GSA Career Day Puts the Spotlight on Teaching

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This year’s Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) Career and Research Days Panel and Networking Event is aimed particularly at students in nursing and the social and behavioral sciences.

“Preparing for Careers in Teaching: Insights and Experiences from Across Academia,” to be held on May 21 in Millberry Union, will highlight UCSF's commitment to training excellent educators and help students across the social sciences (and beyond) develop their pedagogy, prepare a teaching portfolio and access teaching resources at UCSF.

Although UCSF is known for research excellence, it has fewer resources available for students interested in teaching careers.

“Research-focused academic institutions are rife with nuanced how-to’s for succeeding in publications and grantsmanship,” said Shari Dworkin, associate professor and director of Doctoral Studies. “But we can always do more in terms of focusing our attention on the intricacies of pedagogy and teaching excellence."

Jen James, a third-year doctoral student in sociology who is the organizer of the event, expressed concern over the limited teaching assistant opportunities available to students.

“Students at UCSF really have to seek out our own teaching opportunities, often at other schools, but it's important that we have accessible teaching tools and resources before we step into the classroom,” said James. “I think this event is an important step.”

Last year, Elizabeth Watkins, dean of the Graduate Division, set aside funds to address career development within the sociology, anthropology, history and nursing health policy programs at UCSF.

This year’s event follows on the success of the widely attended 2012 panel focused on health careers beyond academia. The panel will begin with opening remarks by Bill Lindstaedt, UCSF director of the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), who will speak to the place of preparing future educators in UCSF’s overall mission and how this responsibility is currently realized through teaching resources offered by OCPD.

  • School of Nursing Professor Nancy Stotts will describe how to develop a pedagogical style, or teaching philosophy. Valerie Shapiro, assistant professor of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, will follow by discussing the menu of teaching options.  
  • Dr. Linda Van Hoene, the director of the Graduate Student Instructor teaching and Resource Center at UC Berkeley, will discuss the basics of developing a teaching portfolio.
  • Brian Grossman, associate professor of health sciences at San Jose State University and alumnus of the Sociology doctoral program at UCSF, will speak on teaching in a large public university setting.
  • Rebecca Ancheta, instructor in Behavioral Sciences at City College of San Francisco and also an alumna of the Sociology Doctoral Program at UCSF, will discuss her experience of teaching in the community college environment.

By providing two alumni panelists who teach in public institutions, the committee hopes to highlight teaching careers in local public institutions.

Although this event is primarily aimed at students in nursing and the social and behavioral sciences, students from across the university can receive great advice on teaching strategies and pedagogy.

Dean Elizabeth Watkins encourages all students to attend. “The Preparing for Careers in Teaching event will be especially valuable to our students who are interested in education,” she said. “Reflecting a revitalized focus on career development campus-wide, the Graduate Division strives to ensure that students in all of our programs — basic sciences and social sciences alike — will be prepared for rewarding careers both inside and outside academia.”

Event details: “Preparing for Careers in Teaching: Insights and Experiences from Across Academia” will held on Tuesday, May 21 from 5-7 p.m. in the Golden Gate Room, Millberry Union, at the Parnassus Campus (doors open at 4:30 p.m.).  Reception and networking will immediately follow the panel.  Refreshments provided.