Outstanding TA Award
Tim Dougherty: 2014
Congratulations to Tim Dougherty, doctoral candidate in the Composition and Cultural Rhetoric program, for being awarded a 2014 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. The award recognizes teaching assistants who demonstrate excellence in significant instructional capacities. Selection for the Outstanding TA award is made by a university-wide committee of faculty recognized for their teaching excellence, and is given to approximately the top 4% of all TAs campus wide.
The following are excerpts from letters nominating Tim for this award:
As Tim’s Future Professoriate Program mentor during the 2012-13 academic year, I had the opportunity to discuss teaching with Tim on a regular basis and to observe several of his classes. During his first year of teaching in our program, Tim developed an extraordinarily strong record in teaching our two lower-division required courses, WRT 105 and 205. As a result of that established record as a teacher, Tim was given the opportunity to teach two upper-division courses the following year—WRT 307, professional communication, and WRT 308, a course on style that is primarily taken by Writing and Rhetoric majors. I observed both classes, and they revealed an agile and creative approach to teaching that is extremely rare even among faculty members. Tim’s thoughtful and strategic course design is a model of outstanding pedagogy. His syllabi are carefully crafted, and he scaffolds his assignments in ways that challenge students but provide them with support that encourages their success. His contagious enthusiasm ensures students’ active engagement in the work of the course, and his careful and sustained attention to course goals ensures that each class session will be productive.
—Writing Program Chair and Director Lois Agnew
I had never met any graduate student so versed in the dynamics of the writing classroom, so engaged by its difficulties and possibilities. . . . His course on “Style,” . . . was a tour de force. Tim developed a course which involved daily writing prompts, writing journals, and innovative in-class style "slams." As the students became engaged in the writing, he used their enthusiasm to talk about models of rhetorical argument, strategies to approach grammar, theoretical discussions about audience and intention. He has accomplished similar success in his required writing and business writing courses.
—Director of Graduate Studies Steve Parks
Tim led through example. He offered sound advice and demonstrated ways in which I could constantly improve the message. Always available in and out of the classroom, Tim eagerly fostered a collaborative learning environment that led everyone to do his/her best and make the most out of his/her experience. Tim constantly went the extra mile to support, instruct, and lead. Ultimately, Tim's influence is undeniable in my inspired attempt to become a better writer.
—a WRT 307: Professional Writing student
I don't think I've ever had a teacher who has been able to equally make themselves part of our team, as a group of "professional" writers, and still equally be respected and authoritative. . . . . I see lifelong application for the things he taught me about problem solving, working in teams, and finding ways for people to relate to and understand one another. I feel confident that he is deserving of any teaching award he is nominated for . . . .
—a WRT 307: Professional Writing student
I would describe Tim's teaching style as dynamic. There was always room to experiment with our writing, as individuals and as a class. I was petrified of sharing things at first, but it did get easier if only because the atmosphere in the classroom was so welcoming . . . . Tim also always made time for each of his students. Before finalizing our portfolios for the semester, we each met with him to go over our ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Tim about the portfolio . . . .
—a WRT 308: Style student
Asked to comment on the award, Tim responded, "I am very humbled to receive this award, as I owe much of my success in the classroom to the mentorship of our CCR faculty and the many instructive teaching conversations I've shared with the phenomenal, creative, and accomplished TA and PWI colleagues in our Writing Program. I've grown immeasurably as a teacher here at Syracuse. Thank you for the curricular space to innovate and the collegial atmosphere to reflect upon and refine my teaching practices."