Teacher of the Week - Jennifer Gay
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, the College of Public Health
“A thoughtful educator who allows her students to be creative and innovate real life tools for their learning experience.”
The Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes Jennifer Gay as CTL Teacher of the Week. Gay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavior in the College of Public Health.
Dr. Gay has been fortunate to have formal and informal mentoring when it comes to teaching. As a doctoral student, she was assigned a faculty teaching mentor when she was awarded a teaching assistantship, and one-on-one discussions with her mentor helped shape her approach for engaging students face-to-face in the classroom as well as online. She was allowed to practice different teaching strategies without fear of failure, and her style of teaching developed and grew in that supportive environment.
Professor Gay wholeheartedly engages in mentoring her students. Student Rosemary Corriero values Gay’s mentorship, “Coming to graduate school is a big step for anyone. However, having a supportive and encouraging advisor/mentor makes the transition much easier. Dr. Gay sees the potential in each student and is always willing to push that student to reach that potential.” Katherine Wargo adds, “I was fortunate to have her as my advisor, professor, and mentor during graduate school. I most appreciated her dedication to finding field experience opportunities for her students, as I found that to be the most valuable part of my education at UGA. She was always willing to chat about classes, projects, or career aspirations and always encouraged us to go after the internship or job or project we desired. I am so grateful to have her as a mentor and role model!”
Another approach Dr. Gay utilizes is in-class games and simulations in her health promotion courses. Games and simulations allow students to experience a situation from a perspective different from their own. She uses games to illustrate concepts of social inequality, power, and community decision making, among others. After each game or simulation the students discuss their experience, and this often times is very effective at eliciting empathy and understanding. The end result is a student who is better prepared to implement and evaluate health promotion programs. Student Anglea Douge is appreciative of Professor Gay’s approach. Angela comments, “Dr. Gay, is a thoughtful educator who allows her students to be creative and innovate real life tools for their learning experience.”
See Gay’s online biography: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-gay/6b/955/248