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The major exploration process for undecided students at The University of Texas at Austin can feel daunting. With so many options, how can you know you’re making the right decision if you haven’t had much experience with a major’s subject matter? Interdisciplinary Studies Week (ISW) allows students in the School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) to take a major for a test drive.
Three Signature Course professors have won the 2018-19 President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Awards. Minette “Meme” Drumwright, Shannon Cavanagh, and James Patton were recognized for their outstanding undergraduate teaching in the core curriculum. This year, all of the nominees put forth by the School of Undergraduate Studies were chosen to receive the award. Each professor receives an honorarium of $5,000, funds contributed by friends of the university dedicated to high-quality educational instruction.
Many undergraduates might be daunted by the idea of conducting policy research, but for Sebastian De Beurs, a Plan II and government senior, that was the whole point.
As of February 1, Rey Ramos is the new director of the Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling.
The School of Undergraduate Studies honored two staff members and two supervisors for their outstanding contributions to the school’s mission to enrich the undergraduate experience at The University of Texas at Austin. Outstanding Staff Larissa Noake
Julia Guernsey and Ann Johns teach “New World/Old World Encounters: Visualizing Power and Glory.” The course explores the art, architecture, and visual culture of the Old and New Worlds during the Renaissance in Europe and at the height of the Aztec Empire in the Americas. Guernsey is a Precolumbianist who specializes in the art and archaeology of Mesoamerica. Johns, who teaches a long-standing Signature Course on the Vatican and its history, is a specialist in late medieval and Renaissance Italy.
Since 2010, the School of Undergraduate Studies’ Summer Exploration Grant has given UGS students the opportunity to explore their research interests during their summer breaks. Grants can be requested in any amount up to $2,000, and have helped UGS students travel, conduct research in a lab, take unpaid internships, and more. Learn about the 2018 recipients and consider applying for the 2019 Summer Exploration Grant.
This fall, the School of Undergraduate Studies kicked off a new partnership to prepare and support Signature Course teaching assistants (TAs). Through a collaboration with the Faculty Innovation Center (FIC) and the Graduate School, new TAs were able to enroll in a semester-long professional development seminar that will appear on their transcripts as “GRS 097: Fundamentals for Teaching Assistants.” In the course, TAs learn strategies for leading effective discussions and lab sections.
“Being a teaching assistant (TA) has been the highlight of my time at UT. I really enjoy working with my students as we synthesize information from the class lectures and their own learned experiences. When I initially accepted the position I wasn’t fully aware of the responsibility of facilitating discussion groups. It was a little daunting, but it has become my favorite component of the TA position.

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