Teaching Awards

Teaching Awards

Outstanding Writing Instructor Award by the Writing Across the Curriculum staff in the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing: 2015. https://carmenwiki.osu.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=48014138 

The annual Outstanding Writing Instruction Award recognizes an outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate who incorporates writing in innovative ways throughout the learning process. The award criteria called for graduate instructors to demonstrate their commitment to:

  • using writing activities to facilitate critical thinking
  • teaching writing as a process
  • connecting student writing to real contexts and audiences
  • reflecting with students on the challenges of learning to write in different contexts
  • scaffolding assignments by using freewrites and other low stakes writing

The Writing Across the Curriculum staff stated the following about my application:

Your use of various learning technologies and social media platforms enables students to engage in low-stakes writing activities that promote critical thinking. You demonstrate this in each class you teach, from your current online course themed around the topic of e-books and e-learning to your Shakespeare Sonnet Project. The committee found your use of Pinterest to promote students’ creativity in their interpretation of Shakespeare’s sonnets particularly interesting and innovative. The committee was also impressed with how you build a sense of community in your online course by having students create personal profiles to get to know each other, and then assign discussion group leaders to guide their online conversation. In this way, you utilize best practices for teaching online, while at the same time you promote a dialogue about reflective learning. Overall, the committee was taken with your creativity, originality and devotion to teaching writing.

Graduate Associate Teaching Award: 2014. The Graduate Associate Teaching Award (GATA) is the university’s highest recognition of the exceptional teaching provided by graduate students at Ohio State. Approximately 3,000 graduate students teach as graduate teaching associates at Ohio State each year, and 10 are honored annually as GATA winners by the university community. Award winners receive $1,500 and are recognized at the annual Graduate School awards reception. (Previously nominated in 2012 & 2013)

My graduate advisor and dissertation chair, Christopher Highly, stated in his recommendation letter:

“I have just read a letter by one of Colleen’s students from last semester which sums up everything about her as a teacher. The student talks about her initial trepidation in taking a GE course on Shakespeare and her concerns about the kinds and amount of work required. She writes that, ‘The activities that we did were so helpful and interactive that it was more than just studying another subject; we actually delved into Shakespeare head first and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ This student speaks for many who, thanks to Colleen’s inspired teaching, have come to love Shakespeare and the literature of his age.”

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(excerpted from: Writing Across the Curriculum Program Awards the Third Annual Outstanding Writing Instruction Award)

Colleen Kennedy thoroughly impressed the award committee with her implementation of various writing tasks, including incorporating social media platforms, like Pinterest, with classroom assignments to enhance students’ Writing-To-Learn in different contexts. In her current online course, Colleen chose to weave the theme of “reading and writing online” into the course materials and assignments, which has generated an inherently self-reflective conversation for the students to engage in. In multiple courses, Colleen’s students created real-world artifacts– work that was published in Clemson University’s online project, Sonnets’ Remixed, assignments that were displayed in the OSU Rare Books Library exhibit, and featured on various Pinterest pages. In this way, Colleen strives to cultivate a classroom environment that shows students the connection between the course material and tangible, real-world applications.

The award committee was further impressed by Colleen’s innovative assignments and ability to engage students from across disciplines to connect with the course content . For example, Colleen shared with the team how a student majoring in computer science was able to design a program that could compose sonnets for an assignment that encouraged creativity in reinterpreting a Shakespearean piece. The student was able to then reflect on the connection between his program and the course content. With this assignment, we are reminded of the importance of allowing students the flexibility to make the content meaningful to them, while at the same time, providing the structure necessary to create an environment of reflective learning.


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