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CLAS Students win 2014 Garrett T. Heberlein Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Students
Posted Thu, 4/17/2014
 
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Araz Hashemi, a graduate student in Mathematics, and Megan Throm-Petersen, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology, have won the 2014 Garrett T. Heberlein Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Students at Wayne State University. The award recognizes graduate students who demonstrate instructional excellence. It is designed in part to elevate the attention given to teaching as part of graduate education and the preparation of graduate students to serve as college and university teachers.

This is the only university-wide teaching award made to graduate students, so this is indeed an accomplishment.  The Award was presented at the University's Academic Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, April 24, 2014

Congratulations, Araz and Megan!
 

ARAZ HASHEMI
Ph.D. candidate
Department of Mathematics

Araz Hashemi, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Mathematics, demonstrates the passion and excellence that characterizes winners of this award. He is unusually creative, industrious and empathetic with students. His “warm-up” exercises before class — like his use of “impossible” problems to demonstrate real-world math applications — have inspired students and the Department of Mathematics. In the classroom, Hashemi never stops working, making intensive use of every minute while staying available to all students. He is always receiving feedback to improve his teaching. To many here, this is not surprising: he took the department’s GTA training course as an undergraduate simply out of a desire to learn. He understands in full the link between teaching and learning. This understanding helps provide him with empathy for students. He truly values their ideas and encourages their contributions. Students say that he allows them to discover the concepts themselves, is patient and clear, and is fantastic at building and maintaining strong rapport with his students. Hashemi’s excellence in teaching and commitment to growth are the defining characteristics of a truly great graduate teaching assistant. He fully embodies the spirit of the Garrett T. Heberlein Excellence in Teaching Award.

MEGAN PETERSEN
Ph.D. candidate
Department of Sociology

Megan Petersen is truly an educator. Having started her teaching career as a K-12 math and science teacher in metropolitan Detroit, she knows classrooms and students. The Sociology Department regards her as one of their best Ph.D. students, in part because of her extraordinarily effective work teaching their upper-level methods course (4200). It is one of the department’s more challenging courses for undergraduates, but essential in preparing them for their capstone course. This success follows her success in teaching Intro to Sociology. Her SETS scores were 13.5 and 14.1. Her assignments creatively prompt students to engage what they know in mainstream media in order to further process course material. She understands that education writ large is a pathway to greater social equality and justice and, perhaps most importantly, helps students explain their own life circumstances to themselves. Clearly, many appreciate her balance of rigor and compassion. As one student writes, “we wanted the ‘A’ we had to earn in her course.” Her students remarked regularly on her ability to guide them from the first day of class to the last with an engaging seriousness. This seriousness derives in part from her own attachment to scholarship. Like any good teacher, she knows her material well.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
4841 Cass Avenue 2155 Old Main
Detroit, MI 48201
Phone: (313) 577-2515
Fax: (313) 577-9693
Website: www.clas.wayne.edu
Email: an8828@wayne.edu