Congratulations to graduate students Zada Ballew and Christopher Hulshof on receiving 2021 Campus-Wide Teaching Assistant Awards! Zada received the Early Excellence in Teaching Award, while Christopher received the Exceptional Service Award.
The Early Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes outstanding and inspirational performance on the part of TAs with fewer than four semesters of teaching experience. The Exceptional Service Award recognizes TAs who, in addition to their regular duties, perform exceptional service related to the educational mission of their department and our university.
Zada Ballew is a PhD student in the Department of History and an enrolled citizen of the Pokégnek Bodéwadmik (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi). In Zada’s own words, “I strive to transform our classroom into a community, where students can feel comfortable and confident exchanging ideas and participating in thought-provoking dialogue. It’s my hope that students learn to question how we got to where we are today, to consider who is (and is not) included in the stories we tell, and to think critically about our shared history to ensure that our shared future is an equitable one.”
Christopher Hulshof has taught for multiple classes at UW, including History 246: Southeast Asian Refugees of the Cold War, History 319: The Wars in Vietnam, and History 375: The Cold Wars. In his words, “The crux of my teaching philosophy revolves around the conscious effort to break down the hierarchical structures of academic relationships that risk stifling students’ educational experience…By dismantling rigid hierarchies, students feel more comfortable to be honest with me and form personalized relationships. In doing so, the homogeneity of a classroom transforms into a bevy of individual students, each with their own skillsets, unique perspectives, personal goals for the course, and circumstances outside of the classroom which affect their educations. As such, I can tailor my instruction and feedback to the individual needs of each student to provide a more robust educational experience.”
Out of over 2,100 teaching assistants across the UW-Madison campus, Zada and Christopher are amongst the twenty-one recipients selected for awards. Read more about the TAs selected.