UC Davis Today
Top graduate student teachers
By Julia Ann Easley
Graduate instructor Lacey Baldiviez inspired her students to work hard, study diligently and strive to learn. “She showed me what it is like to be passionate about a subject and a career path,” said Cat Marks, a major in clinical nutrition.
Baldiviez, who graduated with a doctorate in nutrition biology in December, and seven doctoral students are being recognized for their contributions to teaching, to learning and to students’ lives. They are the winners of the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Awards for 2014.
Here where the excellence of undergraduate teaching is celebrated, they have led or assisted in teaching almost 100 courses and are exemplary among some 2,500 graduate instructors who teach each year.
The voices of their students stand out among the nominations and letters of support that also come from professors and fellow graduate instructors. “She must become a professor!” raved one student on a course evaluation for Erin Melcon of statistics.
Performing all the teaching roles of a professor, the award winners have designed courses, prepared lectures, given and graded assignments, and more.
And while shining in the best traditions of teaching, they have also effectively used technology in the classroom — from data visualization to multimedia storytelling — and to connect with students beyond — from virtual office hours to course websites and more.
One of the hallmarks of the graduate teachers is their dedication to improving their skills. Kaveh Zamani of civil and environmental engineering took a six-week seminar series that helps associate instructors develop their teaching skills and additional teacher training offered through the Department of Mathematics.
The eight award winners have also contributed to the excellence of teaching beyond their own classroom. For example, Hang-Wei Hao of economics serves as a consultant to other graduate teaching assistants and instructors through the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. And Christina Owens of American studies co-wrote a handbook on best practices in an international student classroom, including how to use multimedia, blogs and quizzes.
Winners of the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award for 2014
Lacey Baldiviez, Ph.D. in nutrition biology Fall 2013
Nutrition Assessment, spring 2013
Hang-Wei Hao, economics
Economy of East Asia, spring 2013
Danielle Joesten, political science
Scientific Study of Politics, Summer Sessions 2013
Erin Melcon, statistics
Statistics for the Biological Sciences, fall 2013
Christina Owens, cultural studies
Introduction to American Studies, fall 2013
Dyani Johns Taff, English
Literatures in English I, fall 2013
Lina Yamashita, education
Popular Science and Technology Writing, winter 2013
Kaveh Zamini, civil and environmental engineering
Engineering Hydraulics and lab, Summer Sessions 2013
Julia Ann Easley of Strategic Communications writes about Graduate Education, Undergraduate Education and more.
On the UC Davis home page: Economics TA Hang-Wei Hao is a consultant to other teaching assistants and serves as a role model for fellow international students. Karin Higgins took this photo. She and Gregory Urquiaga, both of Strategic Communications, were the photographers for the slideshow above.