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Photos by Peg Skorpinski

In recognition of the excellence of Graduate Student Instructors’ in teaching undergraduates as well as the outstanding work of faculty members who mentor those GSIs, the Graduate Division’s GSI Teaching & Resource Center held three award ceremonies this spring to present the annual Outstanding GSI Award, the Teaching Effectiveness Award (TEA), and the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs.

The Outstanding GSI (OGSI) Award was given to more than 200 GSIs, chosen from thousands on campus. Each received a $250 stipend in addition to a certificate of distinction.

The Teaching Effectiveness Award honored 14 Outstanding GSI Award recipients for their contributions to teaching and learning in their departments. TEA applicants must submit an essay that describes a problem they have identified in teaching and learning, a teaching strategy or activity they implemented to address the problem, and the method they used to assess the effectiveness of their teaching strategy.

This year’s Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs was presented to Lynn Huntsinger, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, for her role in providing GSIs with guidance and mentorship in teaching.

Surrounded by faculty, undergraduate students, and GSIs who held balloons, flowers and a framed certificate, the award was presented to Huntsinger by Professor Laura Stoker, Chair of the Graduate Council Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs, as a surprise to Professor Huntsinger in the middle of her teaching a class in April.

“Lynn’s mentorship provides us with a key opportunity for us to grow as instructors in our own right,” wrote one GSI who nominated Huntsinger for the award. “Lynn also works hard to share decision-making with GSIs and to give them authentic teaching and course planning experience.”

Linda von Hoene, director of the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, noted that the collaboration between faculty members and GSIs is usually invisible to undergraduates, and the award gives a chance to bring these efforts to light. “Presenting the award in the public space of the classroom helps undergraduates appreciate the faculty-GSI teamwork that takes place behind the scenes,” von Hoene observed.

Adding to the list of honors, the GSI Teaching & Resource Center has recently launched a new award as part of its How Students Learn Initiative sponsored by the Teagle Foundation. The Teagle Foundation Award for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning will be presented to three TEA recipients based on essays that make explicit the connections between effective teaching strategies and the research on learning. Each winner will receive $1,000, and the essays will be published on the GSI Center website.