The University Teaching Fellows Program aims to help our most intellectually sound and successful junior faculty members develop into exceptionally fine teachers. The selection committee-comprised of awardwinning faculty-seeks to choose junior faculty members who show promise of becoming both eminent researchers and inspiring teachers. In existence since 1992 and funded by the Provost, the UTF Program remains true to its original Lilly Endowment goals to support impressive junior faculty as they refine their teaching expertise while pursuing strong research agendas. The Program centers around ongoing conversations about how faculty communicate their academic disciplines to undergraduates, how various teaching approaches might enhance one’s courses, and how research enlivens and inspires teaching. The 2006-07 winners of University Teaching Fellowships will be rethinking these courses:
Nisha Botchwey, Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture
The neighborhood planning and plan making accomplished through my Neighborhood Planning Workshop involves a host of social, economical, cultural, aesthetic and legal considerations. For undergraduate planners to successfully interpret, respond to and present a professional plan, they must apply core knowledge planning components to team projects based in the local Charlottesville community. I would like to redesign this course to help students sharpen their data analysis and communication skills. Students will consult with citizens and local institutions, create plans and publish them on the internet.
Irina Mitrea, Mathematics
During the next academic year, my plan is to design an interdisciplinary course that introduces undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines to mathematical modeling. This course will take competent students who had not previously considered a career in mathematical sciences and let them experience scientific discovery by engaging in significant research. By modeling various aspects of everyday life such as weather forecasting and air traffic control, the class will emphasize teamwork versus individual effort. The best four students will have the opportunity to participate and represent U.Va. as a team in the international competition Mathematical Contest in Modeling.
John Nemec, Religious Studies
My project for the coming year involves designing a course entitled “Contemporary Hinduism.” The course will survey contemporary Hinduism in light of the classical tradition. My goal is to bring a multidisciplinary approach to the subject matter by involving anthropological and sociological methods, as well as textual studies, in order to understand the impact of the continuities and innovations of contemporary Hinduism on the classical tradition. I will focus on better integrating theoretical materials into the course syllabus, as well as innovating new methods of examining the ways in which religion interacts with the state and operates in the public square.
Todd Scanlon, Environmental Sciences
Introduction to Physical Hydrology (EVSC 340) is a required class for Environmental Sciences majors that applies quantitative principles of math and physics to hydrological problems. My primary goals in improving this class include these: (1) better integrate current issues of interest to students, (2) foster classroom discussion and (3) stress linkages between hydrology and other aspects of environmental sciences. As part of the course design, my plan is to meet all the students on a one-to-one basis during the semester and to reward class participation while enhancing resources available for study outside the classroom.
Bethany Teachman, Psychology
I am interested in developing a seminar on fear and anxiety disorders that will be cross-listed for undergraduate and graduate students. The course will focus on risk factors for anxiety problems, phenomenology of the primary anxiety disorders, and evidence-based treatments. I expect that the class will include undergraduate and graduate students from non-clinical tracks of psychology and also clinical graduate students with extensive experience in the subject area. I want to explore how to make class discussions and projects work for students with such diverse backgrounds and how to have the class effectively meet the needs of students at multiple levels simultaneously.
Fernando Tejedo-Herrero, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese Spanish Sociolinguistics
introduces students to some fundamental topics related to studying language in its social context. In teaching this course, I realized that students could not capture the level of abstraction of theoretical explanations if they were not exposed first to examples of how those principles manifest themselves in real language use. Thus I will focus primarily on authentic material and examples underlying main theoretical aspects. By emphasizing the practical component, I intend to involve students more in discussion, build their interest in research, develop their perspective on the cultural and linguistic diversity associated with the broad term “Spanish,” and periodically assess how the course is going.