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Educational Initiatives Award presented

28 April 2004

For the past 15 years, the Graduate Student Instructor Teaching and Resource Center has helped to prepare campus GSIs to teach, mentor, and evaluate Berkeley undergraduates in thousands of discussion sections, labs, and courses. In recognition of outstanding work in this arena, the center on Tuesday received the 2004 Educational Initiatives Award at the ceremony that also honored this year’s winners of the Distinguished Teaching Award

The EIA, given annually by the Office of Educational Development (OED), is in fact designed to complement the Distinguished Teaching Award. But in contrast to the latter’s acknowledgement of individual faculty, the EIA goes to a department, unit, or group of faculty that has created an outstanding program affecting undergraduate education. In its award citation, the OED referred to the wide range of programs the center offers to prepare GSIs for teaching — among them its Summer Institute for Academic and Professional Development, its annual seminar for faculty who team with GSIs to teach the campus’s largest lecture courses, and a variety of offerings designed to help GSIs develop teaching portfolios both as tools for academic job searches and as means to become “better, more reflective teachers.”

“The amazing staff there not only helped to prepare me for teaching as a first-time GSI,” said history graduate student Heather McCarthy in the awards citation. “They also offered programs to aid in my continuing growth as an instructor throughout my graduate studies. My experiences with the center have been nothing short of phenomenal.” OED noted that the center goes “well beyond the nuts and bolts of teaching, forging a research-based, reflective approach to teaching and learning.”

Linda von Hoene, director of the GSI Center, accepted the award on its behalf.