Thank-a-Teacher notes highlight UGA’s caring and welcoming educators

A collage of the teachers featured in this article.

For the last 15 years, UGA’s Center for Teaching and Learning has organized the Thank-a-Teacher program, which allows students to write notes to the professors and teaching assistants who made an impact on their college experience. The CTL collects and shares hundreds of thank you notes with teachers each year, and in 2023, they received a total of 1,248 notes.

From recent notes, there was a common theme of UGA’s teachers spending time getting to know their students as well as teachers’ willingness to help students outside of classroom hours. Teachers at UGA went above and beyond to make their classrooms a comfortable learning environment for their students, and it is clear from these thank you notes that this inspired many of their students.

Here are a few of the notes teachers received:

Donald Addison

Lecturer, Institute for Leadership Advancement, Terry College of Business

Course: ILAD 5100S: Organizational Leadership (Fall 2023)

“I saw a ‘Thank a Teacher Today’ announcement on ELC, and you immediately came to mind. You are the perfect example of a positively impactful professor. Your role as a mentor to me and my classmates goes far beyond the knowledge we are taught. Your work ethic, motivation, and care for your students inspire me. After acknowledging how you advocate for mental health on day one of class, I immediately gained all the respect in the world for you. You prioritize everything that a teacher should, and ensure an enjoyable work environment, full of laughter and learning. Thank you for all you do, I look forward to continuing to learn from you for many years to come. And as always, lead on!”

— Anonymous

Phil Bergonio

Instructor, Department of Mathematics, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Course: MATH 1113E: Precalculus (Fall 2023)

“Professor, I wanted to thank you for your hard work and support this semester. I know that online courses can be complicated, but you have been so accessible, and the material has been so comprehensive. This has been one of those rare courses where the online version is better than the in-class version. Your clear dedication to creating the best course possible has provided me and the rest of the class with an outstanding level of understanding and preparation for more advanced courses. I hope to be a student in another of your courses in the future.”

— James Cannady

Shelby Funk

Associate Professor of Computer Science, School of Computing

Course: CSCI 3030: Computing, Ethics, and Society / CSCI 4470: Algorithms (Fall 2022 and 2023)

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the help you’ve given me this semester and last fall 2022. As an international student, everything was so new and overwhelming, but your kindness in CSCI 3030 really made a difference last fall. You were always there to explain things a second time or offer extra help when I was struggling. It’s professors like you who make this big university feel like a welcoming place. This semester too, I decided to take up algorithms with you for Fall 2023, and I am glad I did as I am learning a lot. I appreciate it more than words can say. Thanks for being awesome!”

— Anonymous

Kacy Morris

Principal Lecturer Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program, Department of Psychology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Course: PSYC 1101: Elementary Psychology (Fall 2023)

“I sincerely want to thank you for making this class so interesting this semester. I look forward to Psychology every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I love your teaching style and the activities that you implement to keep us engaged and help us grasp important topics. As scary as starting college is, I have always felt that you are an approachable mentor if I needed anything, and you have always been so friendly and understanding. I wish you the absolute best and hope to take more of your courses in the future.”

— Audrey McCulloh

Richard Neupert

Wheatley Professor of the Arts, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Course: FILM 2120: Introduction to Cinema (Fall 2023)

“Your Introduction to Cinema course opened my eyes to cinema. Your feedback allowed me to understand how to write and better interpret and analyze different forms of cinema. Each lecture helped engage me with the material, you were always responsive to emails when I had a question, and the quizzes, midterm and feedback helped improve my understanding. Thank you for creating an engaging course and for teaching me skills I will use for the rest of my academic career. I appreciate having you as my professor this semester.”

— Avery Mcdaniel

Bobby Jo Otto

Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Course: POLS/SOCI 3700: Research Methods in Criminal Justice (Fall 2023)

“Thank you so much Dr. Otto! You are a fantastic teacher who truly loves what you are teaching, deeply cares about your students, and brings a captivating energy to class each day. Thank you for being personable and relatable. You are one of the only teachers I’ve had that asks how each of your students are doing at the beginning of each class and listens to our concerns, not just about your class, but our other classes and responsibilities. You are a great role model and person that I hope to continue to learn from.

— Abby Cushing

Michael Thomas

Lecturer, Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics, College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Course: FHCE 3200: Intro to Personal Finance (Fall 2023)

“Thank you so much for a wonderful year and semester. You really inspired me through your lectures, through our 1-on-1s, and questions I had this semester, and I am so happy I was able to take this class with you. Throughout my time at UGA, I had been unable to find someone to consider a mentor until I took your course, and I am so happy how much you helped me. I ordered your book and am looking to expand my knowledge on Financial Stability beyond this lecture. I wish nothing but the best in your career and hope one day I will be able to follow in your footsteps. Thank you again!”

— Malick Delva

Beth Tolley

Clinical Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, Mary Frances Early College of Education

Course: EDEL 5460: Student Teaching in Elementary Education (Fall 2023)

“Thank you, Dr. Tolley, for all your support, kindness, and help this past semester as my student-teaching supervisor. When I saw I got you as my supervisor, I felt really lucky to get you a second time after my FYOS freshman year, and it is safe to say, I think I really do want to be a teacher! I appreciate how flexible and gracious you were with our time, and you always were very encouraging and understanding. Your feedback helped me a lot, and I know I am even more prepared now than ever. I am glad I can have you as a professor again during grad school.”

— Madison Filer

Erin Towery

KPMG-Atlanta Partners’ and Employees’ Professor and Associate Professor, J.M. Tull School of Accounting, Terry College of Business

Course: FYOS 1001: Inequality and Taxes (Fall 2o23)

“Thank you! You have been very impactful this semester helping me with the transition here at UGA. It was nerve-wracking coming all the way from New Jersey, and I found comfort in being able to take your FYOS on a topic that was interesting to me. You have helped me explore different options to get a jumpstart on my time here, whether it was CURO research, exploring the MAcc program, or the in-class lessons and office hour market discussions. This brief thank you does not address your full impact, but I want you to know you are making a difference.”

— Dominic Roselli

Craig Wiegert

Associate Professor of Physics, Department Head, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Course: PHYS 4101: Theoretical Mechanics 1 (Fall 2023)

“Thank you so much, Dr. Wiegert, for being a great professor. Thank you for having multiple office hours and spending an hour teaching me the principles and problem-solving skills to do well on the exams. I just wanted to let you know that I am so grateful for all the great tips and knowledge that you share with all students. Thank you for spending time helping me understand the basic concepts and motivating me to learn and grow. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding, and willingness to also share humor during your lectures.”

— Rinisha Ramprakash

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