MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award
The MAGS Excellence in Teaching award was created to raise the attention given to excellence in teaching and mentoring as a component of graduate education and the preparation of graduate students for future service as college and university faculty. The award recognizes graduate students who exemplify excellence in the teaching/learning mission of our universities.
The Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) is pleased to announce the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award competition, in recognition of graduate students who exemplify excellence in the teaching/learning mission of our universities.
Two awards have been created to recognize the importance of excellence in teaching and mentoring as a component of graduate education and the preparation of graduate students for future service as college and university faculty. One award will be given to a doctoral student and one to a master’s student. Each award includes a citation and a $750 honorarium that will be presented at the 70th Annual MAGS meeting, April 9-11, 2014, at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL. Each MAGS member institution may submit one nomination in each of these two categories.
Nominations must be submitted electronically to the MAGS Excellence in Teaching Award Committee (MAGSteaching2013@gmail.com) before 11:59 pm (CST), January 23, 2014
Please direct questions to Nan Yancey at MAGSteaching2014@gmail.com.
Past MAGS Teaching Award Recipients
|Master’s Student Teaching Award||Jarred Pfeiffer, MFA Ceramics, Kansas State University|
|Jarred Pfeiffer is currently enrolled in his final semester of graduate school at Kansas State University where he is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in ceramics. He has been surrounded by art, and teaching, his entire life. His parents have a combined 65 years of teaching, his father as a high school ceramics teacher. His sister is a print maker, his older brother is a painter and his younger brother is about to move to Thailand to teach English.Pfeiffer is originally from Hartland, WI and received his undergraduate degree in art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007. He then spent two years doing Teach for America in Charlotte, NC where he taught high school geometry and algebra at Philip O Berry Academy of Technology. In the two years teaching in Charlotte he raised his students’ passing rate on the state End of Course Exam from 43% to 89%. The experience was the most challenging, yet most rewarding experience of the young artist’s life. His love of mathematics and nature continues to have a strong influence on his ceramic work.When not in his studio, Pfeiffer enjoys spending time being active. An avid environmentalist, Pfeiffer loves everything from hiking, biking and running, to disc golf and soccer. Of course, as a Wisconsinite he is a huge Packers, Badgers and Brewers fan and loves attending games whenever possible.|
2012 (Sponsored by Blackboard, Inc.)
|Doctoral Student Teaching Award:||Connor Doak, Slavic Languages and Literature, Northwestern University|
Connor is a scholar and teacher of Russian literature, famous for its writers who ask grand, philosophical questions about the world. Why does evil exist? Can anything good result from of revolution? Can beauty truly save the world? I too encourage my students to confront such questions in my classes, equipping them with the skills to reflect critically on the most profound ideas presented in the texts. My broad, interdisciplinary approach to culture leads me to include a wide variety of texts–both literary and non-literary–in my class. As a result, my students report that my classes effectively provide an immersion in Russian culture.FutureConnor is currently an ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellow in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University. He will graduate in June 2013 and hopes to pursue an academic career in his chosen field of Russian literature.
|Master’s Student Teaching Award||Leslie Hull, Theater, Michigan State University|
|Teaching PhilosophyAs a teacher of the performing arts it is my privilege to engage students on a deeply human and uniquely individual level. Theatre at its core is the study of people and their actions. It is because of this that I offer my students the chance to focus wholly on themselves and the other individuals with whom they share the learning environment. This intimate and introspective space is more often than not unfamiliar and exciting territory and with their new found or revived passion for learning students open up to themselves and to others both on stage and off in awe inspiring ways. In a world where intrapersonal relationships exist primarily on blinking screens and in little bubble blocks of text, having the opportunity to offer young willing minds the chance to experience true connection in the ‘real world’ without the aid of technology is truly powerful, and in my humble opinion vitally important. It is my hope that the pupils in my classroom will become our future patrons, donors, artists and enthusiasts whom will help to continue the pursuit of truth which all Theatre strives to achieve.FutureI will soon make the move to New York City to continue my pursuit of a career in the Performing Arts. While there I hope to continue my educational endeavors both as instructor and eternal student.|
|Doctoral Student Teaching Award||Brandon Sullivan, The Ohio State University|
|Teaching PhilosophyClassically trained as a biologist and chemist, I describe my teaching pedagogy as Darwinian. In Darwin’s blueprint for life he credits evolution for the beauty and sophistication seen in nature. Evolution requires both diversity and natural selection to achieve success and overcome a myriad of obstacles. These principles are equally powerful within the classroom under the themes of experimentation and assessment. As students and teachers one can continually learn from Nature, our eldest and eminent teacher.FutureBrandon is in the final stages of his graduate career at the Ohio State University. He is writing his dissertation and preparing for an academic postdoctoral position.|
|Master’s Student Teaching Award||Patrick Silvey, Truman State University|
|Teaching PhilosophyAs an instructor of writing my immediate goal is to help students to clearly communicate their thoughts and ideas. However, my job is somewhat more complicated than that because, as I see it, before a student should express her ideas she must first develop the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze and evaluate them. My job, therefore, is not merely to teach students to write, but to teach students to write in a way that evidences critical thinking. Because I put so much emphasis on critical thinking skills, I have found that there is a lot of value in nurturing a student’s independence as a scholar. I make it clear to my class that I encourage fresh approaches to old ideas and I’m willing to entertain any argument. In short, I assess a student for her ability to reason and argue and not for her ability to choose an interesting topic.FutureI plan to move to Des Moines, Iowa, where I am currently looking for a job. I hope to submit some of the many papers I have written during my graduate career at Truman State University (including parts of my thesis) for publication and presentation. Soon I will apply to return to school to complete my graduate work and earn my Ph.D. in American studies with a focus in American literature.|