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New Award Recognizes Grad Students For Teaching

Sept. 29, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Brian S. Bitting and Anne Elizabeth Peters have been named the first winners of the Annual Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for 2010-2011, sponsored by the Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence.

Brian Biting and Anne Peters

Both received a $1,000 for their selection.

“The two students were selected who exemplified engagement with students, innovative teaching techniques, ethical behavior, and a broad knowledge of the area taught,” said PACE director Marsha Harman. “These teaching assistants encouraged active learning and helped students achieve success.”

Bitting, a doctoral student in SHSU’s clinical psychology program, served as teaching assistant for Jeffrey Anastasi’s research methods class and lab.

“Brian handled numerous grades, did some lecturing, but mostly he graded a large number of APA-style research papers and met with some very nervous and scared undergraduate students,” Anastasi said in his nomination, adding that Bitting’s ability to help undergraduate students achieve in a class that many find difficult really illustrated his teaching excellence.

Peters, who graduated with her master’s degree in biology in August and is now enrolled in veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University, was recognized for her ability to go beyond her responsibilities in the classroom and to promote enthusiasm for the subject matter in her students.

“Routinely she will collect additional information about the experiment, or the bacterial strains utilized that day, and share it with her section. She also is a strong contributor in our weekly instructional team meetings, contributing thoughtful quiz questions and ideas on how to demonstrate techniques to students,” said Todd Primm, chair of the biology department and one of Peters’ nominators. “In short, her enthusiasm is contagious, and she really honestly enjoys teaching.”

Since Peters is no longer a student at SHSU, she donated her scholarship to Terah McClendon, president of the SHSU American Society for Microbiology, a chapter Peters was instrumental in starting at SHSU, according to Harman.

In order to qualify for the Annual Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, graduate students had to be nominated by faculty or students. They also were required to create a portfolio which included a one-page essay explaining their teaching philosophy, letters of support that addressed their teaching skills, IDEA scores and comments, a description of their contributions toward helping undergraduate students accomplish academic aspirations, and a reflection on good practices in undergraduate education.

“Exceptional teaching by teaching assistants is imperative for undergraduates, particularly in the sciences and social sciences,” Harman said. “Without teaching assistants, we could not have as many sections of classes.”



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