Congratulations to the 2023 awardees of the Garrett T. Heberlein Endowed Award for Excellence in Teaching

Established by contributions from the former Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Gary Heberlein, the Garrett T. Heberlein Endowed Award for Excellence in Teaching for Graduate Students is designed to elevate the attention given to teaching as part of graduate education and the preparation of graduate students to serve as college and university faculty. 

Awardees were nominated by their departments, professors, and former students and selected by a graduate student committee based on their demonstration of instructional excellence.

Congratulations to the following 2023 recipients!

Award category for Ph.D. lecture sections:

Alexandra Ehrhardt, Ph.D. candidate and graduate teaching assistant, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Alexandra Ehrhardt

Alexandra Ehrhardt has been recognized by her department as an exemplary instructor with an impressive wealth of teaching experience at Wayne State University. From undergraduate Introductory Psychology to graduate-level Multivariate Statistics, she has consistently approached her teaching with great enthusiasm, knowledge, and compassion. Students testify to her vital role in their educational journeys, for example, noting that “Without her I would have dropped the class as early as possible, but she encouraged me to stick with it and was there for me every step of the way.” 

Ehrhardt has demonstrated dedication to professional pedagogical training through a number of Office of Teaching and Learning workshops. She has provided extensive mentorship to students in the psychology department, serving as a leader of the Mentoring Undergraduate Students towards Excellence program as well as in multiple roles within the Psychology Graduate Student Organization. Above all, Ehrhardt is an educator focused on relationship building. She prioritizes the well-being of her students and creates a classroom environment where students not only learn but also develop a sense of belonging and confidence.

Award category for recitation or laboratory sections:

James (Jamie) McQuaid, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

James (Jamie) McQuaid

James (Jamie) McQuaid has been recognized as an outstanding graduate teacher who combines broad interdisciplinary knowledge and pedagogical skill with a commitment to help students both succeed and thrive. An enthusiastic, compassionate, and engaged educator, McQuaid understands that many students have marginalized identities and works to create a nurturing and inclusive classroom environment. McQuaid’s teaching philosophy speaks to their commitment to help students overcome barriers and to be empowered to learn.  

While McQuaid has taught multiple courses for the history department, they took on an even more ambitious task by designing and teaching a new course on Queer History in the Modern United States, the first of its kind at WSU. Teaching this course required immersion in the history and literature of the subject beyond their own research, a testament to McQuaid’s dedication. Both faculty and students recognize in McQuaid an extraordinary emergent scholar and inspiring teacher.

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