Grad Students Win Grant to Improve Pedagogy

January 12, 2023
graduate students looking at screen


Every year, Baylor University's Graduate School awards several "Baylor Engagement and Recruitment Grants" (BEAR Grants) to graduate students who demonstrate exceptional efforts in fostering community, scholarship, and collegiality within their departments. In 2022, Ph.D. students Brooke LeFevre and James Howard proposed a plan to hold monthly gatherings for graduate students to discuss their teaching practices. Recognizing that teaching is a vital aspect of an academic's career, LeFevre and Howard felt a deep conviction to create an environment that promotes discussions about how to teach well.

Using resources from the field of Science of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), LeFevre and Howard now host monthly gatherings that focus on a specific SoTL principle. These workshops cover a wide range of topics, such as maintaining students' interest in the classroom, building effective lectures, alternating teaching modes, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom. Their ultimate goal is to foster a sense of community and promote discussion among graduate students at any stage in the program, so that students feel well-equipped to teach. Thanks to the BEAR Grant, LeFevre and Howard are able to host these workshops every month and make them a staple of the department.

Attention to all elements of the graduate student experience – from rigorous scholarship to community-building and mentorship to pedagogical development – is one reason that the Department of History’s graduate program is one of only five at Baylor with a 100% student satisfaction rate!