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Center for Teaching Excellence

Teaching Resources

GTA Teaching Resource Grant Awards Enhance Quality and Depth of Undergraduate Learning

With support from the Office of the Provost, the Center for Teaching Excellence invited graduate students to submit proposals for the development of instructional materials, modules, cross-curriculum assessments or other resources that would enhance the quality and depth of undergraduate student learning at the University of South Carolina.

Hannah Huber, Tara Martin, Kathleen Jocoy, and the resource development team of Robert Vandermolen and Hays Whitlatch were awarded GTA Teaching Resource Development Grants of $500 for use in Summer 2018 for project development. Each resource has been designed by the awardees to be incorporated into a specific course or curriculum, capable of application and transformation into an array of disciplines and/or student learning levels and shared with CTE for broad distribution as a pedagogically sound resource for implementation in multiple university units for enhancing student learning.

Hannah Huber is a PhD candidate and instructor of First-Year English. She will develop a resource that provides instructors with support for conducting peer review workshops in web sections of First-Year English (101: Critical Reading and Composition; 102: Rhetoric and Composition). First-Year English is just beginning to develop standardized materials and support for its online instructors. As a current Assistant Director of First-Year English, Hannah has become a pioneer in converting the program’s face-to-face curriculum into an online format. Hannah will use the resources she develops for her web section of English 102 in Fall 2018.

Although these resources will be developed with First-Year English instructors in mind, the general format and guidelines will be applicable to any online course that involves essay composition and revision practices. Peer review workshops are an integral component to First-Year English at the University of South Carolina, so there is no doubt that these resources will be sustainable.

Hannah received her Bachelor's of Science in Communications at the University of Tennessee and her Master's of Arts in English at the University of Memphis. Hannah's teaching interests include pedagogical practices for Active Learning in the classroom and online.

Tara Martin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The new resource she will develop this summer will be used in CRJU 430: Communities and Crime. This course serves as a writing-intensive elective for criminology and criminal justice majors, fulfills the coursework requirement in the Diversity and Social Advocacy pathway for Graduation with Leadership Distinction, and serves as an integrative course for the major.

The purpose of the new resources is to enhance students’ ability to write in an academic setting. Tara’s goal is to build writing skills through well-designed instructional materials and formative assessments that build to a final, polished research paper. These materials will be usable for any course that requires writing, regardless of discipline.

Tara received her B.S. in psychology from the College of William & Mary and her M.A. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include crime trends and communities and crime. In the classroom, she strives to build students' critical thinking and writing skills.

Kathleen Jocoy is a graduate student in the psychology department. Her grant project will develop a new, lab-based approach to developing undergraduate research proposals using the course Research Methods (PSYC 226), a core class in the psychology department. One of the primary aims of PSYC 226 course is to teach students how to write a research paper using the APA writing style. Kathleen’s lab-based approach places students in “labs” centered on their individual research interests.

Kathleen's new approach aims to 1) reduce the time instructors spend giving feedback while 2) giving students a more realistic research experience. The proposed deliverable is a set of six lesson plans describing how to lay out each lab meeting. The lesson plans do not require any special equipment or materials and can be easily embedded into any research methods course.

Kathleen obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Winthrop University in 2008 and a Master's degree in experimental psychology from Appalachian State University in 2010.  Her research focuses on individual differences in survey-taking behaviors and how those individual differences might impact data collection and individual level interpretations. As a teacher, her passion is to teach students to develop an excitement for statistics and research methods.

While Hays Whitlatch and Robert Vandermolen were raised a hemisphere apart and their mathematical interests are worlds apart, they are brought together by their passion for education. While working towards their Doctorates here at USC, Hays and Robert both received the USC Mathematics Graduate Student Teaching Award as well as the Peer Excellence Award in consecutive years (2015 & 2016).  

Whitlatch and Vandermolen’s joint project will develop a Speech-to-Text Analytic Resource (STAR) which extracts pedagogically relevant data from recorded lectures and returns useful metrics and teaching resources directed towards active learning. The main goal of developing this resource is to make available analytics which facilitate critical reflection with TA’s. Additionally, STAR will create customizable word clouds used to help students recall the previous lesson and visualize the connections that exist between terms or concepts. STAR will first be implemented in Math 546: Algebraic Structures I.

Hays Whitlatch, raised in Argentina, received his B.Sc. in Mathematics from University of Iowa and his M.S. from Middle Tennessee State. Robert Vandermolen, raised in South Carolina, received his B.Sc. and M.S. in Mathematics from the College of Charleston. Together they aspire to flex their pedagogical muscles and develop sound pedagogical practices for novice educators. 

In addition to funding, grantees will receive instructional design and pedagogical support from CTE staff and Instructional Design team. For more information on CTE's Graduate Student Programs, please contact program manager Michelle Hardee at HARDEEM@mailbox.sc.edu.


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