A Wave of Gratitude in a Year of Change

Through Dartmouth's Thank a Professor or Graduate TA program, students expressed their appreciation recently for instructors' dedication to teaching and learning in a year when both were radically changed. The program, which began in 2019 as an in-person opportunity for students to compose physical thank you notes, was updated for this year to a digital, distanced event. Using an online form, students submitted more than 180 notes of gratitude expressing how instructors have made a difference in their academic experiences.

Notes were welcomed from any student to any professor or graduate TA, whether they interacted during a recent term or previously, in a class or in another capacity. Students were encouraged to consider instructors who had engaged them in their learning, created inclusive and supportive learning environments, taught in innovative ways, or inspired them to overcome challenges and pursue their goals.

This is probably the best class I've taken thus far in my academic career--I've gained skills that will translate to every other class I'll take, and new viewpoints that will help me evaluate claims in every piece of writing I'll read. 

Thank you for showing love and care for each and every student. 

In a physically distant time, you fostered an amazing sense of community and I am so grateful I got to be a part of it! 

Your passion for this topic and use of a variety of media made the course incredibly engaging.

This class has been a shining light in an otherwise incredibly tough personal term.

Thank you for understanding us in this messy world and messy time!

Even when I did not perform my best, you gracefully provided second-chances and helped me get back on my feet. Thank you for being a champion and advocate when I was at my absolute worst.

The complex concepts we explored in this course as well as the many questions you gave us to ponder have made me want to take another religion class.

I really appreciated your unique ability to be sensitive to various challenges this term (both learning online and what's going on in the world) without compromising the integrity of the class. 

Thank you for being so understanding and accommodating of us given the current circumstances, and for showing genuine interest in our growth as writers and students. 

Before taking this course I was on the fence about what I wanted to major in or what field I would want to pursue, but your class has made my choice easy.

Every morning that we have class, I always leave feeling happier! This term has felt isolating, but when I logged onto your class this term, I felt like I was appreciated and included.  

 I could not be more grateful for this past term and for your great patience in allowing me to grow by experimenting, by arguing and most importantly, by being wrong. 

You have the talent to make very complex topics seem simple. Having you as a lab instructor is a privilege. Your dedication and care to the students make labs engaging, easy to understand, and fun!

Thank you for being so radical !!!!!! I have never been so interested in Shakespeare, or really in anything during my time at Dartmouth. Stay legendary :)))))))

Along with their heartfelt notes of appreciation, students could also acknowledge their instructors for excellence in a number of pre-defined categories tailored to this unique academic year:

  • Good live classes on Zoom
  • Engaging lectures and/or class videos
  • Great class discussions
  • Exemplary Canvas course site
  • Accessible materials, assignments, or class policies
  • Building community in class or beyond
  • Flexibility and understanding
  • Supporting students
  • Helpful mentorship
  • General awesomeness

It was no surprise that an overwhelming majority of recipients were identified and appreciated for their "General awesomeness."

Responses from recipients expressed surprise and sheer delight.

This brought such a huge smile to my face!

This is a nice and encouraging surprise.

Made my day :-)

The Dartmouth Thank a Professor or Graduate TA program is facilitated by DCAL in partnership with ITC's Learning Design & Technology Team.