Teaching in Berkeley’s academic departments as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is an invaluable professional development opportunity. Being recognized as one of the University’s finest is an outstanding achievement.
On May 2, 2017, more than 250 GSIs were recognized for their exemplary teaching at the annual Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (OGSI) Award Ceremony presented by the Graduate Division’s GSI Teaching & Resource Center.
Each OGSI is nominated by their departments according to criteria such as overall effectiveness as an instructor, capacity to promote critical thinking, and utilization of pedagogically effective approaches. In addition to being acknowledged with a formal ceremony and a $250 stipend, OGSIs are invited to submit essays for a second award offered by the GSI Center, the Teaching Effectiveness Award. Each one-page essay addresses a problem the GSI had in teaching, the pedagogical solution the GSI devised to address the problem, and the means by which they assessed the effectiveness of the solution. This year, 14 essays were selected for the award. As in past years, this year’s winning essays will be published on the GSI Center’s website, so that the
teaching strategies can be adapted for use by other GSIs.
“Whether or not a GSI wins the TEA award, those who write the essays are contributing to their professional development by identifying significant problems encountered in teaching and learning, designing activities to address those problems, and assessing whether student learning was affected by the activities,” according to Linda von Hoene, Assistant Dean for Professional Development and Director of the GSI Teaching & Resource Center. “This type of reflection is the hallmark of outstanding teachers. And the beauty is that these skills of problem solving and assessment are transferable to other professions as well.”
Students who receive the Teaching Effectiveness Award are also invited to apply for a third award, the Teagle Foundation Award for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning. This award takes professional development in teaching one step further by immersing GSIs in the research on how students learn and connecting their teaching activities to a wider body of scholarly work. Teagle Foundation Awards were presented this year to Eduardo Escobar of Near Eastern Studies and Mercedes Taylor of Chemistry.
Teaching Effectiveness Award and the Teagle award recipients were honored at a May 10, 2017, award ceremony.
Faculty who mentor GSIs, enabling GSIs to become excellent teachers, are also acknowledged each spring through the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs. This award is based on nominations that come directly from GSIs who have benefited from the mentorship in teaching provided by faculty. This April, two faculty members — Angela Marino of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies and Steven Justice of English — received a surprise visit in their classrooms from the student “prize patrol,” which presented them with the awards. Faculty recipients are invited to write a statement of mentoring philosophy for publication on the GSI Teaching & Resource website.
Please join us in congratulating all of this year’s award recipients!