Outstanding ‘TAs’ to be awarded

The nomination process for the second annual Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards is underway, as the office of Graduate Studies and the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) work to recognize exceptional graduate teaching assistants.

Graduate advisors, faculty and students are encouraged to nominate graduate teaching assistants who have demonstrated effective and innovative teaching techniques in either the classroom or lab, according to Graduate Studies media and communications specialist Weston Rose.

“Because graduate teaching assistants primarily teach undergraduate students, their influence is far reaching,” Rose said. “We also consider TAs who are not the instructor or record, which means the TA does not have to be assigned as the instructor of the class. TAs who support tenure and tenure track faculty by grading assignments and exams, taking attendance, leading study sessions and giving guest lectures are equally eligible.”

Rose said it is important that the TA displays collegiality with peers, faculty and students, conducts him or herself in an ethical manner, and possesses a broad knowledge of the area taught.

The nomination process began in late September and nominees are judged by a selection committee made up of members from PACE and the Graduate Studies office.  The deadline for nominations is Nov. 3.

Following their nomination, teaching assistants must assemble a teaching portfolio for further review by the selection committee.

“The deadline for the teaching portfolio submission will be in February 2015,” Rose said. “In light of how busy graduate teaching assistants are, we have given them the winter break to assemble the portfolio.”

After the review of their teaching portfolios, recipients of the award will be announced at the annual Graduate Studies Awards Banquet during the spring semester.  Recipients of the Capstone Awards, Graduate Research Exchange and other awards will also be announced at the banquet.

Sam Houston State University President Dana G. Hoyt will attend the banquet, along with Provost Jamie Hebert and Vice Provost Richard Eglsaer.

Winners will receive an iPad Air along with a plaque noting their accomplishment.  Rose said the awards will prepare graduate students for the academic and professional job market by providing workshops, seminars and programming aimed at strengthening graduate student academic and professional development.

“The purpose of this award is two-fold: to better prepare graduate students for the academic job market and to ensure undergraduate academic success by incentivizing,” Rose said.

Nominations are still open for this year’s awards. Nomination forms can be found on the SHSU Graduate Studies webpage under the forms and publications tab.

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