Teaching excellence earns two graduate students honors from K-State
MANHATTAN — Two graduate students have been awarded the GSC Award for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence, sponsored by Kansas State University's Graduate Student Council.
The master's award winner is Bryan Raymundo, master's student in fine arts, Wichita. His major professor is Jason Scuilla, professor of art. The doctoral award winner is Benjamin Jones, doctoral candidate in human ecology, specializing in couple and family therapy, Griffin, Georgia. His major professor is Glade Topham, professor of applied human sciences.
The GSC Award for Graduate Student Teaching Excellence recognizes graduate students who have excelled in classroom teaching. The awards promote the important contributions graduate students make to the scholarship of the university. Raymundo and Jones will represent the university for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools, or MAGS, Excellence in Teaching Award, with a winner selected at both the master's and the doctoral levels. Since the MAGS teaching award was established in 2011, K-State has had six winners, the most by any university.
Raymundo and Jones each will receive a $500 scholarship and their names and departments are engraved on a perpetual plaque displayed in their departments until the next awards are given.
"Raymundo and Jones exemplify the outstanding graduate student teachers who contribute to K-State's teaching and learning mission," said Claudia Petrescu, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. "Our GTAs enhance the undergraduate experience by providing high-quality teaching and mentorship. Engaging in teaching during their graduate education also allows graduate students to gain valuable skills and increases their competitiveness for future careers. K-State has had a strong track record for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award. I am proud to have Raymundo and Jones as our nominees, and I know they will represent K-State well in this year's competition."
"When teaching, I enjoy seeing my students realize their fullest potential creatively and the excitement they exude when they bring one of their ideas to light," Raymundo said. "As a Mexican American, I want my students who consider themselves as the 'other' to see me and realize the possibilities of what is achievable."
Raymundo said in art and life, trusting yourself in making decisions and learning how to work with those ideas is essential.
"I have experienced a full continuum of attitudes toward diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and those engagements have been key in helping to shape my approach in my life, artwork and teaching," Raymundo said. "The position I am in is a privilege to be able to work with my students each day. I learn as much from my students as they do from me."
Raymundo plans to continue teaching in academia and his research as a practicing artist.
Jones said that practicality, inclusiveness, connections and kindness are the focus of his teaching philosophy.
"I strive to ensure that diverse experiences are discussed in my courses, with an emphasis on highlighting the work of scholars from minoritized communities," Jones said. "I strive to be very accessible and responsive to my students so that they know from the earliest class periods that I am an advocate for their success."
Jones said he seeks to model kindness through policies responsive to the ongoing needs of students who are balancing mental health concerns, financial difficulties, or a host of other presentations that create obstacles to engagement.
"The ability to see students be successful at gaining knowledge and developing new skills is what I love the most about teaching," Jones said. "My hope is that students who take my courses feel more confident and equipped for life outside the classroom as a result of the work we do together."
Jones will graduate with his doctorate in couple and family therapy in spring 2023 and wants to teach at the university level while still maintaining his own clinical practice.
Raymundo and Jones will compete for a $750 honorarium that will be presented at the 79th annual Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools meeting in March 2023. The association is a regional affiliate of the Council of Graduate Schools. The association's member colleges and universities are accredited institutions of higher education in the central U.S. that offer graduate programs leading to masters, specialist and doctorate degrees.