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Undergraduate Teaching Fellows are Honored

Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013

group photo of USU's 2013 Undergradue Teaching Fellows honorees

Ten students were honored as the top 2013 Undergraduate Teaching Fellows. (seated L to R) Kyle McKenna, Jamie Felix, Howard Cordingley, Eliana Fernandez; (standing L to R) Colby Smith, Clayton Handy, Andrea Decker, Curtis Steinfeldt, Michael Burnham.

A banquet was held April 11 to honor a distinguished group of undergraduates — those involved in Utah State University’s Undergraduate Teaching Fellows program. The top fellows from each college were honored.

Those honored were welcomed by Larry Smith, executive senior vice provost, and the awards were presented by USU’s Executive Vice President and Provost Raymond T. Coward.

The award recipients, listed here in order of their appearance in the photograph, include (standing, left to right) Colby Smith, College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences; Clayton Handy, the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources; Andrea Decker, USU Honors Program; Curtis Steinfeldt, College of Science; and Michael Burnham, the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business; (seated, left to right) Kyle McKenna, Caine College of the Arts; Jamie Felix, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services; Howard Cordingley, College of Engineering; and Eliana Fernandez, University Libraries. Honoree Dallin Webb, College of Humanities and Social Sciences is not pictured.

Francis B. Titchener, USU professor of history and classics, provided information on the Undergraduate Teaching Fellows program and its significance. She has a long association with the fellows program and acts as a mentor. She is instrumental in providing training each fall for the Undergraduate Teaching Fellows.

For more than 20 years, the Undergraduate Teaching Fellows program at Utah State University has provided thousands of students with the opportunity to learn about life “from the other side of the podium.” Students who become Undergraduate Teaching Fellows are nominated by faculty or apply directly to their departments or colleges, to assist in a specific class.

Once hired, UTFs perform a wide variety of tasks both in and outside the classroom, sometimes online. They attend an initial training session conducted by university officials on important issues like privacy and students of concern.

By working with faculty mentors, UTFs learn basic skills associated with academic instruction like time management, how to focus and organization of information and materials. They may also gain more specific skills like working with computer applications and databases, and advanced skills like making a formal class presentation, correcting homework, leading group discussions, providing feedback to students on writing and helping create quizzes and tests. The benefit of this to faculty is obvious. But even more, the UTFs benefit greatly from the mentor relationship itself. Working closely with their supervisors, UTFs not only gain skills, confidence and experience, but also lay groundwork for other, more advanced opportunities, and for good, detailed letters of recommendation.

This symbiotic arrangement also benefits the students taking the class. Students are often more comfortable asking questions of other students and appreciate the insight that UTFs can give them in terms of how complicated an assignment might be, or how much effort might be required. Often first contact comes from students learning of the UTF program for the first time by observing the students assisting in their own classes. And larger classes run much more smoothly with UTFS involved.

Almost every College at USU uses UTFs. Interested students should contact their college office to find out where to submit applications.

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