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2017 Inclusive Excellence Award
University of Kentucky Outstanding Teaching Awards
At the risk of putting you on the spot, what contribution to teaching do you believe led to your award recognition during the 2016-2017 academic school year?
My contributions have been: 1) Creating an inclusive classroom for my students; 2) Challenging the perspectives of my students while respecting their values and the unique insights they bring into the classroom; and, 3) Having engaging and stimulating conversations while contextualizing learning with real world examples based on current events and personal experience. My philosophy is not changing their minds, but opening their minds to endless possibilities.
In your opinion, what are the qualities of a great teacher?
A great teacher is honest, open, caring, thoughtful, proactive and shares lived experiences. A great teacher understands the unique needs of students, meet students where they are, and empowers them to be successful at an unimaginable level.
What do you find most gratifying about teaching?
What I find most gratifying about teaching is the opportunity to equip students with knowledge so they can improve the world and improve their own personal lives. I like the relationships that are also formed in the classroom: I like seeing a student at least three times a week to engage in important dialogue.
What makes teaching challenging? How do you navigate those challenges?
The most challenging thing about teaching is meeting the needs of each student. I navigate those challenges by listening, observing, and taking a personal interest in all of my students.
What are your interests outside of teaching (i.e., your hobbies)?
My hobbies are cycling, traveling, working out and reading.
Who inspires you? And why?
My father and older brother inspire me: their work ethic, determination, and ability to relate and care about all people.
What is the best advice you ever received about teaching?
The best advice I received about teaching is to dare to be different. Relate to students, and as times change, be sure to have unique and creative approaches.
What resources or recommendations would you share with instructors who are seeking to adopt new teaching practices?
I recommend that they be open minded and look in the least expected places for ideas. Additionally, listen to students, observe students, and use your imagination.
Quentin Tyler is Assistant Dean and Director for Diversity in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.