Sarah Dalrymple to Receive Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award; One of 10 Campuswide
April 8, 2011
Sarah Dalrymple in front of the bee mural at the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DAVIS--Graduate student Sarah Dalrymple, a teaching force behind much of the art work in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, University of California, Davis, has been named the recipient of a campuswide 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.
Dalrymple was singled out for her “extraordinary contributions” as the teaching assistant for Entomology 1, “Art, Science and the World of Insects,” which she taught last fall. The award is sponsored by the Graduate Council and the Office of Graduate Studies.
Nominating her for the award was Diane Ullman, associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the professor of entomology who teaches ENT 001.
Dalrymple received strong support from her major professor, Rick Karban of the Department of Entomology and students who enrolled in her class. She is a member of the Department of Evolution and Ecology’s Population Biology Graduate Group.
Dalrymple will receive the award on Wednesday, April 27 at a ceremony for the recipients and their invited guests. She is one of 10 graduate students campuswide to receive the award, based on their contributions to teaching and learning.
“Sarah is an amazingly dedicated and talented teacher,” Ullman wrote in her letter of nomination. “Her teaching is distinguished by its creativity, depth and cross-disciplinary nature.”
Dalrymple crossed boundaries between biology, art and culture and provided “a high level of expertise and innovation in each area,” Ullman said. “This kind of integration takes courage and the will to reach across disciplinary borders to engage students in a new way of thinking.”
Dalrymple brought her knowledge of ecology and population together with her background in art and taught the graphics studio section of ENT 101, Ullman said. “Of the three sections--ceramics, textile surface design and graphics--graphics is perhaps the most difficult to teach because it is the least forgiving of different skill levels, talents and experience.”
Dalrymple designed a series of sessions that introduced students to scientific concepts and drawing and painting skills. She then led the students in designing, fabricating and installing a bee mural on a shed in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. She earlier led a group of students in crafting the two towers of beehive sculptures that grace the entrance to the garden.
“Students experienced opening bee hives to observe bee behavior first hand and were introduced to experts in honey bee biology and in pollination ecology, “ Ullman said. “They were inspired to reflect on this experience and lecture content by developing their own piece of the overall mural design. This included gathering appropriate research, which sometimes meant identifying and contacting experts across the country.” Among the experts: native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis; bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey of UC Davis and Washington State University; Elizabeth Frost, research associate at the Laidlaw facility; Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture; and artist Donna Billick, who created the bee sculpture in the haven.
Dalrymple also wrote a course blog that engaged students in sharing their reflections on the learning process.
“It has been an amazing experience watching Sarah innovate and hone her teaching approach in the graphics section of Entomology 1,” Ullman said. “She has become a quintessential artist-scientist, perfectly blending visual literacy with scientific research.”
Professor Rick Karban, in his letter of support, described her as a “dedicated teacher who has worked hard to provide a positive and enriching experience for her students.” Her continued high evaluations from her students indicate her expertise, devotion and enthusiasm, he said.
Students gave her near perfect or perfect scores in every area of review. Wrote one: “Sarah was always very willing to help and went out of her way to do so. She is by far the most approachable TA I have had in my career at UC Davis.” Another wrote: “The lecture she gave was amazing and her enthusiasm for the subject was clearly apparent.”
“Sarah’s outstanding dedication, creativity, passion and patience and ability to meld art and science truly set her apart from most educators,” Ullman said.
Dalrymple, a native of Auburn, Ala., received her bachelor’s degree in biology (ecology and evolutionary biology) from the University of Tennessee. She minored in Spanish. During her childhood and teen years, she took many art classes.
Her UC Davis class last fall drew 23 students spanning 12 majors. This was the third year she’s taught the entomology painting studio.
“Each time I teach this class my goal is one, to empower students to take ownership of their work and two, collaborate to unify their artwork under a larger theme,” Dalrymple said. “The students responded with diligent work outside of class and a willingness to work together to make big picture decisions about project details and critique one another’s work. Collaborating in this way, students were able to build off of one another’s ideas to create something I never could have pictured. I came into the class with a general idea of how the mosaic would be laid out, but the students filled in all of the details. Many of these students came into the class with very little art experience, but still produced impressive artwork.”
“The best part of this class is that the students actively contribute to the knowledge and ideas behind the design, so it becomes a more meaningful and empowering learning experience for them,” she said.
After receiving her doctorate, Dalrymple plans to pursue a college teaching career at a small college. “I am excited about teaching basic biology courses and more advanced courses in ecology and evolution,” she said. “Additionally, I would love to someday teach an art-science fusion course modeled after Entomology.”
2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award Winners
The Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award recognizes the contributions of graduate students to teaching and learning at UC Davis during 2010. This is the list of the winners and the degrees they are pursuing:
Jessica Marie Beckett – M.S., Community Development
Sarah E. Dalrymple – Ph.D., Population Biology
Benjamin Davis – Ph.D., Computer Science
John S. Garrison – Ph.D., English
Joseph S. Harrington – Ph.D., Spanish
Trine B. Johansen – Ph.D., Anthropology
Ryan C. Kirkbride – Ph.D., Plant Biology
Erin Lea Legacki – Ph.D., Animal Biology
Iago Z. Lowe – Ph.D., Horticulture and Agronomy
Joel S. Steele – Ph.D., Psychology
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology