Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2008

Faculty Award winner

Tosha Dupras

 College of Sciences


The goal of my teaching, and center of my teaching philosophy, is active learning. One of my ultimate objectives in teaching is to facilitate learning by helping students to gain the necessary skills to take control of and become active participants in their own learning. I truly believe that knowledge gained through active participation is knowledge that will stay with an individual. Thus my approach to teaching reflects this philosophy and I have developed and use many techniques that are designed to engage students in their own learning.I use many different teaching techniques to achieve my philosophy. Biological anthropology is a discipline in which many teaching techniques can be used, particularly hands-on activities. Throughout my tenure at UCF I have worked very hard to build our teaching collections so that all my courses may include an element of hands-on learning. Students have to directly participate in their own learning through these experiences, and I have found that almost all students respond very well to tactile learning (actually “holding” the material in their hands). One particularly innovated teaching method I have developed is a simulated crime scene in the Advanced Forensic Anthropology course in which the students have to apply their cumulated course knowledge. I also believe that students learn from participating in real world activities. Regardless of content, I also think that students should leave their courses with skills that they will use in their everyday lives. These basic skills include problem solving and critical thinking, research and writing proficiency, and effective communication ability. I have designed all of my courses to include components that impart these skills. All of my upper division courses require research for papers and presentation, and students must also participate in group work. These are skills that students can transfer into any career choice.