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Fellows 1998-1999

Co-Administrating the Program on College Teaching

Alexandre R. Caetano

The teaching experience and knowledge of issues related to higher education acquired by graduate students holding Teaching Assistant (TA) positions do not generally provide enough background for individuals who intend to pursue careers as college professors. In 1990, the Program in College Teaching (PCT) was developed in the Teaching Resources Center of the University of California, Davis to thoroughly prepare graduate students for teaching careers in institutions of higher education.

As part of my PFTF project, I worked as the graduate student co-administrator of the PCT. I co-facilitated 15 roundtable workshop meetings on issues related to higher education, consulted with the graduate student participants numerous times, videotaped PCT participants as they were teaching, and conducted class interviews at UCD and neighboring institutions. I also participated in meetings and in the preparation of workshops offered by the TA consult­ ants. My performance was evaluated by consultations with the PCT administrator (Will Davis) and by the mid- and final program reviews of the participants. In addition to my role as co-administrator of the program, I was. a member of an .ad hoc committee that conducted a review of the PCT from its inception to its present format, with an emphasis on the role this program has had on the process of TA training at the University of California, Davis. A document, summarizing the findings on the history of the PCT and proposing changes and additions to the, program, was prepared and made available to campus administrators and future PCT to-administrators and TA consultants.

Graduate Student Financial Support Survey

Jennifer Cross

The Dean of Graduate Studies convened a Task Force on Graduate Student Support at the request of Chancellor Vanderhoef and Provost Grey. As part of the effort to gather information about all aspects of graduate student support on the Davis campus, I conducted a survey of graduate student financial concerns. 'The survey asked students to report on their; history of support, most important financial concerns, and suggestions about how graduate programs and university administration could improve the delivery of support. The results of the survey were presented to the Task Foron Graduate Student Support and will be part of the final recommendations presented to the Chancellor.

The survey was sent to all currently enrolled graduate students in Winter 1999, and 515 students returned the survey. The biggest concern that students in all programs reported was not earning enough money to meet their basic costs of living. Oth.er financial concerns include: lack of funding opportunities, lack of summer funding, insufficient nonresident tuition fellowships, uncertainty about funding quarter to quarter or year to year, logistical problems with paychecks and financial aid. Many of the problems students reported with logistics, pay dates, travel to professional meetings, etc. are exacerbated by the fact that students are living on stipends that do not meet their basic financial needs. The major recommendation to the Task Force is that student stipends should match the cost-of-living estimates published by Financial Aid each academic year.

Women and Gender Studies: Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research Student Handbook and Procedures Manual

Susan A. George

My project.grew out of my position as the student coordinator/advisor of the Women and Gender Studies Designated Emphasis program (DE). In the time I have been at tJC Davis the program has undergone many changes, moving its offices twice and having at least three different program directors. When a full-time staff person was hired and the department was finally settled into the new office, it became clear that DE information packets needed to be updated and some kind of student handbook or procedures manual would be a great asset to the program and to the students it serves.

Out of this my project developed. With the help and support of Women and Gender Studies (my special thanks to Rosa linda Fregoso and Shaunna Ludwig.;.Clark) and the sponsorship of the Professors of the Future Program, I have written a student handbook loosely based on the one developed and used by American Studies. I have also developed a faculty and staff version that includes, among other things, the procedures for admitting students to the program, updating student files and filing the Graduate Studies DE Student Status form at each step of the student's progress toward completion of the program. Now that the DE program has this document, no matter how many changes occur there is a base starting point from which people can work (no more reinventing the wheel). The handbook/ procedures manual will be kept in the office on disk so it can be modified and/or updated whenever necessary.

Teaching Composition as a Foreign Language

Amy Lyn Gerbrandt

Teaching Composition as a Foreign Language guides students and instructors through the interdependent elements of composition and literary analysis using a structure similar to that of foreign-language textbooks and classrooms. Most foreign-language classrooms assume misunderstanding and discomfort are inevitable when dealing with a new language and culture.

In anticipation of this difficulty, foreign-language classrooms provide two elements crucial to helping students lower their resistance to and facilitate learning new subjects and skills. First, they provide a dear, consciously erected structure, so that students know what to expect on a day-to-day basis and can acquire language skills gradually. Second, they provide opportunities for students to improvise, using their own personalities, ideas, and eXperiences to practice and internalize their newly acquired skills. Foreign language classrooms have long used these techniques to facilitate the sense of importance, confidence, and community necessary to developing and retaining communication skills.

This book attempts to make explicit and systematic the skills crucial to developing a critical approach to composition and literature using a combination of structured learning and improvisation based upon the foreign-language approach. It includes explanation, examples, and techniques on subjects such as "The Culture of the Classroom," as well as handouts on quotation and text analysis, thesis development, paragraph development, comparative essays; and discussion practices. The book also includes a plan that walks students and instructors through the day-by­ day progress of building composition and analytical skills, from writing a short, 2-page essay closely analyzing a single text to a long essay dealing with multiple texts.

Presentation Skills for Graduate Students

Michael Marchetti

For my PFTF project I decided to develop a graduate student service for peer consultation related to non-teaching presentation skills. My project had three parts. I would first assess the level and scope of interest in such a service. Second, I would utilize the information gained by the questionnaire to guide the structure of what such a service would look like and how it would be administered. Finally I would offer the service on a trial basis.

I received 360 responses to the survey (approx.12% of all graduate students).The main results of the survey are as follows:

A majority (81% or 293/360) of respondents said they would use such a service if it were available. But a majority of the respondents (52% or 153/293) indicated that they would only use such a service if it were made discipline specific. (general purpose advice would be of little use at professional meetings or during job. talks due to the inherent differences between disciplines).

Based on the survey results it seems feasible to piggyback such a service with the existing TA consultant program. During the Spring Quarter 1999, I offered a Presentation Skills Service to three graduate groups (Ecology, Animal Behavior, Population Biology) which contain a total of 212 active graduate students. I received four responses for consultation. H this ratio was scaled up to the entire graduate population it could mean up to 55 graduate students per quarter might use this service. (The students I consulted with were very pleased with 'the service).

Julian’s Community College Connection: A Webpage with Community College Career Resources and Information.

D. Julian Nelson

It is vital that Ph.D. candidates search creatively for professional career opportunities. Graduate students must on front the reality of quickly changing trends in the job market, including the growing surplus of qualified Ph.D.'s and an ever shrinking number of academic positions. I encourage Ph.D. candidates to meet the demands of emerging job markets, especially to look at community colleges for challenging arid rewarding career possibilities.

Because the World Wide Web is a dynamic medium offering exciting possibilities for the dissemination of information, I have designed a Web site for UCD graduate students. This Website can be a very helpful tool for other Ph.D. candidates poised to enter the job market, but unaware of some rewarding alternatives. With important links to community colleges in the Yuba, Yolo, Solano, and Sacramento counties, it highlights an invaluable resource right at out our doorstep. These campuses are readily accessible and provide Ph.D. candidates with opportunities to gain invaluable professional experience. I include important contact personnel, as well as helpful information about the application and interviewing process, questions commonly asked, and my own personal experiences with the process, including my own teaching philosophy and sample syllabi. I discuss the demographics of community college students and indicate some important similarities and differences in the student body. The information is divided into five categories:

  1. Community Colleges and links: Yuba College (both in Woodland and Marysville), Sacramento City College, Cosumnes College, American River College, and Solano Community College
  2. Academic Jobs and Links
  3. Job Search Tips:
    • Sample Resume
    • Sample Syllabi
    • Teaching Philosophy
    • Interview Strategies
    • Helpful Resources and Links
  4. Contacts
  5. Transportation Tips

WIT - Web Instruction Templates

Vijoy Pandey

The World Wide Web can be used as an effective tool to supplement classroom learning. Though there are a few stellar Web pages designed to complement classroom teaching at UC Davis, there are numerous instructors who are not able to utilize the Web efficiently. There are two key areas which need improvement in most pages:  More...

  1. A sense of uniformity across the different course pages.
  2. A full appreciation of the content that can be provided in such pages.

A JavaScript-based ToolM

My goal was to develop a Web authoring tool customized for course instructors. The main design objectives were- ease of use (especially for HTML-unaware instructors), on-line as well as offline operation, and platform independence (so that it could be executed over Macs, PCs and Unix boxes). I chose to develop the tool in JavaScript because of its lightweight nature, client-side execution ability (permitting offline usage), and platform independence.

Features

There are two sections in the Web site created by the tool - a "universal" section, which can be accessed by anyone on the Internet, and a "secure" section, which can only be accessed by students registered for the course. The tool equips the course page with the basic set of capabilities described below:

  • Administrative issues for the course which includes course times and location, TAs, faculty, office hours, lecture outline for the quarter, and so on. (Universal).
  • Access to class notes, sample exams and their solutions, homeworks and their solutions. (Secure).
  • Continuous feedback from students. The tool allows instructors to create their own "unofficial" feedback form and place it on the Web site. Students will be able to anonymously submit an evaluation anytime they feel the need for improvement during the quarter. (Secure).
  • Use of discussion forum for announcements, grades and discussion. (Universal).
  • Students, TAs and faculty will be able to submit use ul WebURLs to the classroom site. The tool will allow the TAs to moderate such a submission procedure. (Secure).