Instructors don't often get to learn about the positive impact they have on the students they teach. This may be particularly true for the spring 2020 semester, when many of us are feeling a loss of social connection. To mitigate this loss, the Center for Teaching Excellence created Thank-a-Prof/TA, inviting students to express their appreciation to professors and teaching assistants who have gone out of their way to support students and their learning.
Enjoy this small sampling of students' heartfelt messages out of the hundreds we received. We are sharing these notes with their permission and have removed any identifying information.
These past few weeks, UVA has shown that we are adaptable and won't let difficulties get in the way of our mission for educational excellence. At the same time, my professors have been extremely understanding and willing to compromise because they understand that we are all going through the same pandemic in different ways. Even though this semester was unlike any other, I still leave it just as proud to be a UVA student and part of the great UVA community.
Thank you for all of the hard work you do to make education at UVA a positive experience for all students. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to adapt your course material to online courses and yet within a few days UVA was up and running virtually. I know that many of you have had to adjust to this new format while facing many additional challenges at home. Despite this, you have also helped students bear the burden of the new hardships that they have been faced with as well. I just wanted to let you know that we appreciate all that you are doing and have done!
You have been so wonderful! We have dealt with an exceptionally hard semester, in many different ways, but you have always been kind, compassionate, and accessible to us. You've taken on a bigger role than most TAs have to, and you did it exceptionally. You've been the very definition of understanding throughout everything. With everything that's went wrong, you've been the very definition of a blessing. Thank you for all that you do! I wish you the absolute best!!
(TA), you are so awesome! I honestly cannot thank you enough for all of your guidance and support this semester. You have been one of, if not the most helpful TA I've ever had at UVA. I really appreciate your transparency as we went to online classes and how responsive your were to all my questions. You really helped me succeed in stoch and I am so so grateful for all you have done for my classmates and I! Good luck on your endeavors, you're going to do great!!
Dear Professor, I wanted to thank you for everything. You not only made me a better student, but a better person. Lessons I learned from you and your class are ones I will carry with me forever. Your passion for topics and genuine care for all of your students is something so special. You inspire me each day to be my best and to give everything my all even when somedays it feels like I only have 75% left in my tank, but that's okay. You are one of the coolest, nicest, down to earth, most knowledgeable professors I have ever had and I wanted to thank you for allowing me to take your class. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to have you as a professor, teacher, and mentor.
I am extremely grateful for the UVA faculty and TAs who have been so accommodating during these extraordinary times. Even though the transition to online learning was difficult for both students and staff, I am so glad to have had such incredible support from all of my professors and TAs. I never once felt like I was alone, and I am so lucky to be at a school that cares so deeply about the education and well-being of its students. I cannot thank you all enough.
Thank you so much for being one of the most understanding, lively, and fun teachers at UVA! Every week, I looked forward to attending your class and talking about the many aspects of design and media. After taking your course, I have finally found a career field that excites me and fuels my passions. You have truly touched my life as an individual and educator. When I look back on my time at UVA, your class and the experience you provided will be some of my fondest memories. Thank you for everything, I would not be where I am today without you. I am deeply going to miss you and your class so much!
Thank you so much for a great semester. I have learned so much and am constantly amazed at the speakers we are able to have in class--only a teacher who has truly impacted past students would be able to do that. Even when the semester went online, things worked well...if not better at times! Thank you for all you do...hopefully someday I'll get to come back and talk to a class.
Throughout my four years at UVA I have not had a TA that was as devoted as yourself. Your continuous support of your students has caused many of us to develop an admiration for you as our TA and as a growing professional. I have spoken with many of the students from both courses and they acquiesce in that everyone relishes your unmatched energy and academic dedication.
You have gone above and beyond the last year to make sure I had the resources I needed to keep moving towards my degree. Going back to school was already a challenge, and when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall I was so sure I was not going to be able to finish school. You showed me patience, kindness, and understanding that made me feel like I was going to be able to finish my degree and make it through this year. The times you checked in on me, just to make sure I was feeling okay, meant more to me than you'll know. You helped me realize I was completely capable of getting through all of this, and I am so extremely grateful for your support and guidance.
Thank you for being one of the sweetest and kindest professors I've ever had. You created the most friendly classroom environment and your teaching has inspired people to grow as people and lovers of education. Thank you so much for everything!!
(Professor) was our one source of normalcy in the program. Her energy and optimism meant a lot during the COVID outbreak. She is always willing to help her students in any way. She kept our spirts up to finish the program strong! I and my classmates are grateful for her presence in the SON.
Thank you for being an awesome TA and making class so enjoyable! Even though I enrolled late, I didn't feel behind at all. I appreciate you taking the time to catch me up, and I felt excited to be in your class. You are the first TA whose office hours I went to for fun. You made class feel like a safe place to share our thoughts and opinions on subjects that can be a little touchy. I was excited to go to your OHs to share things that I encountered outside of class ... Thanks again for making a 9am discussion something to look forward to!
The professors at UVA are phenomenal. I grew a lot as an engineer and as a person because of them. I am thankful for the time they commit to developing great curriculum and the time they invest into students. They kept feeding me when I was hungry to learn more, but they also knew when to lend a hand during the times I was struggling. Thank you so much to all of my professors! Your devotion to educating the next generation is inspirational.
Professor, you had a lot of life changes this quarter that could have impacted the way you taught you[r] class. Instead, you pushed through in the true spirit of resiliency and continued to teach in a way that allowed us to learn and build community. You checking in on your students, accounted for what we needed, but also pushed us to keep going when the going got tough. I appreciated your honesty with where you were personally. I appreciate your leadership in showing us how to push through, I appreciate you and everything you have done this quarter to make our transition to class online as seamless as possible. Thank you!
Thank you for being an incredible TA! Your teaching style, availability, flexibility, openness, and kindness made this class truly enjoyable for me to take, and I appreciate all you have done for us. My favorite TA.
Thank you so much for changing the way I consume news and look at the world. You taught me to be critical of everything I see, and to appreciate the news because it protects me. I can't tell you how much this class informed me and changed my broader outlook. I have embraced your advice to force myself to read the news a little bit every day, and I notice that I am less and less daunted by it. I told you that I was confused on the backstories of news ... so I ignored it. Thank you for your advice to push through this intimidation and for being such a good mentor during the two times I came to office hours...
I wish I could have come to your office another time to thank you for truly changing my life...this sounds dramatic but it's true. I am so much more confident because I know how to manipulate my social media news algorithms, recognize fake news, and most importantly form opinions based on real watchdog reporting. THANK YOU!! I hope you have a restful summer and your family stays healthy. I look forward to seeing you around Grounds...hopefully in the Fall.
Thank you so much for your efforts to adjust the course after classes went online. You have shown me and every student in the class that you genuinely care about our wellbeing and that you hope to support us without compromising our academic experience. Your prompt communication and comforting words helped me adjust to quarantine life, and I sincerely appreciate your dedication to us students. I am so thankful for everything that I have learned and for all of your feedback and encouragement throughout the semester. ¡Gracias!
Thank-you Professor for letting me enroll into your amazing class. Although I struggled a lot with learning IUPAC and struggled even more with writing lab reports, you were always there to offer help. Whether it was staying behind a few minutes after class to answer questions or carefully reviewing my exam errors during office hours, your concern for students is the reason I've learned so much. I especially remember that time when you wanted to talk to me just to ask if everything was alright. Maybe it was because my lab reports were subpar, but I believe you noticed my tiredness when I would come into your 8am class sweating and exhausted ... Nevertheless, that simple conversation got my act together. It was your hard truth that not only fixed my priorities, but it reminds me that there are people out there who care. You have taught me so much about the field of organic chemistry that I've gained more than just chemistry knowledge. I would like to say thank-you! I can't wait to be in your class next semester.
Thank you for being so understanding of how difficult a time this is for students and instructors alike. I really appreciate the way you modified course grading and assignments in order for it to work better for us students. Thank you for lifting some of the stress of this semester from my shoulders and for being a great professor in general!
You already know how much I appreciated the time and effort you poured into helping me with ArcGIS this semester. You are a ray of sunshine and any conversation that you are a part of is [an] enjoyable one. Thank you for showing unwavering compassion, empathy and kindness both before and after the switch to online learning. Your love for your students and education in general shows through everything you do. It was an honor to be in your class and I can't wait for another year in the MPH program with you. If everyone had the energy, passion and motivation to treat and serve others the way that you do, this world would be a much better place.
Thank you for cultivating my love for Spanish, and making me finally realize that I can be successful as a language student. Because of you, I finally have the courage to pursue a major in Spanish. Thank you for all of your hard work, constant positivity, kindness, and support through this major transition. I wish you the very best!
Your lives were upended just as much as ours were, and yet the burden fell on you to orchestrate ways to generate some pocket of normalcy for your students. This is a task you took on valiantly, calmly, and enthusiastically, and I cannot thank you enough for allowing the reprieve of education to maintain its presence in my life during this time.
Thank you so much for an amazing semester despite the grim circumstances. This has been one of my favorite courses at UVA and I'm eager to enter the field of public health with an entirely new perspective on the institution of medicine. I hope to take another one of your courses in the future and look forward to hearing more about your research.
Professor has worked tirelessly to make this transition smooth and keep learning standards high. It absolutely shows and is so appreciated. As a student generally speaking and then during this time in particular, I cannot stress enough how impactful her true empathy for students, genuine interest in our learning, and lecture dynamism are. I am so grateful to have taken your class and I wish you well amidst this craziness and beyond!
Your classes have been a highlight of my undergraduate career at UVA. Even after having to switch to online learning, you made the transition as smooth as possible. Minoring in Religious Studies was one of the best choices I made during my time here and a large part of the reason why I feel that way is a result of your classes. Thank you for everything.
To our faculty and graduate student instructors,
thank you for all you do!