Graduate Student Shelby Sinclair Honored for Excellence in Teaching
Winners were selected by a committee chaired by Cole Crittenden, deputy dean and acting dean of the Graduate School, and composed of the academic affairs deans and staff from the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. The nominations were made by academic departments and programs. Each winner receives $1,000.
The selection committee recognized a graduate student assistant in instruction (AI) from each of the four divisions with a special commendation. They are Jacqueline Campbell (humanities), Shelby Sinclair (social sciences), Merlijn Staps (natural sciences) and Rajiv Sambharya (engineering).
Shelby Sinclair is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in history. She served as an AI twice for “African-American History Before 1863.” Due to the pandemic, precepts were held online, and Tera Hunter, the Edwards Professor of American History, co-taught some of them alongside Sinclair. “I got to see her in action and watched in admiration and observed the students’ respectful and engaged interactions with her,” Hunter said. “Shelby was super instrumental in helping me come up with creative assignments, many of which she initiated on her own.”
Students said Sinclair created a nurturing environment under difficult circumstances. “I cannot overstate her thoughtfulness, patience and insightful guidance as we moved through sensitive, complex topics,” said one student. “Our class together was on Zoom, and I was always impressed with how she seemed to be able to tell if someone had even the intention to speak — something that many teachers cannot do even in person.”
Photo credit: Sameer A. Khan / Fotobuddy