Our M.S. student Wonkyung Jang, who is also a Ph.D. student in the School of Education, has been honored by the Office of the Provost with its Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the highest campuswide recognition for teaching excellence. He is one of five graduate students from across campus to receive this prestigious award. The winner also receives a one-time stipend of $5,000 and a framed citation.
The University’s Tanner Awards recognize excellence in inspirational teaching of undergraduate students, preferably with respect to influence on first- and second-year students. They were created in 1952 with a bequest by Kenneth S. Tanner ’11, and his sister, Sara Tanner Crawford, establishing an endowment fund in memory of their parents, Lola Spencer and Simpson Bobo Tanner. In 1990, the University expanded the purview of the Tanner Awards to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduates by graduate students.
The University Committee on Teaching Awards, which oversees the selection process, encouraged students to nominate deserving faculty and graduate students for the awards. The committee specifically sought nominations with a commitment to care of our students, outstanding mentorship, and effective use of classroom methods.
Wonkyung taught STOR 155 over the summer as a graduate teaching fellow and received excellent feedback in the student course evaluations. He will be teaching for the STOR department again this summer. “I dedicate this award to my amazing students,” he said. “We tried to make our learning experiences dramatic, humorous, surprising, joyous, maddening, exciting and heart-wrenching; and we played, we explored, we inquired, we reflected, we shared, we created, and we grew. They always inspired me because of their insatiable curiosity and willingness to challenge themselves. And there was really nothing better than seeing my students eager to learn and completely involved in an activity for its own sake.”
Wonkyung also attributed his achievement to STOR professors, staffs, and colleagues. “I’d like to express my deepest gratitude for all the enthusiasm and experiences STOR professors, staffs, and colleagues brought to my program – their knowledge, passion, and dedication to teaching and research provided me with a priceless model for my own career. “Thank you” is the least I can say to them to show my appreciation for everything they have done for me.”
Wonkyung’s research interests lie in innovative statistical and computational techniques that can better capture individual differences in language development among children with diverse developmental, cultural, linguistic, and educational needs. He is doing his M.S. in Statistics under the supervision of Professor Yao Li.