GTAP Awardees

The Associate Level

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

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.