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School of Education PhD Candidate Wins Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award [02/08/2017]


Keith Kerschen, a PhD candidate in Curriculum and Teaching, was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award from the Baylor Graduate School. Each semester, Baylor’s Graduate School awards three graduate instructors for excellence in classroom teaching.

Kerschen received this honor in the fall for his classroom teaching in the Spring of 2016. During that semester, Kerschen taught American Educational Thought to School of Education undergraduates.

“I try to connect my class to what the pre-service teachers are seeing out in their student teaching programs,” Kerschen said.

Kerschen graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in Education in 2010. He then taught high school mathematics for four years while earning his MA in Education from Baker University in 2013.

“Once I met Dr. [Trena] Wilkerson and some of the doctoral students, choosing Baylor for my PhD was an easy decision,” Kerschen said.

Dr. T. Laine Scales, Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Higher Education in the SOE’s Department of Educational Leadership, presented the award to the winners. “Previous recipients have told me, after winning the award, what a difference this award has made. They talked about increased confidence in the classroom and a heightened sense of responsibility to do their very best, knowing they had this award to live up to.” Scales said.

To be eligible for this award, the graduate student must have taught at least three hours per semester — whether for courses or labs. As a first step, the award winners were chosen from a group of nominees who received the highest evaluations from their students.

From there, a committee of graduate faculty and students narrow the pool of nominees by reviewing recommendations, letters from students, teaching philosophy statements, and records of participation in professional teaching development.

The three winners each semester come from different disciplines—Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Kerschen won the Social Sciences area.

Kerschen said, “We have wonderful students here at Baylor, so it makes it easy.” Kerschen regularly teaches both American Educational Thought and a Secondary Math Curriculum course.

Kerschen said he enjoys being a graduate instructor at Baylor and getting to engage in both teaching and learning. “Being able to still be in the classroom while connecting with students who are also excited to teach is so enjoyable,” Kerschen said.

—Story and photos by Lana Baugh

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Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


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