Professor Goldberry Long Wins UCR Innovative Teaching Award

Award recognizes exceptional effort and achievement in teaching innovation

Goldberry Long

Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Goldberry Long

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Goldberry Long, assistant professor in the Department of Creative Writing, has been honored with the 2012 UC Riverside Innovative Teaching Award. The award was presented at an on-campus luncheon on Monday, May 7.

The award is presented annually to faculty who demonstrate exceptional effort and achievement in teaching innovation. Nominations are submitted to the UCR Academy of Distinguished Teachers, who select the recipients.

“I am bowled over. This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me, academically,” Long said, adding that much of the credit for the award goes to the students in her “Introduction to Creative Writing” (Creative Writing 56) course. The course regularly enrolls 250 or more students each quarter and is very popular among undergraduates of all majors.

“I teach students how to harness the writing process in a way that is productive for them,” she said. “The reason I think students do so well in my classes is that they rise to the occasion. I think of the classroom as a community project – I am a participant in it and so are they. I ask a lot of them and they respond in dazzling ways.”

“Goldberry has done the impossible – taking a curriculum that really requires a small room of 15 or 20 kids and effectively applying it to a class of 300,” said Andrew Winer, chair of the Creative Writing Department, who nominated Long for the award. “She does it through a combination of inventive pedagogy that she, in part, came up with, but also through her sheer talent.”

“She is doing something that is not only remarkable, in terms of her own majors, but it is applicable to professors across campus,” he added.

At the luncheon, Long presented a lecture entitled “Meeting Students Where They Are,” which touched on key elements of her model, including how to identify where students are in their learning, how to teach where they are instead of where you think they should be, and how to create intrinsic motivation in students.

“It is a tool that any faculty can use in their own classrooms, because it is not subject specific,” she said.

Earlier this year, Long teamed with Leo Schouest of the Instructional Technology Group in the office of Computing and Communications to present “Making the Large Class Small” as part of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Colloquium presented by the Office of Undergraduate Education.

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