Some of the honorees at ceremony for TAs and University Teaching Fellows
(Photo by Mark McClendon)
TAs, faculty honored for teaching commitment
By Barbara Millis
Director, Teaching and Learning Center
(May 8, 2009)--Thirty-six graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) and two faculty members were honored at an April 30 ceremony and reception hosted by the UTSA Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) and the Graduate Student Association. The event honored graduate students nominated by departments, peers or students for the first UTSA Teaching Assistant Awards and University Teaching Fellows (UTFs, formerly called Master Teaching Fellows).
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The teaching fellows had an integral part in the UTSA teaching award initiative and other projects supporting teaching during the last academic year. The TA awards were at three levels: the Distinguished TA Award, given to the top TA in each category; six Outstanding TA Awards, three in each category; and Teaching Recognition Awards. TA awards were given in the categories of humanities, social science and professional schools (HSS), and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Additionally, TLC announced awards for individuals who attended the most TLC workshops or brown-bag events.
John Frederick, UTSA provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented Distinguished and Outstanding TA Awards to Stephanie A. Amsel (English, Distinguished TA Award, HSS category)and Karen Elizabeth Engates (Civil and Environmental Engineering, Distinguished TA Award, STEM category).
Before presenting certificates of recognition to the nine University Teaching Fellows, Frederick described the genesis of the unique program, which allows selected TAs to focus for an academic year on their own professional development and service to other graduate students and the university as a whole. Additionally, he announced the continuation of the program.
HSS nominees receiving Outstanding TA Awards were Anita S. Nickson-Beeson (Political Science and Geography), Pei-Yu Shih (Bicultural-Bilingual Studies) and Ko-Yin Sung, Bicultural-Bilingual Studies. Ashley Brian Sockwell Curtiss (Chemistry), Angela K. Dean (Computer Science) and Mark Doderer, received Outstanding TA Awards in the STEM category.
David R. Johnson, UTSA vice provost for academic and faculty support, presented TA Teaching Recognition awards certificates to Cordelia Barrera (English), Michael Burns (Management), Carmen Caceda (Bicultural-Bilingual Studies), Esther Garza (Bicultural-Bilingual Studies), Katrina Garza (Mathematics), Gabrielle Guy (Chemistry), Amalia Hunter (Mathematics), Rebecca Joy (Chemistry), Pradeep Nair (Electrical Engineering), Mike New (Music), Megan Sibbett (English), Kimberly Smith (Psychology), Prea Thathiah (Biology), Efrain Torres (History and Tomas Rivera Center), Elaine Wong (English), Hsiaoping Wu (Bicultural-Bilingual Studies) and Joon (Jake) Yoon (Bicultural-Bilingual Studies).
TLC presented the Apple Award to Stuart Birnbaum, UTSA associate professor of geological sciences, who attended a record-breaking 18 workshops. Three other individuals who came close to matching his record received books related to teaching and learning: Emeka Ovuegbe, UTF in Civil and Environmental Engineering; Edwin Barea-Rodriguez, chair, Department of Biology; and Marilyn Dehasse Wooten, UTF in Chemistry.
UTFs recognized at the reception were Grisel Acosta (English), Shereen Bhalla (Bicultural-Bilingual Studies), Margaret Costantino (Counseling), Emeka Ovuegbe (Civil and Environmental Engineering), Lydia Overbaugh (Anthropology), Candace Penick (English), Charles Andrew Speer (Anthropology), Marilyn Dehasse Wooten (Chemistry) and Lijie Zhang (Computer Science).
The selection committee include the UTFs; Mary McNaughton-Cassill, associate professor of psychology; Kim Kine, associate professor of communication; and John Shaffer, assistant director of recruitment and retention in the UTSA Graduate School.
Each nominee submitted a cover letter, a teaching philosophy statement, student evaluations and a recommendation letter from his or her department chair or academic adviser. A classroom observation conducted by the nine University Teaching Fellows provided further insight into their teaching skills. The committee members used a rubric to help rank their choices.