Ivan Allen Faculty Take Top Honors in SLS Teaching Awards
Posted March 10, 2021
Three faculty members from the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts were named as winners of the Sustainable Communities Teaching Awards: People's Choice Selection by Serve-Learn-Sustain, Georgia Tech's campus wide sustainability initiative. They include Julia Tigner, a Brittain Fellow in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Dylan Brewer, assistant professor in the School of Economics; and Allen Hyde, assistant professor in the School of History and Sociology.
The contest invited faculty to describe their efforts to adapt their courses to challenges posed by Covid-19. Tigner, who was awarded first prize and a $1,000 award, taught English 1101: Discovering Spaces In-Between with an eye on the constraints posed on students' physical presence due to the pandemic. In one assignment, she shifted students from focusing on a physical location to examining how a subject can be represented differently between mediums. Tigner also incorporated the subject of racial justice into the course by examining the role and purpose of statues, which serve as permanent installments symbolizing the past on college campuses.
"I appreciate the recognition and opportunity to reflect,” Tigner wrote upon receiving the award. “2020 was a year filled with significant challenges for working and living, including adapting courses for remote learning. I am especially inspired by the ingenuity of my fellow colleagues and I am happy to be in the company of those committed to building sustainable communities."
"Dr. Tigner's work with and for her students demonstrates how contemporary issues regarding belonging, continuity, liminality, and racial justice can be integrated successfully into a required first-year course whose outcomes focus on making our students excellent college-level communicators," said Richard Utz, chair of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. "Her work shows the power of smart liberal arts learning at its very best."
Brewer and Hyde, who both received $500 runner-up prizes, also wrote at length about the adaptations they made to their classes. Hyde's class HTS 2016: Social Issues and Public Policy worked with community organizations in Clarkston to facilitate virtual interviews with area youth on their desired features in a planned community center and their overall thoughts on the city. Brewer adapted ECON 1000: Principles of Microeconomics to be a mix of asynchronous and synchronous classes, with his 30-minute synchronous classes emphasizing variety and interaction among class members.
Additionally, Michael Nitsche, associate professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication; and Jennifer Singh, associate professor in the School of History and Sociology, received honorable mentions.