ESSM Graduate Students Impact Classroom Instruction Campuswide

 Doctoral students Rachel Wellman and Matt Berg recently completed service as TA Mentors for the Center for Teaching Excellence’s TA Institute. Over three days before the start of the semester, Rachel and Matt helped train more than 500 first-time and returning teaching assistants for duties this fall and beyond. They helped prepare TAs from across campus and offered guidance on classroom management, leaving a lasting impression, crafting powerful lectures, and instilling in students passion for the topic to motivate the next generation of learners. Their efforts aimed to equip first-time teachers and stir up excitement among this year’s TAs from every college on campus, and now those teachers are doing the heavy lifting in countless courses in dozens of departments.

 Rachel and Matt were solicited to apply based on their individual records of excellence in graduate teaching. Rachel, advised by Dr. Boutton, is a Fellow of the Texas A&M Graduate Teaching Academy and has taught four semesters of RENR 215: Fundamentals of Ecology Lab, four semesters of ESSM 203: Forest Trees of North America Lab, and one semester of ESSM 301: Wildland Watershed Management Lab. Matt, advised by Dr. Wilcox and Dr. Popescu, has led three semesters of RENR 215, two semesters of RENR 410: Ecosystem Management, one semester of RLEM 301 Range and Forest Watershed Management and two semesters of RLEM/ESSM 305: Watershed Analysis and Planning. Matt and Rachel were among only 10 individuals selected as Mentors from the entire university. No department had higher representation. We’ve got great graduate student teachers in ESSM, and now we’re impacting tens of thousands of undergrads across campus !