Graduate Spotlight: 2010 Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Recipients
Working with the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Graduate School offers the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in University Teaching to provide university credentials for graduate students with a passion for teaching.
Doctoral students pursue the certificate to hone their teaching style and technique in the classroom as both a teacher and student. As a result, the students are better prepared for future faculty positions.
"The certificate program recognizes you for receiving training in pedagogy to supplement the quality research you do for your dissertation research," said Sarah Jardeleza. "UGA empowers and enables students to pursue their love of teaching and improve their background in pedagogy, fostering the passion of teaching when we become faculty."
Frankie Weinberg said the certificate provides him with self-assurance and learning design insight while developing his management courses.
"My participation in the certificate program has given me the confidence to develop new curricula for the courses I teach that incorporate the aspects of experiential learning I have come to appreciate," said Weinberg.
According to David Knauft, associate dean of the Graduate School, the teaching certificate helps differentiate graduate students from their peers when they seek academic positions after graduation.
"UGA students in the academic job market who demonstrate their teaching expertise with the receipt of the certificate separate themselves from other candidates that have only teaching experiences and not the credential," said Knauft.
The teaching certificate has become more popular and grown quickly over the last five years. Thirteen students have completed the teaching certificate through May 2010. Today, 43 UGA graduate students are enrolled in the program.
Six UGA doctoral students completed the teaching certificate last spring semester.
Jim Gigantino received his Ph.D. from UGA in history, focusing his studies on colonial, revolutionary and early American history. He taught undergraduate history classes at UGA, specializing in early U.S. history. Gigantino has accepted a position as assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas.
For Cara Gormally, the teaching certificate validated her experiences as a teacher and researcher at UGA. According to her, the certificate’s integration of pedagogical research, publication and portfolio creation helped her understand the interrelated avenues involved in teaching. Gormally strives to confront misconceptions about biology while teaching basic biological concepts and cultivating an interest in how science is studied. She received the Excellence in Teaching award in 2009. Gormally is currently an academic professional in the biology department at Georgia Tech where her position incorporates biology, lab curriculum development and biology education research.
Sarah Jardeleza approaches teaching with the primary goal to help her students understand how they learn while also instilling a decent amount of skepticism with them. In order to best accomplish this goal, she uses inquiry-based methods of teaching and learning. Jardeleza also ensures student participation by meeting with them on an individual basis and in group question-and-answer sessions. These practices create different learning environments to accommodate all students. Jardeleza completed her Ph.D. in plant biology this past spring semester and recently accepted a postdoctoral position at Michigan State University.
Carly Jordan strives to demonstrate the real-world relevance of biology to her students. In order to do so, she tailors each class to the students’ interests, often developing case study assignments to match the students’ questions and research requests. Jordan voluntarily served as a guest lecturer for large biology classes her first two years at UGA and has since worked extensively as a graduate instructor in the biology department. She was the recipient of the 2010 Excellence in Teaching award. Jordan is currently a Ph.D. candidate in cellular biology.
After living abroad and realizing the powerful effects of experiential learning, Frankie Weinberg strives to construct similar experiences for his students in the classroom. He uses concrete learning strategies – such as case studies or simulated work environments – to teach students in his contemporary management courses. Weinberg received his Ph.D. from UGA in management and organizational behavior. He is now an assistant professor of management at Loyola University New Orleans.
Wenyi Zhou, a psychology graduate student, works with Professor Jonathan Crystal in the Animal Cognition Laboratory. Their research on the episodic memories of rats and other animals has shed light on Alzheimer’s disease. Zhou hopes her teaching experience will inspire future students to embark on their own forays into research and knowledge.
Learn more about participating in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in University Teaching.