GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Taryrn Brown, clinical assistant professor at the School of Teaching and Learning, has been recognized as the 2021 COE Undergraduate Teacher of the Year.

Undergraduate Teacher of the Year is awarded to faculty who excel in the classroom. Brown feels that despite the transition to emergency remote learning in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, she was able to cultivate connections with her students and foster a transformative academic experience.

Brown’s students felt that their experience in the classroom was enriching despite the emergency move to remote education. Throughout the move to remote, Brown continued to cultivate engaging relationships with her students, even continuing to meet virtually with students who have since graduated.

“It is extremely humbling and rewarding to know that students have been impacted in that way in the hustle of everything that’s happened,” Brown said. “I’m excited about the possibilities of what’s ahead for engaging with students now that I’ve had to think more intentionally about my online spaces and online teaching.”

Brown feels that the pandemic reinforced the need for her students to think critically about the inequities that affect education, as many were impacted differently due to structural issues like digital access when schools moved to virtual platforms last spring. Prior to school shutdowns, her courses were navigating diverse issues such as race, class and gender.

Her students began to see how larger systemic and structural realities were connected to the educational space as the pandemic progressed, Brown shared.

“Bringing that very real, present experience I think also helps students realize how important it is to engage and unpack conceptually and academically components of critical issues in education,” she said.

Going forward, Brown plans to continue strengthening her online curriculum by collaborating with the College’s E-Learning, Technology and Communications (ETC) Services department to ensure her classes continue to welcome students and encourage them to be open and reflective as they tackle challenging topics in education.

“I’m working on updating my Canvas platforms to make sure that I’m bringing my whole self to my students in an effort for them to feel comfortable being themself in the learning space so we can truly grapple with and engage in conversations around critical issues in education,” Brown said.

Taryrn Brown