Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2009

Faculty Award winner

Terri Fine

 College of Sciences

 Political Science

Learning is an imperfect process best tackled with a holistic approach. Strengths, weaknesses and work habits combine so that some students perform better than others; all students need to show strengths and address weaknesses as part of their learning. I provide diverse assessments while also working with students for whom individualized work is appropriate. My classroom includes my office, residence halls, meeting rooms, over the Internet, hallways, elsewhere on campus and in the community.


I teach both content and skills and aggressively help students achieve their academic goals. I respect students by allowing them to plan, and know my expectations, with a complete semester schedule on the first day of class. I focus on skills: bibliographic techniques, writing, analysis, research, reflection, argumentation and oral presentation using timed and un-timed assessments. I help student plan their futures through effective academic advising which includes help with resumes, personal statements, MA/HIM theses and scholarship applications. I avail myself for presentations to student organizations and other classes, provide interviews for students writing for other classes and for the UCF Knightly News, and write dozens of recommendation letters, for current and former students.


I regularly update my courses and require that real world issues be used for research and writing. I take a student-centered approach by providing structured options regarding theme, and require that students take substantiated issue positions. They choose which side.


I seek to improve my own teaching, and that of others, through conducting and attending teaching workshops, serving in an editorial and advisory capacity for publishers producing on-line simulations and other technologies, conducting Advanced Placement workshops (both half-day and week-long) and making other presentations to secondary school teachers. I research, write about, present workshops on, and seek grants pertaining to, civic engagement, as well as serve as curriculum coordinator for the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government annual Civic Leadership Academy.


In sum, my philosophy that learning is an imperfect process that is best tackled with a holistic approach serves me well. I teach where, when and how I can, while also seeking to improve the teaching enterprise more generally.