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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Training the Next Generation of Educators: A Look at AEDE’s Participation in the University’s Graduate Teaching Fellows Program

The Ohio State University Graduate Teaching Fellows Program (part of the Ohio State Teaching Enhancement Program, or OSTEP) provides support to senior graduate students from across the university to develop new, discipline-specific teaching support activities for Graduate Teaching Associates (GTAs) in their respective academic units. Each year, an AEDE doctoral student represents the department in the program with the goal of providing training to their peers using OSTEP funding and guidance. The Graduate Teaching Fellows Program is co-sponsored by Ohio State University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Ohio State’s Graduate School.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, LaPorchia Collins served as AEDE’s Graduate Teaching Fellow. As part of the program, Collins administered a needs assessment survey to AEDE doctoral students in autumn 2015.

“The survey provided valuable information regarding students’ perception of teaching support within the department,” Collins explains when talking about some of the initiatives that she undertook as this year's Fellow. “Based on the survey, I designed teaching workshops to provide practical training regarding active learning strategies and classroom management.”

In spring 2016, 14 AEDE doctoral students participated in these training workshops. Of the 34 AEDE doctoral students that completed the needs assessment survey, 82 percent reported that they are considering a career in academia, 68 percent have held a GTA appointment in the department, and, 24 percent have already taught in AEDE classrooms. Though 90 percent of students surveyed noted that the department values excellence in teaching and offers opportunities for teaching experience, only 42 percent of respondents felt that the department offered sufficient training for GTAs.

“Overall, the survey results suggest that graduate students have a positive view of the culture of teaching within the department but there is a need for more professional development opportunities in the area of teaching,” Collins reflected.

In addition to facilitating teaching workshops, Collins started a guest lecturing initiative in which several doctoral students were matched with AEDE faculty to guest lecture in their classrooms. In her role as AEDE’s Graduate Teaching Fellow, Collins offered guidance regarding teaching strategies to students before their guest lecture and she provided substantive feedback afterward regarding their performance.

“My faculty mentor, Professor Brian Roe, helped to identify AEDE faculty members that wanted to participate in the guest lecturing initiative,” said Collins. “The students that participated in the initiative this year had not taught previously, so faculty involvement in the initiative really shows commitment to preparing students for academia.”

“I am elated that AEDE has decided to continue its participation in the Graduate Teaching Fellows Program. Based on the outcomes of my project as this year’s Fellow, I strongly recommend that the department continue to offer teaching workshops and other support,” Collins said.

Graduate Teaching Fellows are offered one-year terms. During the 2016-2017 academic year, doctoral student Isha Rajbhandari will serve as AEDE’s Graduate Teaching Fellow.

Top and bottom image: Doctoral students in the AEDE spring 2016 classroom management workshop facilitated through funding and guidance from Ohio State's Graduate Teaching Fellows Program.

Center image: Isha Rajbhandari (left), who will serve as the 2016-2017 AEDE Graduate Teaching Fellow, with LaPorchia Collins (right), who served as AEDE's Fellow during the 2015-2016 academic year.