Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Graduate Instructor Presented ‘Golden Apple’ for Excellence in Teaching

By Nathan Towery

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

One graduate instructor is recognized for success in teaching undergraduate students at the University of Mississippi each year. Although their primary purpose is to be students, graduate instructors are essential to the educational enterprise at the university.

This year, Becky Nance, a graduate instructor for the School of Education, received the Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.

“I try to run my college classroom in such a way that (students) not only pick up the content they need but also teaching styles,” Nance said.

Nance challenges her students, wanting them to become more critical thinkers rather than to just relay information. She said that she could sum up her teaching philosophy into two words, “relational” and “intentional.”

“Everything I do I try to do very intentional … how I ask questions, how I present activities … things like that to make it more engaging in the college classroom,” she said.

“As a teacher coming from a K-12 classroom, I knew that my best classroom management strategy was to have a personal relationship with each and every student. I carried that same philosophy into the college class and try to really invest into my kids’ lives.”

Nance tries to make it to sporting events, musical events or anything else her students are involved in outside the classroom. Her investment in her students adds an extra level of excellence to her teaching.

Nance is a Ph.D. candidate in elementary teacher education with an emphasis in math and science. She expects to complete her dissertation, on first-year teachers entering critical-needs schools, in May 2018. She said she hopes to teach at the university level upon graduation.

Johnny Lott, director emeritus of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, presented Nance a golden apple trophy and a monetary gift at the doctoral hooding ceremony on May 12.