The Graduate/Undergraduate Instructor Academy was founded in the spring of 2019. The academy was modeled after professional development in the Department of Biological Sciences, led by Mrs. Lori Rose. Lori has been the Freshman Biology Laboratory Coordinator in Biological Sciences since 1990. She led this endeavor for a large, and ever growing, department with both graduate and undergraduate lab assistants. Given the thought, care, and attention Mrs. Rose put into these sessions, the professional development grew. Faculty saw great value in her work and sent their student employees to her for training and support. With a small budget, Lori used her own resources to provide breakfast, snacks, and free flowing coffee to participants; even bringing homemade pastries. As an active member of the Association of Biology Laboratory Education, she was intent on offering current, relevant, and educationally/scientifically sound professional development.
A former student, employee, and mentee, Dr. Steven Koether joined forces with Mrs. Rose in 2012. Steven brought his experience from working with students and training teachers in K-12. Mrs. Rose and Dr. Koether continued to grow the training by incorporating case studies, inviting veteran lab assistants to lead sessions, and emulating best practices. The professional development day grew to a point the event had to be moved to larger and larger venues, costs had to be supplemented by the department, and students from other departments were asking to join. Steven suggested growing the professional development as a result of taking a doctoral course, with Dr. Christine Stanley at Texas A&M University, on faculty development. With hesitation, the team worked with other campus centers, departments, and resources to bring in content experts, reduce replicated efforts across campus, and improve learning, comradery, and community. The professional development academy was not developed to replace nor subsume departmental efforts (content and departmental specific training must still occur), rather it was developed to provide student workers tied to instruction with consistent, university supported, training on matters experienced inter-departmentally and across campus.
Dr. Mary Catherine Breen (Academic Success Center) and Dr. Stephanie Bluth (The Graduate School) were some of the first to support GUIA efforts, adding content knowledge, expertise in running large events, and aligning the event with campus and national certifications. Mrs. Heather Adair (Newton Gresham Library) and Mr. Thomas Sosebee (SHSU Online) provided content knowledge for sessions and aided in event logistics. The academy has since evolved and is now organized by committee. An example of this evolution is the inclusion of GUIA Student Fellows on the planning committee.
In 2019, the GUIA committee worked with Dr. Brian Loft and Dr. Chris Maynard to position the endeavor as a student success initiative with funding and support from Academic Affairs. The academy organically grew from a freshman lab training to a university wide endeavor, supporting (as of 2020) upwards of 400+ participants. The university and GUIA owe a big thank you to Mrs. Rose, the small team of GUIA founders, and the committee that continues to grow and improve this student success initiative.