Campus News

UK Graduate School hosts 2023 'GradTeach Live!'

2023 GradTeach Live! winners
2023 UK GradTeach Live! winner Daria Goncharova

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2023) — Three University of Kentucky graduate students emerged victorious in the 2023 'GradTeach Live!' finals competition, taking home over $1,700 in prize money.

First place went to Daria Goncharova, a doctoral candidate in English, for her presentation titled “Dream Teams: Teaching Effective Communication Through Group Contract and Reflection.” Second place went to Ray Celeste Tanner, a doctoral candidate in communication, for her presentation titled "A Question a Day.” Third place and the People’s Choice Award went to Jovita Ogechi Daraezinwa, a doctoral candidate in chemistry, for her presentation titled "Leading with the Human Element in Chemistry Labs."

Sponsored by the Office of Graduate Student Professional Enhancement and funded Graduate Student Congress (GSC), GradTeach Live! (GTL!) is a live speaking competition modeled after the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition that was created by the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008. GTL! invites current and former graduate teaching assistants to showcase their teaching philosophy and instructional skills to the university community by presenting creative approaches to audience engagement, modeling teaching techniques used with their students. The challenge for participants of GTL! is to present their pedagogy and provide examples of what that looks like in practice. Contestants were only allowed one static slide and had just three minutes or less to perform.

"I was originally attracted to 'GradTeach Live!' because I saw it as an opportunity to reflect on my teaching philosophy and craft a three-minute elevator pitch that I could use on the job market,” said Daria Goncharova, first place winner of the competition. “When I learned that there is also a monetary prize on the table, my mind was made.”

This year’s GLT! finals competition was held in-person in the UKFCU eSports Theater at The Cornerstone. The event featured 10 finalists from five different colleges and seven graduate programs across campus.

Judges included: Trey Conaster, Ph.D., director of the UK Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT); Kelly Grenier, UK doctoral candidate in political science and winner of the 2021 GTL! competition, and Jane Grisé, Ph.D., director of Rosenberg College of Law Academic Enhancement and H. Wendell Cherry Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing.

The judges rated finalists’ presentations based on the clarity with which they communicated an element from their teaching philosophy, its value and how it advances learning within their discipline; the extent to which their classroom example was engaging, avoided jargon and inspired the audience’s curiosity to know more; and their overall enthusiasm for teaching, stage presence, pacing and slide effectiveness.

“It was both exciting and nerve-wracking,” said Goncharova. “But everyone from the Graduate School was incredibly supportive and worked hard to put us at ease and ensure that the competition went as smoothly as possible. Participating in GTL! gave an opportunity to reflect on my teaching philosophy and practices and realize that I am actually doing some pretty cool stuff with my students.”

GLT! is also an excellent opportunity for graduate and professional students to practice talking about their teaching engagingly for job interviews and teaching demonstrations.

“At UK we started the teaching counterpart to the popular global three-minute thesis because we believe our research mission and our teaching mission have a vital common denominator, which is the power to improve lives,” said Morris Grubbs, Ph.D., assistant dean of UK’s Graduate School and director of the Office of Graduate Student Professional Enhancement (GSPE). “The skills that graduate students gain through teaching are also among the most transferable of skills and can make a long-range positive impact.”

Video recordings of this year’s winning presentations can be found on the UK GradTeach Live! website and video recordings of all finalists from past years can be found on the Office of Graduate Student Professional Enhancement (GSPE) YouTube page. GTL! is held every spring and anyone interested in participating in next year’s competition is encouraged to check out the rules and judging criteria listed on the GTL! website.

The Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Student Professional Enhancement (GSPE) fosters scholarly and professional growth, pedagogical and career success, and holistic wellbeing. As a centralized resource for graduate and professional students, GSPE offers a variety of in-person and online programs and services, guided by professionals with years of experience in graduate education and enriched by a broad spectrum of campus partnerships. GSPE is also a place of belonging and networking, apart from yet aligned with departmental academic pursuits, where graduate and professional students may discover transdisciplinary collaborations and explore diverse career paths.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.