Every year, five new Graduate Instructional Assistant or GIA are selected by the UW-Whitewater’s Communication Department to lead classes for students in the Comm 110: Introduction to Public Speaking course. As a GIA, graduate students are able to gain experiences and skills as a teaching professional.
“Each GIA will have their own class of about 30 students where they will do activities, workshops, and be able to have a hands-on approach with students,” said Professor Tammy French.
Professor French helps oversee the GIA program and guide assistants during their time in the program. As part of the program, Professor French enjoys seeing GIAs grow as working professionals and utilize skills in their classrooms.
“GIAs can gain a lot of skills such as conflict resolution skills. If a student has to rearrange schedules for example, GIAs will be able to learn how to work around those problems and create a new solution,” said French.
Leading his very own Comm 110 class is Logan Mchone. As a GIA, Logan leads his class on a Monday-Wednesday schedule with classes at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 10 a.m. Mchone expressed his enthusiasm as a graduate assistant for Comm 110 students.
“Being a GIA has been awesome. It showed me what I want to do post-graduation, which is teaching in college,” said Mchone. “I’ve learned how I like to run classrooms, and it’s taught me a ton about conflict resolution, communication and public speaking.”
Although Mchone has enjoyed the semester so far as a GIA he also explained some of the challenges and problems he’s faced as a leader of a class.
“During parts of the semester, being a GIA can feel like a 24-hour job. Between student emails, graduate classes, grading, and trying to be as responsive as possible can make it difficult to find time for yourself,” said Mchone. “I also am not a big morning person, so teaching 8 a.m. classes are challenging for me.”
After enjoying his time as an undergrad at UW-Whitewater, Mchone decided to pursue his graduate degree in Whitewater as well. Logan expressed his connection with faculty from the Communication department and how that played a role in pursuing his graduate degree at UW-Whitewater.
“I really like the faculty of the Communication Department, and a few professors approached me about attending grad school after graduation. It was a cool opportunity, and I’m glad I decided to do it! It’s changed my career path and what I want to do post-graduation,” said Mchone.
Another GIA leading his section of Comm 110 is Matthew Selesky. A proud member of the program, Selesky has expressed his gratitude to the program as well as how much he’s enjoyed being a GIA.
“This position has helped me grow as a professional exponentially, and it would be great to find a position post grad that I am even a fraction as happy doing as being a GIA,” said Selesky. “Being able to see and hear so many different perspectives and walks of life have helped me grow as a person, it taught me the importance of listening to differing ideas and opinions because if anything it helps refine my own views.”
A recipient of his undergraduate degree at UW-Whitewater, Selesky chose to continue his education here due to the university’s tremendous track record for previous graduates.
“I knew I loved the school. I wanted to become a GIA because I had never considered teaching before and I wanted to try it out, and I knew it would be great for my resume,” said Selesky. “On top of that I had a professor in my undergrad, philosophy professor Chris Minor, who inspired me to try teaching because of how interesting he made it to learn, and that you can really have fun teaching.”