Grant Glass

Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants

Grant Glass
Grant Glass (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Tanner Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants: In 1990, the University expanded the purview of the Tanner Awards to recognize excellence in the teaching of undergraduates by graduate teaching assistants. Each of the five winners receives a one-time stipend of $5,000 and a framed citation.

Department of English and Comparative Literature

Teaching since 2016

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Excerpt from award citation:

“Mr. Glass is a skilled facilitator who creates a supportive and inclusive classroom environment that engages a diversity of learners.”

Who was the best teacher you ever had and why?

The best teacher I have ever had was a professor in an undergraduate Shakespeare class; he did two things that made him stand out. First, he always took his time to make sure everyone understood the passages and their significance. I am still puzzled today, but he was able to help the struggling students while also making sure the whole class was still engaged. Secondly, he took the class to see a community theater presentation of one of the plays we read in the class. Seeing how others might interpret the play had a lasting impact on my intellectual growth and to this day I study adaptation theory.

What is something you’ve learned from your students?  I have learned from my students that it is OK to not know all the answers. They are smarter than they know. Many times, I try to turn to my students for insights. I am writing about a few assignments we do in 105i in my own research and oftentimes the interactions in class cause me to shift my research. Students love it when you involve them in your research and they will help you immensely.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

Before I came to graduate school I worked for Apple in the United States and the United Kingdom.

What does it take to be a good professor in 2020?

Students want to see how work in the classroom can translate into their own lives right now and in the future. It takes a great professor to show students how to apply their knowledge for good in the world. With digital technology, we can have a larger voice in the world, and I think a great professor helps students find and develop that voice.

What’s the most creative thing you’ve done to engage your students?

The most creative thing I have done is to have my students interact with the lab work I do at Duke University. They like to see how to leverage different resources outside Carolina. The students were able to present their own work, hear other student’s work, taste different types of cuisine from throughout the triangle, watch a documentary in development about immigration in America, and have a conversation about monuments and memory.

25 employees received University Teaching Awards this year.