ASU students present creative projects at honors symposium

April 7, 2015

Arizona State University Barrett, the Honors College students will be in the spotlight at the 2015 Celebrating Honors Symposium of Research and Creative Projects, April 14.

The college's Great Court and surrounding areas on the Tempe campus will be filled with more than 150 projects in a variety of academic disciplines. The projects, including research posters, videos, built objects and PowerPoint presentations, will be presented by honors students. The event is free and open to the public. Celebrating Honors Symposium poster Download Full Image

Barrett students major in academic areas throughout the university and, in addition, fulfill honors requirements, including a thesis or creative project.

Students in the symposium not only represent Barrett, but also their major colleges, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, School of Sustainability, College of Health Solutions, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, School of Letters and Sciences, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the W.P. Carey School of Business.

According to Peggy Nelson, vice dean of the honors college, the symposium brings together research and creative projects from many disciplines, from archaeology to physics, from engineering to economics, from health care to humanities and the list goes on.

Many projects address real-world issues and offer hands-on solutions. Past projects include: 

• an exercise videotape for people recovering from burns at a local hospital

• a plan for producing challah bread and selling it as a fundraiser for a non-profit organization

• the development of an organization that consults with businesses on environmentally-friendly and sustainable operating procedures

The fact that the research and projects have application outside the university walls is a testament to the commitment of the students to doing useful and high quality work, Nelson said.

“In many ways, this symposium is a celebration and the culmination of supreme achievement and sustained intellectual focus by Barrett students. It is one of the greatest days of the year at the honors college,” said Mark Jacobs, dean of Barrett, the Honors College.

Nicole Greason

Public relations and publicity manager , Barrett, The Honors College


New blog provides valuable resource for ASU teaching assistants

April 7, 2015

Graduate teaching assistants at Arizona State University have created a resource to solve classroom challenges in Diary of a New TA, a peer-to-peer blog for new and experienced teaching assistants to ask questions and share advice, tips and techniques.

The blog helps answer questions that new teaching assistants may find themselves asking, such as: Meghan Nestel Download Full Image

• What should I wear to teach?

• How do I handle a noisy classroom?

• How do I establish a rapport with students and keep them interested in the syllabus?

Meghan Nestel and a group of her peers came up with the idea while attending teaching assistant training for ASU’s Department of English.

“The idea was that Diary of a New TA will allow those who do not have a large support network or resources to have access to an area where they can ask questions and see what worked for others in the past,” said Nestel.

She further developed the blog with help from ASU's Graduate Education department. The blog covers topics from the first day, including what to wear and classroom management, to student-professor communication.

“I read some tips on the first-day teaching before entering the classroom,” said Sunyoung Lee, an international teaching assistant in the Department of English. For her, discovering that the first day can be nerve-wracking for all teachers was a relief, and she appreciates reading what ideas worked best for other assistants.

“I knew that it would be a great challenge to deal with American students as a foreign teacher and to balance teaching between teaching and my own research,” said Lee. “However, I didn’t expect that students would complain so much about the amount of assignments and their grades as well as my English.”

Lee said that the blog helped her understand that it takes time and experience to create a productive relationship with students, and gave her specific tips on how to deal with student complaints and other first-semester issues.

No names or personal information are posted on the blog. Teaching assistants can share their experiences, whether positive or negative, by submitting anonymously in writing or by video if they choose.

Still very new, the majority of contributions have come from ASU’s Department of English. With a teaching and resident assistant population of around 3,000, Nestel hopes to attract more contributions from a wider range of teaching assistants, including international assistants and research assistants.

“My hope is that this blog will also be able to help TAs at other universities, not just ASU,” said Nestel.

by Lizzy Ackerman, Provost Communications intern

Editor Associate, University Provost