Celebrating Extraordinary Teaching Assistants

Columbia Engineering’s teaching assistants are garnering rave reviews from students.
To recognize the outstanding work these TAs are doing to foster excellence in undergraduate education, the School will present the top-rated TAs with a special award for their exceptional effort. The Extraordinary Teaching Assistant Awards for the Fall 2011 semester will be given at a luncheon in April.
Based on evaluations submitted by students in their classes, 19 TAs who received the most outstanding ratings will be honored at the luncheon and will receive a certificate and $500 cash award. See the list of winners.
“The role of a teaching assistant is critical in a content-heavy curriculum such as in engineering and the applied sciences,” said Dean Feniosky Peña-Mora. “All of our TAs are deeply invested in support of our teaching mission. We want to celebrate those who go above and beyond for our students, who have the ability to take complex material and explain it clearly to students with many different learning styles, who have the patience, care, and time to respond to students’ individual questions and problems in an approachable and helpful fashion.”
Students who rated this group of TAs were unstinting in their praise. The TAs were cited for their great professionalism, command of the subject matter, ability to explain complex material clearly, and willingness to be on call, almost at all hours of the day or night. Several TAs were commended for hosting study sessions into the wee hours of the morning, especially before a big exam.
At the end of this semester, during the evaluation process, the next cohort of Extraordinary Teaching Assistants will be selected by their students and will be honored for their efforts during a celebration in the Fall semester.
“A great TA can make a tremendous difference in how an undergraduate student views a particular course, and, in fact, can play a large part in that student’s success in the course and in subsequent courses,” said Dean Peña-Mora. “We are fortunate to have so many exceptional TAs and are happy to be able to publicly acknowledge the very best of them.”
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