On Friday, March 23, 2018, the Faculty Innovation Center’s Graduate Student Development (GSD) team partnered with the University of Texas Libraries to host the second Graduate Teaching Showcase, an event aimed at highlighting strong graduate student teaching at UT by giving selected graduate students a chance to share their teaching skills and insights with the broader UT community.
Our work with graduate students has revealed some truly amazing strategies and approaches that graduate student instructors are using in their classes. These often go under-recognized at a large, research-intensive university. In creating the Graduate Teaching Showcase two years ago, we carved out a space to celebrate this good work and learn from the issues that graduate students are grappling with in their teaching.
This year’s Showcase opened with an energizing welcome by Graduate School Dean Mark Smith that highlighted the value of teaching communities and support for UT graduate students. Dean Smith’s welcome was followed by five quick and engaging talks by graduate student instructors who competed for the chance to present.
Will Kiley (Theater and Dance) talked about creating learning environments that honor students' comfort levels while offering them opportunities to push their boundaries. He described three practical, drama-based exercises applicable to subject areas outside of the performance arts that he utilizes to help students take risks.
Aubrey Plourde (English) explained how she uses the “jigsaw” instructional method to help her students combine research and teaching skills across disciplines.
Moriah Flagler (Theater and Dance) shared how she uses a modified version of Liz Lerman’s (2003) "Critical Response Process" in her improvisational theatre class to help students build the trust necessary to work as a community of practice.
Nicole Schrag (English) and her undergraduate student Ratnika Batra showcased the power of a particular classroom assignment, students’ rhetorical analyses of a familiar urban space (the UT “Drag”) as a persuasive space.
In between each talk, participants had an opportunity to reflect on provocative questions left by each presenter such as, “Can you assess abstract learning goals like cultural competency and empathy?” (Plourde), and "What spaces do we take for granted around UT or the broader Austin area that could provide meaningful learning opportunities for our students?” (Schrag). The event closed with a reflection from 2016 Graduate Teaching Showcase presenter Adena Rivera-Dundas about the five talks.
Dr. Molly Hatcher (J.D., Ph.D.)
Director, Faculty Innovation Center (University of Texas at Austin)
Dr. Molly Hatcher (J.D., Ph.D.)
She has a Juris Doctorate and a joint Ph.D. in English and Women’s Studies. She supports graduate students in preparing for intellectual leadership in both future faculty and nonacademic carers, in designing learning experiences for their students, and in advancing an energetic culture of teaching and learning at UT. Recent publications include'“Once a Scientist…”: Disciplinary Approaches and Intellectual Dexterity in Educational Development', To Improve The Academy, 37 (1).