Undergraduate Teacher Scholars, learning through teaching

The Undergraduate Teacher Scholar(UTS) Program currently consists of several pilot mechanisms which the student may choose between.  Each mechanism requires the Undergraduate Teacher Scholar (UTS) to identify a faculty mentor who agrees to work with the UTS to prepare educational material the first semester and will be the instructor of record the second semester.

UTS students teach a one-credit hour course on topics chosen with their faculty mentor.  This spring two UTS students taught courses, one in international politics and the science of dieting. Students in this course learned through UTS presentations, peer discussions and class projects.

Chris Cliver, senior international studies – politics and diplomacy major, is guiding his students through world politics by discussing current world events.  His UTS course focuses on student presentations of current world issues.  Cliver hopes his students gain an international perspective of America through his course.

“My hope for the students is that they can become more aware of what is happening outside the United States that affects us. It is my opinion that Americans are less exposed to international news and issues than people from other parts of the world. We live in a globalizing world where many developing countries that have drastically different values and customs will soon be just as well educated and economically stable as the traditional world powers.  I feel it is important for the students to realize this and gain an understanding for the other perspectives, cultures, and issues that our generation will have to deal with,” said Cliver.

Through the UTS program Cliver wants to be a mentor to younger Aggies, “hopefully the students in this class can see me not only as a teacher, but also as an older Aggie who can help them with anything outside of class as well, or simply be a friend, because in the end we all bleed maroon.”

Cliver plans to attend graduate school next fall and pursue a degree in international affairs.  After school Cliver hopes to have a career in Foreign Service with a governmental agency.

Jacob Hammond, senior Biomedical Sciences major, leads a UTS seminar on the scientific perspective of dieting.   Students in his course learn about current fad diets, health diet programs, dietary supplements, and the processes behind human metabolism.  By the end of his course he hopes students will not only be able to look at food and dieting scientifically, but also how to facilitate discussion and hone their ability to make presentations vibrant and exciting for their audiences.

In Hammond’s course students will read scientific articles about diets and dietary supplements, discuss the effects of these diets and make presentations about healthy and dangerous dieting.  Hammond is excited to continue using his knack for teaching and tutoring to help others learn science and apply it to their daily lives. “As a freshman I absolutely loved tutoring my peers in general chemistry and biology. When they came to me with problems, I loved being able to walk them through to the solution. Science is complicated, but if you are great at it, it can be even more complicated explaining science to those who are not as accustomed to it.  By teaching this class, I want to further shape my ability to present scientific material in an understandable manner,” said Hammond.

Hammond plans to attend medical school in the future.  He would like to practice family or internal medicine.  “With U.S. healthcare moving the way it is, there is going to be a huge need for primary care physicians in the next decade. While I won’t be making as much money as more sought-after specialties, I love the patient interaction that both of these specialties receive. Just like a lawyer is there to navigate you through our legal system, physicians are there to navigate you through the complicated mechanisms that make up your body. My dream is to guide people, and teach them about the multiple spectrums of health,” said Hammond.


Contact: Chrystina Rago, chrysrago@honors.tamu.edu

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