Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2011

Faculty Award winner

Ann Miller

 College of Sciences

 Nicholson School of Communication

My goals in the classes I teach are for students to not only develop foundational knowledge and skills in the topic area but also to develop enthusiasm about the subject, learn about themselves, and learn how to learn. Although these goals may be reached in different ways depending on the semester and the course, one emphasis runs through most of my classes—I typically place a strong emphasis on having students gather either primary data or firsthand experience about the subject they are studying:

  • Students in my persuasion class have conducted formative research via survey and focus groups before turning in a proposal for a persuasive campaign about a socially significant topic at the UCF campus.
  • Students in my intercultural communication class have interviewed first generation immigrants about their adjustment to American life.
  • Other intercultural communication students have arranged service-learning experiences and site visits to cultural communities different than their own such as working at homeless shelters, volunteering at the Islamic Society of Kenya, attending Chinese language church services, and visiting Vietnamese businesses and cultural centers.

Even though I‘ve been teaching undergraduate students for 15 years, I find myself constantly stretching to determine what is the best way to reach the particular type of students in the specific subject area of each class. So I continually seek student input on assignments and alter them in line with feedback I receive. Whatever the specific details of the project, though, I believe that by dealing with a phenomenon firsthand, students can develop an intuitive understanding of an issue that transcends reading the textbook, listening to my lectures, and even class discussion. I hope that they learn not only cognitively, but also affectively, and that they add to their repertoire of skills, so that in future classes or careers they can be more effective at gathering knowledge for themselves.