GTAP Awardees

The Associate Level

Denisa JashariDenisa Jashari is a doctoral candidate in History at Indiana University. Previously, she received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Hispanic Studies from Trinity College, and her M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and History from Indiana University in 2014. Her dissertation project unites urban and social history with methods from critical geography, visual culture, and Geographic Information System mapping to illuminate the contested politics of the urban poor during the second half of the twentieth century in Chile. Denisa’s research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, the Doris G. Quinn Foundation, the American Historical Association Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, the Tinker Foundation, and various Indiana University awards.

 Denisa views teaching as an integral part of her scholarship. As an instructor, Denisa exposes students to the notion that history is a constant process of meaning-making, where multiple, competing interpretations exist. The assignments she creates resemble real-life situations and reveal how historical skills are transferrable across disciplines. Her classes combine textual analysis of primary sources with digital tools such as word clouds, concept mapping, and google mapping to aid students in expanding their geographical knowledge and spatial thinking. Her broad, interdisciplinary training (graduate minor in Latin American Studies and a History Dept. doctoral minor in Middle Eastern history) equips her to teach survey and advanced thematic courses in Latin American history, history of the Americas, and World history. She taught “World History in the Twentieth Century” for the History Department’s Intensive Summer 2016 Session. She taught, “Between Two Giants: Latin America during the Cold War” as part of IU’s Lifelong Learning Center. During academic year 2019-2020, Denisa will be the Future Faculty Teaching Fellow at Butler University.

When asked that she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Denisa Jashari answered: The Associate level of GTAP gives a comprehensive introduction to teaching theories and pedagogical practices that you can immediately consider and implement. For instance, the DEAL model for service-based learning can easily be adapted in a variety of classes and increase student learning by challenging them to reflect upon different class activities and articulate the ways in which those activities have informed how they think about a particular topic. It makes for active learning that challenges students to practice higher-level thinking skills. After the completion of the Associate level requirements, you also become much more knowledgeable about university resources that can help you throughout your teaching career and in preparation for the job market, or in preparation for the next GTAP level!

Megan ConnorMegan Connor began teaching while pursuing her master's degree in media studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Connor taught the same course -- JAMS 101: Introduction to Media -- for four semesters, which was a great opportunity to experiment with pedagogy, makes changes, and see what worked best from class to class. At IU, she had the opportunity to be the associate instructor for a range of different courses across the Media School, everything from Communication Law to Introduction to Production & Design. Connor has also been the instructor of record for the Media School course, Advertising & Consumer Culture, where she was able to tailor the syllabus to my expertise, teaching students about topics like gendered and ethical modes of consumption, as well as teaching a course of her own design at the Collins Living-Learning Center on teen media.

One of Connor's best teaching moments was getting to see all the insightful and creative work her students produced while she was teaching at Collins. For one unit, each student hand-crafted a mini-zine on themes in the teen media we had screened: everything from transgender characters, to teen pregnancy, to a Mean Girls-style burn book. For another unit, students live-tweeted during a TV show viewing and amazed her with their sharp and quick analysis in the form of jokes, GIFs, memes, and even a few tweets that went viral!

When asked what she would tell other graduate students about the GTAP Associate Level, Connor answered: I would encourage peers in my department to start working on GTAP early in their program! The workshops I attended to complete the Associate Level were a great resource that focused on very specific aspects of pedagogy and gave me concrete ways I could improve my teaching that I was excited to go and try out with my students immediately. Additionally, it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to graduate students and instructors teaching in other departments and to learn and collaborate on pedagogy techniques outside of my own personal experience.

Sara ConradTeaching about Tibet provides many opportunities for students to connect not only with a different culture, but with the rest of the world. Tibet witnessed the the first Kings of Tibet, the rise of Buddhism from India in the 7th century, the arrival of Jesuit Missionaries from Italy in the 16th century, and today there are Tibetan monasteries throughout the world including in Bloomington, Indiana. Students want to know how Tibet fits within their worldview, and Sara Conrad’s courses help them grapple with these questions.

Conrad find students do the readings if points are attached to them, so she gives weekly multiple choice Reading Quizzes online. Students like the online component as they feel as though they can use their notes and the readings to find the answer. This is precisely the intention of the online quizzes, not to have the students memorize data points, but to read material, find answers to fundamental questions, and to think critically. For example, one such question asked students to link what was happening in 19th century Tibet with the rest of the world. Questions such as these involve the readings Conrad assigns, knowledge of the world, and critical thinking. All of her pedagogical strategies are dedicated to facilitate learning with cross-disciplinary materials, multiple ways to engage with the course material, and final projects that will remain with the student long after he or she leaves Conrad’s classroom.

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Conrad answered: CITL is a valuable resource if you are looking to expand your teaching skills. So many times we get stuck in our ways or teach the way we want to learn, but that doesn’t always work for our students. The pedagogy workshops I attended gave me new skills and reignited my passion for teaching.

Kimberly SkinnerKimberly Skinner taught online courses prior to moving to IU to pursue a PhD in speech in hearing sciences. She has taught three course in the audiology doctorate program at Indiana University: advanced hearing aids, introduction to audiologic assessment, and business practices. She was an audiologist in private practice for a number of years before beginning her studies at Indiana University. 

Skinner’s favorite teaching moments are when a student very clearly understands a difficult concept that they were struggling to understand. She loves how they put the effort into understanding, and finds it awesome to be part of that process.

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Skinner answered: I would point out that just because we have expertise in particular subject matter does not automatically mean that we have expertise in how to teach that subject matter.  I would share what I learned in the various workshops and course observations and encourage them to check it out! (I have already done this more than once.)

Kristy AndersonKristy Anderson began her teaching career at the McCall Outdoor Science School during her master’s coursework at the University of Idaho. During that time, Anderson taught across grade levels (elementary to college) and served diverse student populations (students from low-income communities, students with disabilities, Native American students, and many more student populations). Field ecology instruction was deeply fulfilling but Anderson also truly loved seeing students develop a relationship with the natural world around them. During that time, she also taught an introductory Environmental Science class at the University of Idaho, where she was one of three Teaching Assistants charged with all day-to-day instruction. At IU-Bloomington, Anderson has guest-lectured in several courses and she will be co-teaching her first class—R314 Data-Based Decision Making—in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies during Spring 2019.

One teaching moment Anderson has treasured occurred during a two-week long, summer field intensive ENVS 102 Field Activities in Environmental Science as part of a vocational training program for students with cognitive disabilities. While this specific group of students required more accommodations and were deterred by traditional methods of instruction like lecture and writing-intensive assignments, Anderson developed activities to spur their interest and still achieve course objectives. One such experience was the day focused on biodiversity. As an instructional hook—a tool she had learned worked well with this group—she asked students to collect 15-20 small stones along the trail during a hike into the field. Over the course of several hours (while other lessons were being delivered), students selected stones, often loudly exclaiming their special attributes, and continued to express curiosity about the “rock project.” At the end of the day, Anderson revealed that the stones would simulate individuals of different species; and students worked in groups to analyze their collective stones and group them by their own defined characteristics, (e.g, color, shape, size). Finally, Anderson led students in using stone counts by attribute to 1) calculate and compare biodiversity richness and relative abundance and 2) to engage in a critical discussion about how best to determine biodiversity as well as risk factors for species extinction. Thus, what would have been an abstract concept became tangible for these students with cognitive disabilities, and throughout the remainder of the course, students often correctly discussed and made connections from biodiversity to other topics.

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Anderson answered: I would remind my peers that while we all value teaching and learning, the teaching training required of PhD students is typically fairly minimal. Consequently, the Associate level of GTAP helped me meet attainable goals through its many learning activities. It also helped me identify gaps in my knowledge that I did not even know existed!

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Eyink answered: Although the psychology department provides formal pedagogical coursework, this training occurs during the first two years of graduate school and is focused on preparing students to teach a laboratory section of a methods course. As I prepared to teach my own course several years later, attending CITL/CIRTL events was incredibly beneficial to refresh the concepts learned in my earlier coursework as well as to learn practical techniques and strategies to design an effective syllabus, communicate concepts clearly, create assessments that directly tap my learning goals, and how to navigate the classroom. After completing the associate level of the program, I feel I have more of the skills necessary to be an effective teacher.

Jane NewmanJane Newman started teaching during her undergraduate education in biochemistry, and her very first course that she taught as an associate instructor was a biochemistry and organic chemistry course for non-majors. This was particularly fun and challenging because most of her students were not very interested in the content, but rather just had to pass the course to move onto their nursing or athletic training coursework. Newman enjoyed getting students excited about material that they normally would shy away from, especially as organic chemistry is traditionally a class that students tend to strongly dislike. Since coming to IU for graduate school, Newman has taught introduction to biology lab (L113) and microbiology (M250) for microbiology majors as an associate instructor. She has been fortunate enough to be able to teach in the classroom and in her lab, where she mentors undergraduates in research.

Newman’s most rewarding teaching moment was in her lab when the undergraduate that she mentors was able to do an entire experiment by herself without direct help from Newman. Her student was able to purify a novel mutant protein and successfully crystallize it by herself. This process is challenging even for graduate-level students. She came into the lab to gain research experience, despite being solely interested in medical school. Newman’s student now is very interested in possibly pursuing an MD/PhD or PhD program because she has been able to feel personally invested and rewarded by the research she has done in Newman’s lab.

When asked what she would tell other graduate students about the Associate level of GTAP, Newman answered: I would encourage them to complete the Associate Level of GTAP because it has given me a better working knowledge of pedagogy and good teaching strategies. This has allowed me to make smaller, more achievable goals for my teaching each semester. I have also learned a lot about how to talk about my teaching and analyze my teaching evaluations to make my teaching more student-centered. I think that having the GTAP on my CV will help boost my teaching credentials and improve my interviewing skills for my future desired teaching job.

Daniel MyersDaniel Myers recently moved to Indiana from the great state of Michigan to become a PhD student in the Geography Department. Myers didn’t know much about being a PhD student, being an instructor, or the academic job market. He joined CITL’s Graduate Teaching Apprenticeship Program about a month into his first semester. Myers explained that he really appreciated the opportunity to network with other graduate students who were very wise and in the later years of their programs. He learned a lot about how to create effective assignments and how to begin preparing for academic jobs. He’d never heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a diversity statement, or a teaching portfolio before joining, but now he feels he can confidently use each to teach classes and (when the time comes) apply for academic jobs.

Myers explained that his teaching history is very brief; he has one semester as an Associate Instructor for a lab. He can say his favorite moments though are when a student is struggling and he is able to help them understand the solution to their problem. Myers is looking forward to expanding his teaching repertoire in the coming semesters.

When asked what he would tell other graduate students about the GTAP Associate Level, Myers answered: I encourage my peers to learn the ropes of building a teaching portfolio and learning how to do a teaching demonstration through GTAP. These are covered in the Talking About Teaching learning community, which is one of the ways to fulfill Associate Level requirements. It will make things much easier when they’re applying for academic jobs later on!

Image of BhurosyTrishnee Bhurosy specializes in applied research to design and evaluate theory-driven and empirically-grounded dietary interventions. Her interests include behavioral research on dietary behaviors underlying obesity and other chronic conditions. Bhurosy has taught courses such as Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (lab sections), Men’s Health, Personal Health and Stress Prevention and Management. At the University of Mauritius, she taught courses such as Control of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases, Sports Nutrition, Food Processing and Safety. She has advised and mentored a diverse group of high school, undergraduate and graduate students in Mauritius and in the US.

Bhurosy has had many memorable teaching moments, but she cites being especially proud of the progress international students made in her classes during Fall and Spring 2017. She noticed that it was difficult for them to become active participants in a classroom setting and to get them connected to adequate resources on campus. Bhurosy actively strove to help her students, understanding the difficulties as she is an international student as well. Bhurosy explained, that “it is always a proud moment of achievement for me to see an improvement in the learning experiences of my students.”

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Bhurosy answered: If you are struggling with developing your teaching strategies and skills in general, attending the workshops and/or being engaged in the learning communities will help significantly in those. I have used some of the strategies and concepts learned through the workshops in my classes during the past semester and I saw that my students were more engaged. It became more enjoyable for me as well! The GTAP also helped me talk more confidently about my teaching with my peers and through this process, I was able to think out loud about my experiences and skills as an instructor.

Image of CheraWith the help of CITL and supportive faculty, Maddie Chera has had the privilege to teach several courses in Cultural Anthropology and related fields, resulting in positive student feedback and achieved learning objectives. She started out as an associate instructor in introductory Anthropology courses, leading discussions sections and formulating assessments. Chera went on to teach an original course on agricultural biodiversity conservation for the Collins Living-Learning Community, for which she received the Carl H. Ziegler Teaching Award. Subsequently, she taught her own Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course at Fordham University. Chera is teaching a similar course and upper-level anthropology seminars in her areas of expertise (food, South Asia) at Indiana University’s South Bend campus in the 2018-2019 academic year, as a Future Faculty Teaching Fellow of the University Graduate School. In addition, she has teaching-related experience facilitating graduate writing groups, working as a farm educator for teens and children, and mentoring students and peers at IU and during her field research in India.

The best moments in Chera’s teaching career are when students relate the concepts and material from the course to their interests. As much as she not-so-secretly wishes all her students declared Anthropology majors, her real goal is that they leave her courses thinking anthropologically and applying cultural analysis to new experiences and to the things they already geek out about. In the past, Chera’s students have successfully applied ideas and methods they worked on throughout the course to a final project of their design. They build up to this project through smaller assignments and checkpoints. Students have embraced the opportunity, and Chera is always proud and excited to see what they have learned. For example, one student focused on education policy planned to interview public school teachers in their lounge, to learn about their use of work and leisure time. Another student, who was negotiating her family’s expectations of her future, decided to examine the symbols of marriage rituals in her own religious community, speaking with a priest and other church members about their perceptions. Yet another student, a music-lover, looked at sense of community in the live concert setting, and analyzed the shared identity between musicians and fans. Through research and reflection, these students transformed the course from a set of abstract lessons about seemingly exotic peoples into embodied skills of observation and analysis useful beyond the course. Since that is Chera’s master plan, she is very happy to see these results, and to learn from the research, too!

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Chera answered: The CITL offerings are valuable resources for us in building our skills and communicating them to others. They are free and should be used to the fullest. Add to that the recognition we can get for expanding our skills and engaging with the teaching community at IU through the GTAP, and it seems obvious that taking part in the program is a smart move.

Fernando Melero GarciaFernando Melero García began his teaching career in 2012. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Melero García was a teaching assistant at John H. Reagan High School (Houston, TX), where he aided students taking courses in Spanish language and literature. From 2013 to 2015, he taught Spanish at the University of New Mexico. After completing an MA in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of New Mexico, Melero García came to Indiana University where he has been teaching Spanish and Hispanic Linguistics since 2015. While at IU, Melero García has also been an instructor of a study abroad program that takes place during the summer in Chile where he taught Hispanic Linguistics. 

A teaching moment of which Melero García is particularly proud occurred when he traveled to Chile as an instructor for a six-week study abroad program for high school students. After landing in Santiago and, after picking up our luggage, one of their students realized that she had left her phone in the plane. The program has an honor code according to which once the group land in Chile, students should only speak Spanish. He accompanied the student to the customer service offices to pick up her phone and, on our way to the offices, Melero García was asking her in Spanish how she was feeling after the long trip. He noticed that she was a very reserved person and that she was experiencing some difficulty understanding him. The six weeks went by, and a few days before coming back home, the students did a farewell show where they danced, sang, and interacted with their host families. During the show, Melero García noticed that this student was interacting and socializing with many people there. She was no longer experiencing difficulty understanding and interacting with local people. Not only had she improved her linguistic skills in Spanish, but she had embraced a new culture and was now part of it. Melero García felt very proud of her at that moment, and he was also very proud of his team because he realized how important it is for us as educators to provide the optimal environment and conditions in order to facilitate student development on multiple levels.

When asked what he would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Melero García answered: I would definitely encourage anybody to complete this program. The most important thing to me is that it is offering me a broad vision of teaching and learning beyond my department. It is wonderful to meet people from other departments during the workshops and learn about learning more generally (and not just learning languages and/or linguistics).

Image of KimmittAbigail Kimmitt was the principal instructor for the upper-level Animal Behavior course at Indiana University in the fall of 2017. She incorporated active learning techniques such as problem-based learning, think-pair-share, and literature discussions to engage the students as scientists rather than passive learners. Kimmitt has also been the associate instructor for an upper-level Biology of Birds course and an Introductory Ecology and Evolution course. 

One of Kimmitt’s most memorable teaching moments was when a female student in her Animal Behavior class expressed interest in graduate school in the sciences.  The student had entered the class pre-med and was an excellent and enthusiastic student. She first asked Kimmitt about getting involved in research and the experience in the class and her new research lab shaped her interest in becoming a scientist. Kimmitt expressed that students who become actively engaged in the material and interested in incorporating the material into their career or even their hobbies makes teaching even more worth it!

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Kimmitt answered: This program provides graduate students with a concrete program to learn about evidence-based teaching strategies, interact with other graduate students and faculty to improve their teaching strategies, and then apply them to their own classrooms. It also creates a great opportunity for students to have something to present on the job market; this program has clear guidelines and provides evidence that the candidate has actively learned and engaged in bettering their teaching.

The Practitioner Level

Denisa JashariDenisa Jashari is a doctoral candidate in History at Indiana University. Previously, she received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Hispanic Studies from Trinity College, and her M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and History from Indiana University in 2014. Her dissertation project unites urban and social history with methods from critical geography, visual culture, and Geographic Information System mapping to illuminate the contested politics of the urban poor during the second half of the twentieth century in Chile. Denisa’s research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, the Doris G. Quinn Foundation, the American Historical Association Albert J. Beveridge Research Grant, the Tinker Foundation, and various Indiana University awards.

 Denisa views teaching as an integral part of her scholarship. As an instructor, Denisa exposes students to the notion that history is a constant process of meaning-making, where multiple, competing interpretations exist. The assignments she creates resemble real-life situations and reveal how historical skills are transferrable across disciplines. Her classes combine textual analysis of primary sources with digital tools such as word clouds, concept mapping, and google mapping to aid students in expanding their geographical knowledge and spatial thinking. Her broad, interdisciplinary training (graduate minor in Latin American Studies and a History Dept. doctoral minor in Middle Eastern history) equips her to teach survey and advanced thematic courses in Latin American history, history of the Americas, and World history. She taught “World History in the Twentieth Century” for the History Department and she is teaching “Between Two Giants: Latin America during the Cold War” as part of IU’s Lifelong Learning Institute. During academic year 2019-2020, Denisa will be the Future Faculty Teaching Fellow at Butler University.

When asked what she would tell others about the Associate Level of GTAP, Denisa Jashari answered: I would encourage colleagues to complete the Practitioner level of GTAP because it provides graduate students with a clear set of guidelines that further both pedagogical training and academic-job preparedness. The pedagogy workshop on backward course design completely changed the way I think about student learning and designing syllabi. Working on teaching and diversity statements, as well as on a teaching portfolio, was incredibly useful in getting ready for job applications early on. I received productive feedback on such statements that greatly improved them, in addition to words of encouragement from CITL associates.

Abigail KimmittAbby Kimmitt is a Ph.D. candidate in the Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Program in the Biology department. Her dissertation focuses on behavioral and physiological mechanisms of population divergence in small songbirds. She is also very enthusiastic about teaching and is interested in pursuing a career at a teaching-focused university. She has taught Animal Behavior as the lead instructor and has presented multiple workshops on effective lesson design and student-centered teaching. 

Abby actively engages students in her classroom using a student-centered teaching approach and active learning, using problem-based learning and literature discussions. Abby also creates clear learning objectives for her students in her syllabus as well as at the beginning of each class as she is a proponent of Bloom's taxonomy. 

When asked what she would tell others about the Practitioner Level of GTAP, Kimmitt answered: This level helps you to prepare and receive feedback on documents that you can use for your future job search. I attended workshops that were really helpful in helping me think about what was being asked of me in these documents (e.g., there is still so much unknown about the diversity statement!) It was really useful to be able to think critically about my teaching and write about it now while a lot of my experiences in graduate teaching were fresh. The most helpful part was receiving feedback from Katie (lead consultant at CITL) for ways to improve how I clearly presented my strengths as an instructor. 

Fernando Melero GarciaFernando Melero García began his teaching career in 2012. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Melero García was a teaching assistant at John H. Reagan High School (Houston, TX), where he aided students taking courses in Spanish language and literature. From 2013 to 2015, he taught Spanish at the University of New Mexico. After completing an MA in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of New Mexico, Melero García came to Indiana University where he has been teaching Spanish and Hispanic Linguistics since 2015. While at IU, Melero García has also been an instructor of a study abroad program that takes place during the summer in Chile where he taught Hispanic Linguistics.

One of his greatest strengths as a teacher is that he is always looking for new ways to innovate and bring technology into the classroom. For instance, he creates online tutorials in his Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics course that his students use to learn how to analyze acoustically their own speech in order to reflect on questions about native vs. non-native accent. His students also learn how to use a specific free videoconferencing software that they use out of class on a weekly basis to discuss pre-arranged topics with a classmate in Spanish. Fernando also used virtual reality viewers in his First-Year Spanish courses in order to take "virtual trips" to different Spanish-speaking countries. Using this technology has allowed him to incorporate the latest technological innovations in his classrooms, all while engaging his students in new and different ways that they enjoy.

When asked what he would tell others about the Practitioner Level of GTAP, Melero García answered: I would definitely encourage anybody to complete this program. The most important thing to me is that it is offering me a broad vision of teaching and learning beyond my department. It is wonderful to meet people from other departments during the workshops and learn about learning more generally (and not just learning languages and/or linguistics)

Maddie CheraWith the help of CITL and supportive faculty, Maddie Chera has had the privilege to teach several courses in Cultural Anthropology and related fields, resulting in positive student feedback and achieved learning objectives. She started out as an associate instructor in introductory Anthropology courses, leading discussions sections and formulating assessments. Chera went on to teach an original course on agricultural biodiversity conservation for the Collins Living-Learning Community, for which she received the Carl H. Ziegler Teaching Award. Subsequently, she taught her own Introduction to Cultural Anthropology course at Fordham University. Chera is teaching a similar course and upper-level anthropology seminars in her areas of expertise (food, South Asia) at Indiana University’s South Bend campus in the 2018-2019 academic year, as a Future Faculty Teaching Fellow of the University Graduate School. In addition, she has teaching-related experience facilitating graduate writing groups, working as a farm educator for teens and children, and mentoring students and peers at IU and during her field research in India.

One of the things Chera tries to emphasize in her teaching is student agency. Chera incorporates this emphasis in several ways, including having students design individual projects tailored to their interests, which they carry out step-by-step over the semester. On a day-to-day basis, Chera invite students to connect to their coursework and contribute to the knowledge building in their classroom by asking them to share their own relevant experiences during lectures and discussions. She incorporate activities into every lesson plan, to ensure integration and application of course content at every step. For example, in an upper-level seminar on Food and Culture, the students worked through weekly in-class activities in small groups, which they discuss together in the following meeting. One week, they were looking at socio-economic status in terms of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s book Distinction, and Chera walked the students through devising their own version of a chart of Bourdieu’s, mapping the “food space.” The charts plot different items based on cultural and economic capital. The students added value to the course by bringing up resonant examples and relevant insights Chera had not; they were active contributors to the education process. For example, one student’s chart of Mexican food included Chipotle and Taco Bell, familiar favorites of many college students, but it also included a hip local taco truck and a famously “authentic” family restaurant in Chicago. Moreover, in this particular activity and others like it, students interrogated the material and their own lives to illustrate the interplay between social systems and their own agency, which is shaped by those systems but can also shape society, in turn. For example, some of the students emphasized the importance and variability of context; about her peer’s chart of different types of coffee, one student noted that Starbucks might have more cultural capital in a rural place where the shops are few, and less in an urban setting where the chain is ubiquitous. The students also brought up the cultural value of sustainability and how values like these can change over time. These comments fed into discussion about our roles as consumers in shifting social values. Thus, the students reflected on their own agency in society, but also exercised their agency effectively in the classroom. Encouraging this informed but empowered sense of agency is a critical goal of Chera’s teaching work.

When asked what she would tell others about the Practitioner Level of GTAP, Chera answered: The requirements of this level of GTAP basically set you up to teach a course, improve the course mid-way, and explain to others how you have prepared for and grown in your role as an educator. Whereas the Associate level gives you the fundamental knowledge about teaching and learning you need to set a foundation, the Practitioner level activities are much more directly applied. They are a lot more challenging, and probably will take more than a semester to complete. However, I would encourage all graduate students to start this level early and continue to review the work required and completed in this level, because there is always room for improvement, whether in our course documents, our praxis, or our job documents.

Abigail KimmittAbby Kimmitt is a Ph.D. candidate in the Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior Program in the Biology department. Her dissertation focuses on behavioral and physiological mechanisms of population divergence in small songbirds. She taught Z460: Animal Behavior as the lead instructor and has served as the Associate Instructor for L111: Intro to Ecology and Evolution as well as L376: Biology of Birds. She has presented multiple workshops on effective lesson design and student-centered teaching.

Kimmitt really enjoyed engaging with teaching communities because she think the best way to learn is through teaching and this even applies to teaching about effective teaching. When leading workshops on teaching methods, she really had to engage with the ideas of effective teaching and utilize them in her workshop. Workshops, are also never facilitator-oriented but rather focus on discussion among all of the participants (much like a student-centered classroom). Kimmitt learned a lot about effective teaching through discussion on what has been effective in others’ classrooms or what issues other instructors have faced.

When asked what she would tell others about the Specialist Level of GTAP, Kimmitt answered: The Specialist level of GTAP enables to you apply the knowledge that you’ve gathered about effective teaching. By co-facilitating workshops, you’re able to share what you’ve learned about teaching but also engage in discussions with instructors of all levels about teaching. By observing instructors and serving as reviewer, you’re also able to apply what you’ve learned about teaching to critique others but also to learn from them. I believe the statement that to teach something is to really learn it, and this level of GTAP really helps you engage with all the information you’ve gained in the Associate and Practitioner levels.