Program Prepares Students for Careers in Academia
University of Houston’s Graduate School and the Office of the Provost offered the successful Future Faculty Fellowship program to select Ph.D. students again this year. The aim of the program is to prepare graduate students for careers in academia.
In all, 42 Ph.D. students were selected from majors ranging across all disciplines offered at UH. There were 11 Fellows from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; five of them were from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The EAS participants included four geology students – Tithi Ghosh, Ryan Jeffcoat, Unal Okyay, and Carolina Ramon – and one geophysics student, Hongli Jing.
The program encompassed a two-week intensive boot camp, held August 8-19, where participants learned best practices in teaching through topical seminars, discussion panels, online training and workshops. Topics included diversity in academia, academic technologies for teaching, time management, running experimental lab sections and online classes, managing a classroom, and running a discussion group.
"One of the best things about this training is that it addressed a wide variety of issues we may experience as TAs and probably will experience as faculty members. Important aspects of being an effective teacher were discussed, ranging from designing lectures and assignments to adopting different methods and technologies, from listening and understanding students' needs to being able to handle troubling situations,” said Unal Okyay. “But apart from this, what I really liked is, we touched on how to balance, or juggle if you will, excellent research, effective and inspiring teaching, and a productive and rewarding personal life."
During fall 2016, Fellows will be involved in a teaching practicum in each academic program or department where they will be able to apply the teaching techniques acquired during the boot camp.
“The Future Faculty fellowship has been a valuable experience that has given me better tools to communicate and teach effectively,” said Carolina Ramon. “It is important to be a knowledge facilitator to the students, creating an active learning classroom environment that involves students in the teaching-learning process.”