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Teaching academy boot camp held at UTPA
By Javier Espinoza, Intern
(956) 665-2741
Posted: 08/25/2011
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The University of Texas-Pan American’s Office of Graduate Studies hosted its first ever Teaching Academy Boot Camp Aug. 16-19 to familiarize graduate students with the art and science of teaching at the postsecondary level.


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Dr. Jessica Lavariega-Monforti, associate professor of political science (pictured), along with guest speaker Dr. Adam McGlynn, assistant professor of arts and sciences at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, conducted the four-day boot camp.
This four-day boot camp, sponsored by the Graduate Resource Center, featured seminars on topics including classroom technology, dual perspectives on teaching and research, and holding attention with keeping students engaged and attentive in the classroom.

“Our goal for this boot camp is to provide as many resources and hands-on instruction as possible to help students be successful in the classroom, especially teaching assistants hoping to teach in academia in the future,” said Sylvia Aldape, director for the office of graduate studies.

Each student received a certificate of completion that they will be able to include in their portfolio when applying for teaching positions.

Nearly 60 students attended the boot camp, said Dr. K. Chris Smith, assistant professor of chemistry.

“This boot camp seminar is a great learning tool for students going into the teaching profession and the challenges they might face,” Smith said. Dr. Jessica Lavariega-Monforti, associate professor of political science, and guest speaker Dr. Adam McGlynn, assistant professor of arts and sciences at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, conducted one seminar that taught participants how to design team-based activities to stimulate students’ learning experiences.

“The team-based concept teaches students respect for one another, accountability for their actions and responsibility through rules established by their team,” McGlynn said.

During that session, participants worked in groups of five people and were put in scenarios they might come across with students in a real classroom setting.

“Outside of the College of Education, most graduate students never receive any kind of education or required courses in their coursework that teach them different teaching philosophies or classroom management in the real world,” Lavariega-Monforti said.

Andrei Vaipan, mechanical engineering graduate student, said he was enthusiastic about attending the boot camp, but undecided about teaching.

“I have no teaching experience and not sure if I plan on teaching, but this camp is a great program which helps you get a good idea of what to expect when becoming a teacher,” Vaipan said.

The Graduate Resource Center has plans to make the Teaching Academy Boot Camp an annual event to start the new academic year.

For more information, contact the Office of Graduate Studies at (956) 665-3661.