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 award-winning 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 2007-08 winners of University Teaching Fellowships will be rethinking these courses:
Edward Botchwey, Biomedical Engineering & Orthopedic Surgery
Tissue Engineering (BIOM 417) is an elective class for biomedical engineering majors that integrates aspects of engineering and other quantitative sciences with biology and medicine toward the repair, replacement or preservation of tissues in the body. My primary goals in improving this class are 1) to better design and organize lecture materials, and 2) to better integrate core knowledge and advances in computational biology, immunology and developmental biology into the course. In addition, I plan to design a new course website that will relate course content to current tissue engineering research being conducted at U.Va.
Benton Calhoun, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Computer Architecture (ECE/CS333) deals with the interface between software and hardware. This crossroads between the computer-science and electrical-engineering worlds requires carefully crafted material to be relevant and exciting to each student in the classroom. This course redesign will focus on three areas. First, because computer architecture depends on a bewildering set of abstractions, I will explore a better method of illustrating, organizing and applying these abstractions. Second, I will develop more sophisticated ties between the theoretical material and real-world products such as cell phones, laptops and so on. Finally, I will redevelop the course laboratory by adding hands-on interaction with real hardware.
Douglas Fordham, Art History
My aim is to design an undergraduate lecture course focusing on European art from the foundation of the French Royal Academy of Arts in 1648 to the fall of the Bastille in 1789. While the period is frequently categorized as “Baroque to Rococo,” I will attempt to create a dialogue between Britain and France that will encourage students to consider the role of visual art within rapidly centralizing states. While class-bound Ancien Régime art can be daunting to students, we will consider cultural spaces such as Versailles and the gardens at Stowe through the use of film, literary narratives, aesthetic treatises and digital imagery, all in the hopes of making these complete artistic environments come alive.
Alison Levine, French
The extraordinary curricular freedom afforded me at U.Va. has challenged me to think about course design based on deep questions rather than on coverage of a particular area. I would like to respond to this challenge by designing my new course, “Claiming the Real: The Documentary Impulse in France,” around a question that fundamentally motivates my research on documentary film: that of narratives of truth. Why do many students seem to believe that given an “objective” non-fictional source, the Truth can be known? Creating a course that explores non-fictional writing and film will lead me to think broadly about why we teach what we teach, what an undergraduate course should do, and how my research can energize my teaching.
Amori Yee Mikami, Psychology
Through an introductory course on statistics and research methods required for all psychology majors, I aim to excite students about the relevance of psychology research to their lives, and encourage their self-efficacy as research scholars. My goal will be met if students tell their friends who are not in the class about “the cool technique” they learned that day, and if more studentsparticularly those from nontraditional backgrounds or those who previously believed they could not do or would not want to do research-develop interest in pursuing graduate work in psychology.
Victoria Olwell, English
Because citizenship always requires rethinking, I’m pleased that I’ll spend next year retooling my course, “U.S. Literature and Citizenship.” The course explores the connections between literary writing and understandings of citizenship in the U.S., from the late eighteenth century through the present day. This coming year, I want to find new ways for students to make connections between their own relationships to citizenship and the conditions of participation that historically have defined civic membership. And at the same time, I also am looking to discover ways to reckon with the difficulties posed by the exclusive and privileged nature of citizenship.
Xiaochao Zheng, Physics
I will work on improving Electricity and Magnetism II (required for majors). The basic knowledge of E&M has been around for 150 years; therefore, it will not be difficult to find examples from either daily life or state-of-the-art research to enrich course material, interest and even impress students. But, in looking back on my early days, I find that often it was not subject-matter knowledge that became most helpful and crucial in my work as a physicist, but rather the strong self-discipline and techniques I acquired through learning. My goals thus include making the course both fun and intellectually challenging, while emphasizing discipline and skill training. And the latter, of course, also applies to myself as a teacher.