Two graduate students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts' Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies have won prestigious Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards from Syracuse University's Graduate School. Pamela Barker and Kyle Colglazier, both master’s students in the department, competed with Ph.D. students across the University for this honor.
The Outstanding TA Award recognizes teaching assistants who have made distinguished contributions to Syracuse University by demonstrating excellence in significant instructional capacities, such as classroom teaching, laboratory or studio instruction, leading recitation or discussion sections or assisting senior faculty members with high-enrollment courses. The nomination for these awards included extensive teaching portfolios and letters of support from faculty and students. Barker and Colglazier each received extensive support.
Barker served served as a teaching assistant for CRS 325 Presentational Speaking, Fall 2015; CRS 625 Oral Communication Skills for Engineers, Fall 2016; and CRS 225 Public Advocacy, Spring 2016 and 2017.
"She has handled her teaching responsibilities with grace and compassion," says Lynn Greenky, assistant professor of CRS and Barker's supervisor. "In those inevitable situations with students that require diplomacy and patience, Pam maintains her professional composure and responds to students fairly and with respect."
Barker also received multiple letters of support from her students.
Colglazier’s nomination for his teaching of Presentational Speaking was initiated by his teaching mentor, Professor Amardo Rodriguez, who wrote, "Kyle is a very committed and devoted instructor. In my view, Kyle’s pedagogical temperament and manner reveals a person who is genuinely committed to being an outstanding instructor. In the classroom, Kyle is always trying to engage his students in important ideas and show why ideas still matter. He is always working on his teaching, always aspiring to be a better teacher.”
Colglazier’s students concurred. One wrote, “Kyle has a genuine passion for communication and rhetorical studies, and a sincere compassion for his students. He just wants to share his love of the course that he is teaching, and will go that extra mile that not many teachers are willing to do.”
Colglazier explained why this award is meaningful to both himself and Pam Barker:
"I feel incredibly fortunate and honored to have received this award. An even greater feeling is knowing that I get to share its acceptance with my teaching 'partner-in-crime,' Pam Barker, who has been with me for this whole experience. Teaching has quite honestly been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my graduate career. I strive to create an inclusive and welcoming classroom environment where I can create lasting, personal connections with my students. These connections not only help me to better understand their individual learning styles, but I also just love discovering what makes my students' minds tick--discovering what they're passionate about and applying those passions to communication concepts. In turn, I feel as if I learn just as much from them as they learn from me.”
“We are extremely proud of our graduate student teachers," says Professor Dana Cloud, director of the graduate program in communication and rhetorical studies. "Pam and Kyle are so deserving of these awards. It is amazing to think that in a field of Ph.D. teacher-scholars, they were already hitting the mark as master’s students.”