Graduate teaching assistants play a critical role in helping all Illinois State University students learn and grow. Our campus relies on these dedicated instructors to introduce undergraduates to the fundamental concepts found in the General Education curriculum and to prepare them for deep study within their majors. For 2020, Illinois State is honoring two exceptional instructors with Outstanding University Graduate Student Teaching Awards.
Like those named as Outstanding University Teachers, the graduate student winners are selected by the University Teaching Committee, on behalf of the Office of the Provost. All nominees go through a rigorous process of self-reflection and create portfolios detailing their growth as instructors.
Josh Fitzgerald is a doctoral student in the communication education program. He plans on completing the program this spring. Fitzgerald started teaching the basic communication course while pursuing his master’s degree, and in total, has been teaching communication for five years. His research interests include the teacher-student relationship in an online setting. During his time at Illinois State, he has taught hundreds of students and even served as assistant basic course director, which gave him the privilege of assisting with the training of incoming graduate teaching assistants. Fitzgerald is passionate about adapting to the needs of the students and being a resource for all students.
Anjali Patel is a graduate teaching assistant with the School of Communication. She earned her B.A. from Illinois College in December 2018 before starting at Illinois State in August 2019. Patel teaches both the basic Communication as Critical Inquiry course and special sections that focus on classroom communication. Patel believes in teaching and learning as interconnected practices that provide lifelong opportunities for development. Her teaching philosophy is guided by the ideal of teaching and learning as a dynamic activity between teacher and student engaged, interdependently, in communication. Patel’s research and pedagogical efforts seek to consistently offer immediacy, clarity, and support to her students while also aligning with Universal Design for Learning instructional principles.