Front row (left to right): Samantha Mosqueda, Ms. Vicki Mokuria, Clayton Mulvihill, Mrs. Carolyn Cotton, Dr. Tracy Hammond, Vijay Rajanna. Back row (left to right): Dr. Victor Arizpe, Jonathan Barnes, Dr. Timothy Jacobs, Mr. Carlos Cotton, Sarah Brown (representing Lexi Mitchell), Mr. Sherman Finch, Dr. Yucel Akkutlu, Mohamed Eid.
By Texas A&M University Center for Teaching Excellence
The Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University held its second annual “Aggies Celebrate Teaching! – Recognizing Transformational Learning” recently. This year’s award reception was part of the inaugural Texas A&M University Transformational Teaching and Learning Conference and was made possible through the generosity of Carlos and Carolyn Cotton, members of the class of 1973.
Students across all disciplines wrote heart-felt essays giving evidence of and reflecting upon the instructor’s impact on their learning and lives. This annual teaching award celebration provides a unique view of teaching excellence. Students share their personal experiences of the relationship between teacher and learner, growth and change, difficulties and triumph – experiences that shifted their thinking and perspectives in a personal way. Six students honored their instructors as inspirational and transformational mentors.
“Teaching that encourages students to question assumptions and challenge beliefs… such that they emerge from the experience with a changed perspective influencing interactions and contributions to a modern world,” Center for Teaching Excellence Director Dr. Debra Fowler said.
An overwhelming amount of transformational teaching and learning experiences were shared by students, faculty, and instructors, exemplifying the importance of using transformational teaching practices to foster student learning and encourage personal growth. One student attested to their professor encouraging them to “appreciate things that may not always appear customary or traditional.” Another shared how their professor “inspires others to not just learn, but to teach, themselves,” as well as how they implement their teaching strategies and mannerisms in their own classroom, thus encouraging the continuation of transformational teaching practices.
The influence that the awarded faculty and instructors have had on their students was palpable during the reception, evidenced by the awe-inspiring speeches given and heartfelt reaction by the audience when stories and educational practices were shared. Following student speeches, the faculty awardees shared experiences related to their transformational teaching practices. One professor stated that he believes “if you’re passionate about education, you won’t be just passionate about teaching, you’ll be passionate about everything that you do.”
Although each faculty-student pair shared unique stories related to their personal experiences, it was made clear that there are many ways to teach, as well as many individuals at Texas A&M University that promote transformational learning and foster student growth and development.
The following six instructors were honored for their transformational teaching practices:
- Dr. Yucel Akkutlu, College of Engineering, nominated by Mohamed Eid, senior Petroleum Engineering major
- Dr. Victor Arizpe, College of Liberal Arts, nominated by Jonathan Barnes, senior Political Science major
- Mr. Sherman Finch, College of Architecture, nominated by Lexi Mitchell, graduate student in Visualization
- Dr. Tracy Hammond, College Engineering, nominated by Vijay Rajanna, graduate student in Computer Science and Engineering
- Dr. Timothy Jacobs, College of Engineering, nominated by Clayton Mulvihill, graduate student in Engineering
- Ms. Vicki Mokuria, College of Education and Human Development, nominated by Samantha Mosqueda, freshman in University Studies major with a Concentration in Child Professional Services
Media contact: Sherri MacWillie, firstname.lastname@example.org.