A&M-Commerce Awards First Annual Innovations in Writing Pedagogy GAT Award

Four A&M-Commerce doctoral students received the Innovations in Writing Pedagogy GAT Award from the Department of Literature and Languages. The recipients are Dr. Rachel McShane, Dr. Brian McShane, Gouda Taha and Reza Panahi.

The award was established this year to honor the hard work of graduate assistant teachers (or GATs) who instruct many of the university’s English 1301, 1302 and 100 courses. These courses are some of the foundational requirements for all A&M-Commerce students.

To qualify, each award candidate was required to have at least two semesters of teaching experience and to submit a teaching portfolio, which a committee of Literature and Languages professors reviewed.

Award Recipients

Rachel McShane standing between bookshelves holding a stack of books.
Rachel McShane

Dr. Rachel McShane

Dr. Rachel McShane has attended A&M-Commerce for seven years and served as a GAT from 2019-2023. She obtained her master's in English in 2019, after which she continued in her doctoral program and successfully defended her dissertation in February. Along with teaching 1301, 1302, and 100, she independently taught and designed two upper-level courses at A&M-Commerce. She also served as a co-editor on the third edition of “Writing Inquiry,” the textbook used for 1301 and 1302 at Texas A&M-Commerce.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” Rachel McShane said. “I learned so much about teaching at Texas A&M-Commerce and have expanded and challenged myself as a professor.”

Brian McShane standing in front of bookshelves
Brian McShane

Dr. Brian McShane

Dr. Brian McShane came to A&M-Commerce from New Jersey in 2018 for his doctorate program, which is when he began his GAT journey. He defended his dissertation in March and will graduate in May. Along with the foundational courses, he has also independently taught and designed unique upper-level courses and worked as a co-editor on multiple editions of “Writing Inquiry.”

“This award has helped me feel like I’m on the right career path, which is really valuable at this stage,” Brian McShane said.

Gouda Taha headshot
Gouda Taha

Gouda Taha

Gouda Taha started the doctoral program in Applied Linguistics and began serving as a GAT in Fall 2021. He has participated on the curriculum review committee for English 100. Taha will complete his coursework this semester and move forward with his dissertation. He expressed gratitude towards his fellow GATs and mentors for their support that enables him to be the teacher he is today.

“Receiving this award…motivates me to continue refining my teaching methods,” Taha said.

Reza Panahi headshot
Reza Panahi

Reza Panahi

Reza Panahi has attended and taught at A&M-Commerce since 2018. He has taught 1301 and 1302, refining his teaching skills over the years. Outside fo the classroom, he assisted in organizing two academic conferences and is an active researcher. Panahi is in the final stages of his doctoral journey and expects to complete his dissertation within the next year.

“This [award] serves as a testament to the invaluable experiences I've gained during my time here at A&M-Commerce,” he said.

The committee expressed extreme pride in each of the winners. Dr. Gavin Johnson, A&M-Commerce Writing Director, said, “It is not an understatement to call their pedagogical work exceptionally innovative and inspiring…Rachel, Brian, Gouda and Reza’s teaching has an expansive impact on our campus.”

The winners will be awarded a monetary prize of $300, a certificate, a personal letter of appreciation and official recognition at the Department of Literature and Languages Graduation Ceremony Celebration.

(Featured photo ©  Yury Kisialiou | Adobe Stock)