Director’s Blog

A Celebration Sneak Peek

by | Apr 2, 2022 | Director's Blog

I’m probably jinxing it just by writing this blog post…but Celebration of Teaching is back! The nominations are in, the winners will be revealed, and I am in full party planning mode. Even more good news – since Covid killed everybody’s attention span, Celebration will be a reception that is short on speeches and long on food and wine. You’re welcome. Come celebrate not only our winners but everyone! We all seriously deserve all the awards accompanied by all the food and wine after the last two years. Come clink your glass with me on April 21st, 4:30 – 6:00 pm in Doheny A/B. Please RSVP so that I purchase enough rosé. I’ll also share some behind the scenes details about Celebration in my effort to not, for once, write a post about the pandemic, unprecedented times, or how to record your lectures.

So how do people actually win these awards? Do they need to shower Andrea with gifts and praise and/or thick envelopes of cash? While these actions will indeed win you favor with me, I actually have nothing to do with choosing the winners. Nominations are solicited from the campus, and the majority of them come from students. Yes, really! We consistently receive over 250 nominations that are filled with enthusiastic praise for our faculty. My program assistant and I have the privilege of reading through these and pass along the kind words with an invitation to apply. The Council on Teaching, Learning, and Student Experience has the honor of reviewing and selecting the winners.

Now here’s some fun facts you may not know is part of my job with these nominations – reviewing and “selectively editing” them. GASP, how dare I! Trust me, this is all for your own good. Students, in their rush to sing your praises, don’t always use a filter in writing their nomination. Here are some examples: “Professor X knows his s***t.” “Thought he would be a total jerk but actually liked him.” “She is da bomb.” “I didn’t really learn anything but Professor X’s classes were a lot of fun.” And my personal favorite nomination, in it’s entirety – “Cool.” Again, their intentions are good but their delivery kind of misses the mark. We quietly tuck these comments away in a folder titled “Blog Post Material.”

Once I have sanitized the remarks, it is time to share them (when we have permission). This is the best part because faculty are often so surprised to receive a nomination plus flattering feedback, and it really makes everyone’s day. But the sad part is also how many of you can’t believe that someone would nominate you! My inbox is flooded with emails expressing shock and dismay, asking if they should even bother applying. I have literally received phone calls from faculty, asking if I actually sent this email or is someone trying to prank them. Let’s just say impostor syndrome is alive and well on the UCI campus. You people are amazing – believe the feedback!

Want to hear more behind the scenes stories? This was a sneek peak at my speech for the reception, so come to Celebration for more juicy details. Oh yeah, and to celebrate the winners.

In other news…

What I’m currently reading: A few years ago I was blown away by Hannah Gadsby’s special on Netflix, Nanette (if you haven’t seen it, watch it immediately. Like right now – stop reading this). Now she’s written her memoir, Ten Steps to Nanette, about growing up in Tasmania as a closeted lesbian with undiagnosed autism. It is simply amazing.

New feature! I’ll be sharing songs from my introvert playlist. What’s an introvert playlist? Well, for people like me who generally find humanity exhausting, it takes a lot to get me in front of people to lead workshops and giant celebrations. So, like Rocky, I need to pump myself up while also calming my own case of impostor syndrome. Before any DTEI event I’m leading, I need to shut my office door and play something that gives me the courage to interact with people. No, I’m not kidding. But it helps, so fellow introverts, I got you. I’ll be sharing a song with each blog post.

Songs that help me with people-ing: Somebody Loves You by Betty Who The outfits in the video may also influence my wardrobe for Celebration this year.

Andrea Aebersold

Andrea Aebersold

Director, Faculty Instructional Development

Andrea Aebersold is the Director of Faculty Instructional Development at University of California, Irvine. She earned a PhD in English and was an associate professor of teaching before coming to UCI. She specializes in active learning, evidence-based teaching, and reading mountains of books.