May 4-10, 2001
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Arts and Sciences Academy chooses three from U.Va.
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U.Va.'s Seven Society honors graduate teaching assistants

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Study finds wide variation in children's experiences with first-grade classrooms
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U.Va.'s Seven Society honors graduate teaching assistants

By Robert Brickhouse

They were honored April 25 for their dedication to students, substantial knowledge of the subject matter and skill in conveying passion for that knowledge. They are not senior professors who’ve worked for many years on their teaching style, but graduate teaching assistants practicing an essential part of the professorial role. Thirteen U.Va. graduate teaching assistants were finalists for the Seven Society Graduate Fellowship for Superb Teaching, a $7,000 award given by the U.Va. philanthropic society since 1997. The award — given to Kelly Erickson of the Department of Government & Foreign Affairs — recognizes a teaching assistant who embodies the highest ideals of teaching at the University.

Jason Kehler of the Department of Drama was named winner of the 2001 Dr. Frank Finger Graduate Fellowship, also announced at the banquet. Funded by a gift of J. Huston McCollough II in honor of Dr. Frank Finger, Alumni Professor of Psychology, the $4,500 fellowship is awarded each year to a graduate teaching assistant from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, in recognition of stimulating and organized classroom teaching.

“The decisions of the committee were difficult, given the high standards set by the finalists,” said award coordinator Jann Lacoss, faculty consultant at U.Va.’s Teaching Resource Center. “The nominees all exemplify outstanding teaching at the University. They have had a great impact on undergraduates and are all worthy of highest recognition for their accomplishments.”

Unlike teaching awards based on departmental or faculty recommendations, former students nominate TAs for the Seven Society fellowship. Four undergraduate students also served on the selection committee.

The other finalists honored at the banquet were:
Tim Brelinski, Classics
Maria Celeste Delgado-Librero, Spanish, Italian, & Portuguese
Gail Dempsey, Chemical Engineering
Fred Drogula, History
Matthew Goldfeder, Government & Foreign Affairs
Ryan Higginbottom, Math
Melin Huang, Physics
Ann Martella, Spanish, Italian, & Portuguese
Michael Powers, Classics
Brian Schoen, History
John Worozbyt, Sociology


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