The Department of Biology is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual Award for Teaching Excellence in Teaching Assistants and Markers. The decision was especially difficult this year due to the quality of the nominated candidates. As a result, the committee decided to allow a tie and give the award to two excellent TAs in Biology: Brontë Shelton and Jacqueline Barnett-Fraser.
Brontë Shelton was nominated for her work as both a marker and a TA on three different courses this past year: BIOL 308, 357 and 306. The nomination letter highlighted her professionalism, accuracy in grading, and the level of engagement she was able to maintain with the students. On top of that, the letter highlights how conceptually different each of these three courses is, with very little overlap in terms of knowledge or skills, and yet Brontë “never phoned it in, and she was always fully prepared.” Finally, it was noted that working with insects (for the Entomology class) was new for Brontë and not something she was entirely comfortable with at first. Still, she never once let that discomfort show to her students, exhibiting a level of professionalism that goes above and beyond expectations.
Our second winner is Jacqueline Barnett-Fraser, who was nominated both for her work within the department, and for her educational leadership at UBC Okanagan more broadly. Jacqueline is an experienced TA in Biology, having worked with several courses over the past five years, including BIOL228 and BIOL133. Like Brontë, she is an excellent TA who works hard to do her best work in the classroom, actively working to improve her teaching every term. In addition, she has been working to improve the teaching landscape here at UBC Okanagan for TAs and faculty through her work with the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL). She has served as a Learning Design Intern, helping faculty with their teaching for a number of years. She has also been heavily involved in the CTL’s TA training program, to the point where she was able to take over and run the entire program this past January, when the education consultant that normally runs the program had to go on leave unexpectedly.
Congratulations to both of our winners, and sincere thanks on behalf of the department for your excellent work to support our students!