Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2011

Faculty Award winner

Kimberly Renk

 College of Sciences

  Department of Psychology

Teaching is a critically important part of my position at the University of Central Florida. Whether I am teaching undergraduate-level courses, working with students through independent study, or mentoring students in their Honors research, I feel strongly that students deserve to learn in a respectful and non-threatening environment. Further, this learning environment should meet students‘ needs for gaining valuable information and being trained in the tasks that will allow them to pursue success in the future through graduate school or career placements. As a result, my teaching philosophy encompasses two main points.

First, undergraduate courses should provide students with opportunities to learn valuable information that will be useful to them in their pursuit of future careers and in their journey as individuals. As a result, course material should be presented in an organized and interesting manner through a variety of learning mechanisms. In this way, students can be presented with both theoretical and applied concepts in the classroom and be encouraged to continue thinking about course concepts in their real life experiences. Further, by taking advantage of the multi-media aspects of the classrooms available at UCF, students can be provided with multiple methods of learning. Overall, expectations for course requirements should be presented clearly to students, and students should be encouraged to hold high standards for their course performance.

Second, undergraduate students should be encouraged to communicate with the individuals teaching their courses. Because UCF is a very large, continually growing university community, students may not seek out contact with the individuals who are teaching their courses once they leave the classroom or may feel uncomfortable doing so. As a result, students may be missing out on opportunities to be mentored by UCF faculty and staff. Therefore, I feel that it is important to address students‘ questions in a respectful, informative manner and to be available to students during office hours.