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Five graduate students recognized for outstanding teaching

May 4, 2020

NIU’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) is recognizing an elite group of graduate students for their outstanding teaching abilities.

Established in 2004, the center’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards acknowledge and recognize outstanding graduate teaching assistants for their contributions to the teaching mission of NIU. Typically, there are four award winners.

“This year, we are recognizing five teaching assistants because we had so many really impressive nominations,” said Stephanie Richter, director of faculty development and instructional support for CITL and coordinator of the award selection committee.

This year’s award winners are:

  • Kyle Killebrew, who’s working on his doctorate in English.
  • Bailey Zo Kreager, who is working on her doctorate in geology and environmental geosciences.
  • Michelle Kittling-Brewer, who is working on her master’s degree in communication.
  • Ashley Sanchez, who is working on her master’s degree in sociology.
  • Jenny Maier, who is working on her master’s degree in music.

Richter said the award winners represent the very best at NIU.

“They have earned reputations for being engaging, innovative educators who advocate for our undergraduate students,” she added. “They make a huge impact, not only on the quality of teaching at NIU but also on student lives and their disciplines.”

Nursing Professor Kari Hickey, a member of the award selection committee, said she was struck by the winners’ adaptability.

“In addition to their own course loads and life responsibilities, all of these teaching assistants demonstrated the ability to adjust to meet the needs of the students and departments without hesitation,” Hickey said.

Committee member and Professor of Dance Paula Frasz was equally impressed.

“This is always my favorite committee to be on because it’s so rewarding to see the amazing work our TAs are doing,” Frasz said. “I always feel humbled in comparison”