teachers draw their students in
the first time this year, two professors were recognized for teaching
University Seminars for first-year students and received Outstanding
this issue, Inside UVA looks at what makes them award-winning
teachers. We also include the last of the five faculty members
who received the 2001 All-University Outstanding Teaching Awards.
for other award winners.
an alumna of U.Va., Nursing
professor Sarah Farrell was once a first-year student herself.
Now, shes been awarded for teaching her first-year University
Seminar, Be the Spider, Not the Fly: Health Care Resources
on the Internet.
not just a catchy title: in response to the proliferation of information
on the Web, Farrell teaches her students to be savvy consumers.
From this course, she wants students to gain experience
in evaluating and using health care resources. They also
develop their own Web pages, including content and critique on
a health care topic of their choice.
are designed to be small classes to modify the all too
common experience of large lectures for first-year students
but its a welcome format for the teachers, too. Farrell
said only her graduate classes are that small. Offering the course
for the fourth time, there was so much demand, she opted to offer
innovative teaching methods also landed her the first USEM Sabbatical
Research Award, which shell take this fall.
its a USEM, Farrell said she can focus more on teaching
critical thinking and incorporate adult learning techniques, where
everyone participates in posing questions and considering various
possibilities and outcomes.
goal is to encourage students to think about how the emerging
information technologies are changing health care, how health
care is similar to and different from other e-commerce and what
the future might look like.
to one students evaluation, the course was presented
with more depth and sophistication than expected. Not only did
I learn a thing or two about health care on the Internet, I created
my first Web site.
is highly creative. She has been one of the pioneers in introducing
us to information technology, said Jeanette Lancaster, Dean
of the Nursing School.
She has always been a little bit ahead of the trend and
she uses that to teach and excite students.
Walls expertise in the Restoration and 18th Century literature
has continually inspired her classes. And now she has received
one of the first outstanding teaching awards for her USEM, Spies
has been a very popular teacher even though shes teaching
in an area thats not customarily popular with students,
said colleague Patricia Meyer Spacks, the Edgar F. Shannon Professor
of English. She
is one of the most innovative members of the faculty.
of the many things I enjoy about teaching USEMs is the chance
to play a little outside ones usual boundaries, Wall
said. Its the concept, not the field,
thats at issue how to use an idea or image to get
students to think critically about the acts of thinking, reading
includes on the reading list books she often teaches from her
field, such as Daniel Defoes A Journal of the Plague Year,
but can include others outside 18th century, such as Ian Flemings
You Only Live Twice.
has her students go through the course as if they were playing
spies. I ask the students how the act of reading is conceptually
related to espionage how do we pay attention to details,
question assumptions, watch behaviors, test boundaries, look for
hidden meanings and inhabit different identities, different cultures?
Every student keeps a spy journal and they begin with the assumption
that they are pretending to be themselves pretend you are
an agent sent to the University of Virginia in the character of
[your name here]. How do you put on a convincing performance of
yourself? Its a great exercise in point of view, she
obviously has left her students with an appreciative point of
view for her creativity. In one course evaluation, a student wrote
that Wall is the only part that I need to comment about
because she totally made this course for me. She was amazing and
an awesome discussion leader!
week word leaked out that psychology professor Tim Wilson had
been nominated for a teaching award, several students a day stopped
by chair Peter Brunjes office, offering to write recommendations.
Wilsons classes, I came to view human behavior as a mystery
to be solved, wrote former student Dawn Moeller. His
love of psychology was absolutely contagious.
courses he so magically orchestrates encourage students to become
totally absorbed in learning and thinking, wrote Toni Wegner,
former director of undergraduate studies in psychology.
It just doesnt get any better than that!
introductory courses, Wilson said he prepares detailed outlines
for each lecture, illustrates each topic with video clips and
demonstrations and uses concrete examples to make course material
relevant to students lives.
also encourages discussion, proffering his students a rare gift
absolute respect for their ideas, according
to former student Dana Dunn. He has a quiet way of encouraging
students to speak and, when necessary, gently guiding them to
consider other possible ideas or interpretations.
smaller classes, Wilson assigns projects in which students attempt
to apply what they have learned to improving their own self-knowledge,
including analyzing their dreams and tracking their moods over
several weeks, trying to identify how factors such as sleep, exercise
and weather affect them.
encouraged us to explore our own actions and feelings in light
of the principles we were learning; and he supported us in the
process, wrote Moeller.
expressed appreciation regarding Wilsons efforts on behalf
of his department. As director of graduate studies, Wilson changed
the position forever, coming up with guidelines that all
TAs, graders and faculty could abide, Brunjes wrote.
is also a first-rate scholar, having enjoyed continuous support
of his social psychology research program from the National Science
Foundation and the National Institutes of Health for more than
author of Social Psychology, a popular textbook currently in its
third edition, his forthcoming book is Strangers to Ourselves:
Self-Insight and the Adaptive Unconscious.