College of LAS names teaching and advising award winners

The College of LAS has selected 14 professors, graduate students, lecturers, and an advisor as the recipients of the 2023 teaching and advising awards, including two from the School of Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics.

“The LAS community is extremely proud of these outstanding educators and advisors,” said Venetria K. Patton, Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS. “We're fortunate to have such innovative, empathetic, and dedicated individuals working to help our students achieve their goals.”

Descriptions of the recipients follow:

LAS Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Valeria Sobol joined the Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures in 2003. She has an infectious enthusiasm for the material she teaches and creates an open and inclusive atmosphere in which her students both feel welcome to contribute their perspectives and knowledge and are challenged to think creatively and critically. A former student who was inspired to change her major after one of Sobol’s courses wrote that “the passion and dedication that Dr. Sobol shows when teaching reignited my love for and interest in literature.” In addition to regular instruction of core departmental courses, Sobol has contributed innovative courses that expand the curriculum, such as a course focusing on the Caucasus in the Russian cultural imagination. 

LAS Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Katie VanDyne, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, has excelled while teaching 11 different courses in her six years with the department. She has been the instructor of record for elementary and intermediate Spanish language courses, Spanish composition and grammar, and 300-level courses for Spanish majors and minors. Students praised her skill in making challenging concepts clear, as well as her energy and enthusiasm. One wrote that her “contagiously positive energy, as well as her willingness to get to know all her students on a personal level, helped to create a tight-knit community atmosphere.” VanDyne also has pursued professional development, working toward both the Graduate Teacher Certificate offered by the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning and the Mentoring Certificate offered by the Graduate College.

Trish Barker

Editor's note: A version of this story first appeared on the College of LAS website.