Teacher of the Week - Patricia Reeves
Professor, School of Social Work
“She brings the perfect balance of approachability, high expectations, and encouragement to the classroom.”
The Center for Teaching and Learning recognizes Patricia Reeves as CTL Teacher of the Week. Reeves is a Professor in The University of Georgia School of Social Work.
Dr. Patricia Reeves attributes her classroom success to several factors. She makes an authentic effort to connect with students through whatever the student considers important and significant, which requires attention that is ongoing and sincere. Reeves believes, “All teachers have days when they are better at their craft than others, but students will cut you a lot of slack if they perceive you genuinely care about them and their learning.” Another factor for Reeves’ success is her passionate interest in the subject matter, which she believes is important and contagious. In end-of-the-semester evaluations, handwritten notes, and email correspondence years down the road, students consistently tell Dr. Reeves that her enthusiasm for a subject sparked their interest taking them down paths not previously imagined.
The most successful instructional strategies for Dr. Reeves have been ones with relevance to where students are in their own lives. At each level of education, Dr. Reeves tailors instruction for the student. In a course on human behavior and the social environment for juniors in the BSW program, Dr. Reeves often ends each class with a relevant reading from “This I Believe,” a collection of essays by everyday people expressing the core principles that guide their lives. This encourages students to examine their own most closely held convictions. In a MSW-level class that she teaches on the human-animal bond and professional practice, students conduct interviews with individuals who have a healing or helping relationship with an animal companion and construct a web-based narrative depicting that relationship. In a doctoral class on qualitative research methods, she is constantly thinking about how to target instruction to where students are in their learning development. The importance of “meeting clients where they are” is a maxim in social work practice, and it’s true for social work education as well.
For fellow teachers, Dr. Reeves offers the following words of wisdom, “Think about the teachers who influenced your life. How can you incorporate what you learned from them to inspire today's students? Take a moment, too, to be in touch with those teachers and let them know how their influence has shaped your development as a teacher. We all want to know that we made a difference in the lives of others. There is no greater gift you can give a teacher than this.”
Some of Dr. Reeves students offer the following accolades: Dr. Denise Levy, a former student and now faculty member at Appalachain State University expresses, “She is an incredibly thoughtful, kind, and supportive professor and person. Having Trisha as a teacher, mentor, and dissertation chair made me a better student and faculty member. I often draw from what I learned from her in my own work with students and colleagues.”
Current student Sarah Traub states, “I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Dr. Reeves during the first semester of my master's program, and immediately recognized a warm and generous mentor. In classes, she encouraged me to truly do the best I could, and it showed in my work. She has also worked tirelessly to facilitate opportunities for me to grow outside the classroom--a conference I attended with her was one of the highlights of my time in this program. Thank you, Dr. Reeves!”
Former student Summar Corley adds, “Dr. Reeves is a bright light at UGA. She brings the perfect balance of approachability, high expectations, and encouragement to the classroom and she challenged me to grow as a student, a writer, and a person. Trisha’s guidance, willingness to help me develop in and out of the classroom, and her confidence were key in helping me discover a passion for research and find my way through graduate school. Her impact on her students is immeasurable and I am thankful to have her as a teacher and a mentor.”
See Reeves’ departmental profile: http://ssw.uga.edu/faculty/reeves.html