Kelsey Mesmer and Robert Carr receive Graduate School’s 2021 Heberlein Teaching Award
The Wayne State University Graduate School has announced Kelsey Mesmer, Ph.D. candidate in communication, and Robert Carr, Ph.D. candidate in physics, as the 2021 recipients of its Heberlein Teaching Award.
Nominated by their respective department chairs and professors and selected by a graduate faculty committee, recipients are chosen based upon their demonstration of instructional excellence. The awards are also designed, in part, 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.
Mesmer began her doctoral studies in 2017, and has since taught 14 times in the Department of Communication. From introductory to advanced method and theory courses, Mesmer has taught a diverse range of material.
Students interviewed for the letter of support from the department chair praise Mesmer’s ability to connect advanced communication concepts to a wide range of relatable topics, and her responsiveness and flexibility to her students’ life stressors. Faculty members who wrote letters of support concur, Mesmer is a dynamic and compassionate instructor who maintains high expectations for her students.
Ever since Mesmer’s first teaching assignment in 2017, her students have rated her highly on end-of-semester evaluations. Her Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) scores have shown tremendous year-over-year growth.
Carr is described as the “go-to” teaching assistant for physics’ introductory astronomy labs. When the university went remote due to the pandemic, it fell to Carr to convert these hands-on labs to online activities by recording videos so that students could take measurements virtually.
Currently, he’s developing a module that will engage students by using the Dan Zowada Memorial Observatory located in New Mexico to allow students to analyze astronomical data.
Carr began the doctoral program in 2017, and ever since has maintained stellar SET scores.
Departments have the opportunity to nominate students for the teaching award each year, with the deadline in December.