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Grad Students Honored at Center for Teaching Excellence Award Event

On Wednesday evening, the Center for Teaching Excellence held an award ceremony to honor both graduate student teachers who won the Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award and those who have completed the Apprenticeship in College Teaching (ACT) program.

The awards program was established to highlight the importance of the pursuit of excellence in the teaching of graduate teaching fellows and teaching assistants at Boston College. The award is named after Donald White, who was the dean of the Morrissey Graduate College of Arts and Sciences for 23 years.

The ACT program combines teaching seminars with class observations and the developing of teaching materials. Each student is assigned a faculty mentor who serves as a guide through the program.

John A. Rakestraw, the executive director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, presented the opening remarks at the event.

“Today, we pause to honor graduate students who have gone above and beyond,” Rakestraw said. “Good teaching doesn’t just happen.”


“When [teachers are] invested in you and believe in you, you can’t help but to give them excellence. When we highlight areas students are excellent in, it matters.”

—Renata Love Jones, award recipient


After an invocation of prayer by Arthur Madigan, S.J., Vice Provost of Faculties Patricia DeLeeuw gave her congratulatory remarks.

“You have thought deeply about the craft of teaching,” DeLeeuw said. “There is nothing that is bettering the world more than teaching well.”

Then, the ACT graduates were given certificates, and the Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Award winners were individually honored. The award winners shared handshakes and hugs with their faculty mentors.

Following the presentation of the awards, award recipient Renata Love Jones gave a speech about her teaching experience. She reflected on her time teaching at an all-boys middle school in South Korea. Through her experiences teaching abroad, she found that her passion was in the classroom. She spoke about the importance of the relationships between teachers and students and of listening.

Jones then talked about the importance of formal assessment and expecting the best from students.

She mentioned her most influential professors, who inspired her to enjoy learning.

“When [teachers are] invested in you and believe in you, you can’t help but to give them excellence,” Jones said. “When we highlight areas students are excellent in, it matters.”

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

May 4, 2016
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