Clare Ibarra, a history graduate student instructor (GSI), has been recognized with a 2017 Teaching Effectiveness Award for her essay, "Bridging the Gap between K-12 and University-level History." The Teaching Effectiveness Award for GSIs honors a small number of GSIs who devise solutions to teaching or learning problems they have identified in their classes and write them up in a one-page essay. These essays are published on the GSI Center website for use by instructors.
Ibarra begins her essay by outlining a common difference of perceptions in higher education:
"The reality of teaching History at the university level is that the professor and the student walk into the lecture hall with two totally different expectations of what it is they will accomplish in that space. While students believe they will enter the classroom being asked to memorize dates, place events in chronological order, and flesh out details in fact-oriented essays, the professor does not see History in this way. Rather, the professor will ask their students to see History as they do, to step away from the realm of what happened to develop narratives of how and why things happen the way they do. Professors and students don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to defining what History actually is, and this continues to be one of the largest hurdles I have faced in the classroom as a graduate student instructor. With my own experience in stumbling through this very transition (from high school history to university-level History), I have tried to bridge this gap in my own classroom, building upon the skills students learn before arriving to college to develop those skills that History professors will expect of them."