Undergraduates Teach UCI Courses in the Spring

In spring quarter 2011, ten UCI undergraduate students will instruct one-unit courses through the UTeach program available for undergrad enrollment.

The courses span a variety of fields and interests, with course topics, syllabi and lessons plans generated by the student instructors.

“The aim of the courses is to allow each student to be able to teach and facilitate the discussion of topics that they wish to educate the UCI student body about,” said Sean Silverio, ASUCI UTeach Commissioner.

UTeach courses are open to all students and are worth 1 unit of elective credit and count towards graduation. Courses are normally capped at 20 students, although some are capped at 10.

Among the course offerings this spring are Globalization and Infectious Disease, South Asian Cinema, Queer Images, Empire and Others, Environmental Crisis Study, Man/Mind/Machine, Beyond Play and Design Narrative in Video Games.

Maivy Nguyen, a third-year studio art major with minors in art history and educational studies, will teach The Art and Craft of Sewing, where students will use sewing machines and explore the topics in crafting and art.

“My class, however, is not just a class in which you learn how to sew,” Nguyen said. “It combines both the learning and practice of a skill in a studio art course, and the community feedback through critiques, as well as a few in-depth discussions.”

She added, “We will be dealing with the construction of a sewn object, of course, but also that of crafting communities, fashion trends and artistic notoriety.”

Nguyen works with faculty mentor Holly Durbin in the Drama department. She hopes to pursue a MFA after her time at UCI.

Earl Foust, a fourth-year history major, will teach “Philippine Mythologies.”

“There will be a fair dose of storytelling involved, both from me and the class, with an application of ideas from critical theorists,” Foust said.

Foust became interested in Philippine mythologies while living in the Philippines in 2004 after high school. Faust plans on becoming a becoming a teacher.

“The experience I’ve gained from UTeach gives me an understanding of what sort of work goes into creating a class, conducting research for it, compiling this research and organizing the material in a way that is most conducive for my prospective students,” Foust said.

Student instructors begin planning for their courses a year prior to teaching them, with a course proposal and faculty mentor prepared upon applying for a position in the spring. A Student-Faculty UTeach Board reviews applications and considers instructors’ backgrounds, course viability and whether or not the course is already being offered at UCI. In the fall, students work with faculty mentors to become knowledgeable on their subject matter, and in the winter attend a teaching seminar. In the spring, instructors meet with each other on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to discuss experiences and issues they encounter in teaching.

Popular classes that have been offered in the past have included The Biology of Harry Potter, American Ghost Stories, Censorship and South Park, Film and Gender, You Tube and Introduction to Guitar.

UTeach courses can be found on WebSoc under University Studies, listed as University Studies 7. Full course descriptions and student instructor biographies can be found at http://www.asuci.uci.edu/uteach/courses.php.

Applications are now open for instructors for Spring 2012 and are due May 13. Interested students need to attend an information session, the dates and times of which can be accessed at www.asuci.uci.edu/uteach/home.html.