DCAL Recognizes Students For Outstanding Teaching

On April 16, 2014 by Grad Forum
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Graduate and undergraduate students attend the lunch recognizing outstanding graduate student teachers at DCAL.

In honor of Graduate Appreciation Week, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) asked undergraduates to nominate graduate students to be recognized for excellence in teaching and mentorship. Nominees and the undergraduates who nominated them were invited to lunch in the DCAL office to share their experiences as graduate student teachers and mentees. Those graduate students in attendance spanned many disciplines, and each had distinct teaching experiences from serving as lecturers to acting as one-on-one mentors in a laboratory context.

Sarah Wolff, a fourth-year math PhD student who plans on pursuing a career in teaching, was among those acknowledged. Despite serving as a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, Sarah is still able to find time to mentor individual students as well. “I was honored to be recognized and am grateful to both DCAL and the math department for their commitment to training graduate teachers. I really enjoyed hearing from other nominated graduate students about their teaching experiences and passion for teaching.”

In addition to sharing individual mentoring experiences and philosophies, graduate students used the lunch as a time to discuss the future of the undergraduate-graduate teaching relationship and how technology might improve it. One approach discussed was to make lectures an “at home” task by prerecording them so that students can watch them prior to coming to class. Classroom time could then be used by the graduate student teacher for putting the lectures into action, allowing students to work in groups to solve problems, and permitting closer interaction between graduate student teachers and undergraduates.

Lunches like these, comprised of a mix of Dartmouth community members who share a common interest, are a great environment for generating ideas that could progress teaching at Dartmouth. In short, graduate student teachers across campus play a vital role in the teaching excellence for which Dartmouth is known, and all should be recognized for their efforts.

The 2014 nominees for Outstanding Graduate Student Teachers from an undergraduate perspective were Andrew Bridges (biology), Tamer Chabanet (biology), Michael Logan (biology), Jessica Trout-Haney (biology), Vivek Venkataraman (biology), Qian Li (chemistry), Jake Muldoon (chemistry), Seo Kyung Kim (computer science), Travis Peters (computer science), Tom Kraft (biology), Varun Mallampalli (engineering), Nathan McNew (mathematics), Ian Adelstein (mathematics), Sarah Wolff (mathematics), Jonathan Bloom (mathematics), James Taylor (psychological and brain sciences), Carolyn Parkinson (psychological and brain sciences), Kristina Rapuano (psychological and brain sciences), Sebastian Frank (psychological and brain sciences), Giovanni Vizcardo (physics), Geneva Trotter (engineering), Jacob Russell (engineering), and Paola Ortega (liberal studies).

by Andrew Bridges

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