The Gloria: An open teaching and learning award

Every day, in every college, students, faculty, and staff struggle. Those struggles can be epic (how do we cure cancer) or limited (how do I factor this polynomial, how can I help this student right in front of me). Lots of folks struggle. When movie makers struggle and succeed, they get awards. Big thinkers get awards named after famous people (Nobel, MacArthur). Even people in college get awards- employee service awards, student scholarships, honor societies. Yet most awards focus more on the epic side of struggle: big events that are marked with degrees or money or wide acclaim. And those awards are given by big institutions.

We need an award for the everyday struggles and successes in teaching and learning, less epic, and more open to all. Not an award for participation, attendance, or mere competence, but for meaningful struggle to make college better. I give you The Gloria.

The Gloria is an open teaching and learning award. It can be awarded by anyone at the college to anyone at the college. The Gloria carries only the payment of a grateful giver. You can give as many or as few Glorias as you wish. You can alter The Gloria however you want (it’s open, like open source programs: I made it, you can modify it). The Gloria can be given to a student from a professor, to a professor from a student, to a staff member from a professor, to staffer from a student. . . you get the idea. A few examples.

The Gloria for

– “Struggling with the registration system to get me the class I need to graduate” goes to Alice, who works in Records. Presented by Joe Bear, student.
– “Hauling my butt through a rough month of English composition to help me earn a C on my argument paper” goes to Joan, who teaches in the English department. Presented by Fatima Hassan, student.
– “Finding a way to care for your kids and still get this homework done the week your mom went in the hospital” goes to Maria Alonso, student. Presented by Professor Fuddy Duddy.
– “Helping me find a book that proved invaluable to my paper” goes to, Lacey, that reference librarian. Presented by Chuck, student.
– “Finally mastering a concept you’ve struggled with all semester” goes to Pat, student. Presented by Professor Fuddy Duddy.

This is an award by you to anyone who has helped make college better for you.

To award you own Gloria, download a pdf or open document version of the award. Fill in the “The Gloria for,” “Goes to” and “Presented by” fields and print or email to the recipient. Be creative.

The Gloria is named after Gloria Aronson, emeritus professor of history who taught at Normandale Community College for more than 40 years. She pioneered teaching world history, women’s history, and study abroad at Normandale. She’ll hate that I’ve named an award for her. Even worse, I’m giving her the first award.

Gloria received the first award with the humility and grace that defined here teaching. She thinks this award a lovely idea. College is a struggle-

Let’s honor those hurly-burly teaching and learning struggles that end in a win with an award- The Gloria.

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