Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week
The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Grace Li, visiting assistant professor of Economics, for her commitment to student success and creating an engaged and effective learning environment.
Dr. Li taught two sections of ECON 2006: Principles of Macroeconomics during the fall 2013 semester, both with a high enrollment of 115 students per section.
Dr. Li is committed to facilitating an engaged classroom in which her students are active participants. To facilitate this environment, Dr. Li veered away from the classic lecture model used in large classes and frequently encouraged discussion among her students as well as the class as a whole. To facilitate the desired level of student engagement, she also incorporated educational technology. For instance, the use of i-clickers allowed her to pose critical questions and example problems to stimulate in-class discussions that cultivated learning.
To support her students’ success, Dr. Li endeavored to meet her students where they were in order to build a robust base of new knowledge. For instance, she demonstrated flexibility in her teaching by elaborating beyond her planned lessons and PowerPoint presentations when her students required clarification. Further, she specifically designed presentations to support her students’ use of their individual learning strategies. Like many educators of large courses, Dr. Li used organized PowerPoint presentations; however, she structured the presentations analytically specifically to better enable her students to effectively take notes. Targeting higher-order thinking processes, she also designed and incorporated both in-class examples as well as homework assignments that supported her students’ learning and understanding by providing an appropriate level of challenge. To further target student learning, she also used outside resources for student assignments that helped her students to generate an experienced level of thinking and understanding (e.g., Sapling Learning website).
Although fall 2013 was the first semester Dr. Li taught ECON 2006, SPOT evaluation short response items showed that her students recognized her dedication to teaching and their learning. Several example responses include: “Dr. Li did a very good job of going over the material and, even though we were a shy and quiet class, she tried her very best to get classroom discussion going to stimulate our interest”; “Dr. Li was best at trying to get students involved in class as opposed to normal large lectures where teachers just ramble. She gives out i-clicker questions throughout class which also keep students on their toes”; and, “1. She is an incredibly down to earth teacher. She is really good at understanding where students come from and working with any problems a student may have. 2. Dr. Li is incredibly nice. 3. Dr. Li was honestly my favorite teacher this semester. This is by no means a joke or lie. She legitimately was my favorite teacher. 4. Dr. Li, wear your red car sweater more often cause it is AWESOME.”