Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies
Recipient, Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs

Background of the Award
Excerpts from the GSIs’ Nomination Letters

Background of the Award

Penelope Edwards receiving awardEach spring graduate students are invited to nominate faculty members for the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of GSIs. Typically each nomination is supported by several GSIs who have worked with the honoree. The award, sponsored by the Graduate Council’s Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs and the GSI Teaching & Resource Center, is presented as a surprise in the faculty member’s classroom, with the GSIs and other departmental faculty and staff present. Penelope Edwards received the award in 2013.

The excerpts below reflect mentoring activities that the GSI found especially effective.

Excerpts from the GSIs’ Nomination Letters

Some selected quotes from the GSIs’ letters of nomination:

Professor Edwards has been indefatigable in her efforts to foster pedagogy as a mentor to the GSIs in the department, as an instructor of the department’s 300-level pedagogy seminar, and as department chair.
I was initially confounded by the challenge of introducing new methodologies and cultural concepts to students from disparate disciplines, but Professor Edwards worked closely with me to develop a course structure that integrated skill-building activities with a meaningful introduction to the diverse cultural and political worlds of mainland Southeast Asia. Working with Professor Edwards, I never felt adrift and could always rely on her to discuss and work through issues.

Professor Edwards’ palpable enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring GSIs was evident to those taking the SSEAS pedagogy course in Fall 2012. Says one student,

She taught the class not only through a carefully crafted curriculum of readings and assignments to prepare us for teaching, but also, and importantly, through modeling classroom facilitation and mentorship … Professor Edwards made sure that all of the voices in the classroom were heard, and facilitated fruitful learning exchanges between participants.
One of the most valuable aspects of the pedagogy course was an opportunity to receive detailed feedback from Professor Edwards on each carefully timed and crafted assignment. For those of us teaching R&C classes that same semester, it was invaluable to have Professor Edwards’ support and guidance in constructing a grading rubric, learning to craft lesson plans, and in designing an essay assignment. We even had an opportunity to teach a short lesson to the group and then receive feedback.

The GSIs conclude by saying:

We will each benefit as teaching professionals through her far-reaching vision of excellent teaching.