Teacher of the Week - Hillary Tanner

Hillary Tanner

Lecturer, College of Engineering

“She challenged me not only in academics, but in all other areas of life to strive to be the best in everything that I do.” 

The Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes Hillary Tanner as CTL Teacher of the Week. Tanner is a Lecturer in The University of Georgia College of Engineering.

Hillary Tanner teaches mostly first year engineering students, and one of the things she tries to do is ease their transition from high school students with very structured lives to that of a college student with a lot more freedom. She has high expectations for her students, but she is also sympathetic to this transitional period in their lives. Teaching all first year students makes it absolutely necessary to keep students engaged as much as possible. For Tanner that means hands-on activities and lots of one-on-one attention in the classroom. The students in her Engineering Graphics and Design course learn visualization skills by constructing models, observing and interpreting the models they have created, and by drawing them with design software. They try out cutting edge equipment such as 3D scanners, which can be used to get a digital scan of objects they are investigating. They also use good old fashioned hand tools tools to break things so they can investigate how those things were designed in the first place. Most of this is done in a computer lab setting where Tanner is available for assistance.

Tanner’s accomplishments in the classroom could not have been realized without guidance from wonderful mentors who have helped shape the way she works with students and delivers course content. Some of these mentors were her professors when she was working on an Agricultural Engineering degree at UGA and are now colleagues. She admired elements of their teaching styles as a student but did not fully realize how much until she was standing in front of a classroom full of students herself.

Tanner offers advice for other teachers: 1) Be involved beyond the classroom! Attend college or departmental events where you have a chance to interact with students in a non-classroom setting. She mentors the UGA Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and finds that students who see her and interact with her beyond the classroom tend to be comfortable asking for help in class and for guidance and advice throughout their time in engineering at UGA. 2) Don’t be afraid to admit it when you’ve made a mistake.

Former student, Shelby Holsomback declares, “Mrs. Hillary Tanner was my most influential teacher that I had while attending The University of Georgia. She challenged me not only in academics, but in all other areas of life to strive to be the best in everything that I do. She leads by example and is the perfect image of what a hard working woman in engineering should be. She has become a lifelong friend and mentor and has forever impacted my life for the better.”  


See Tanner’s departmental profile: http://www.engineering.uga.edu/people/appointed-faculty