letters of support from additional students and/or colleagues. 

Written materials shall be single-spaced, have a 12-pt font, and 1-inch margins. Nomination packages shall not contain more than five letters of support, including student and Head/Department Chair letters, and shall not be more than 15 total pages. Materials beyond this limit will not be shared with adjudicators.  

Adjudication Committee

Nominations will be adjudicated by a committee chaired by the UBCO and UBCV VPAs or their delegates and will consist of faculty and staff from both campuses, as well as at least two undergraduate student nominated by AMS and SUO leadership.

The adjudication committee is being struck and more information will be provided when it is available.

Adjudicators will assess all nomination packages based upon the above criteria. Furthermore: 

  • UBCV and UBCO nominations will be adjudicated independently to ensure recognition of OER activities on both campuses through two awards each. 
  • Adjudicators will have access to all nomination packages; depending on the number, all adjudicators may be asked to read and evaluate all packages. If nomination submissions are numerous enough to require that nomination packagesbe read by a subset group of adjudicators, at least one adjudicator from each campus will be assigned to review the package (i.e., a UBCV nomination package will have at least one reader from UBCO).  

Award Process

Award winner names will be submitted to the UBCV and UBCO VPAs or their delegates who will announce the award winners during Open Education Week.  

Award winners will receive a teaching and learning fund of $5,000 which may be used broadly to advance their work in open education; including:

  • Open education or teaching related conference / workshop travel
  • OER evaluation or SOTL dissemination
  • OER development support
  • Other uses at the discretion of the VPA

Key Dates

  • November 30, 2023: Deadline for nominations (Step 1). 
  • January 25, 2024: Deadline for nomination packages to be received (Step 4). 
  • February 2024: Adjudication of nominations. 
  • March 2024: Announcement of award winners  
  • June 2024: Presentation of awards at annual celebration of teaching excellence. 

OER Award Steering Committee

The development, coordination, and evaluation of the UBC OER Excellence and Impact Awards is overseen by a UBC OER Award Steering Committee struck jointly by each campus’s Vice-President Academic or their delegate. Questions about the awards or processes may be sent to oer.award@ubc.ca.

The UBC OER Award Committee is a single working committee coordinated across both campuses and reports jointly to the UBCO and UBCV Vice-Presidents Academic who have final authority and decision-making responsibility for the OER Excellence and Impact Awards. 

The initial 2023 UBC OER Award Steering Committee included: 

  • Heather Berringer, Associate Provost, Academic Operations and Services, UBCO
  • Christina Hendricks, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President Teaching and Learning pro tem, UBCV
  • Will Engle, Strategist, Open Education Initiatives, UBCV CTLT 
  • Erin Fields, Open Education and Scholarly Communications Librarian, UBCV Library 
  • Kamil Kanji, VP Academic & University Affairs, UBCV AMS 
  • Donna Langille, Community Engagement and Open Education Librarian, UBCO Library 
  • Jeff Miller, Senior Associate Director, UBCV CTLT 
  • Cynara Onyemordi, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, UBCV AMS 
  • Riley Petillion, Educational Consultant, UBCO CTL 


Questions about the awards or processes may be sent to oer.award@ubc.ca.