Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award winner is ‘unfailingly devoted to helping students succeed’

Molly Green

Graduate student instructors are vital to the teaching teams at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

They work collaboratively with the faculty on planning and execution of instruction and often are on the front lines to help students manage their courses. 

“We are fortunate at Michigan Public Health to have dozens and dozens of passionate and curious graduate student instructors,” said Sharon L.R. Kardia, associate dean of Education at the School of Public Health. “They have a strong desire to provide students with the most complete class experience possible. They provide new ideas to our faculty and carry out curriculum planning in a dynamic world.”

Particularly in the last year, graduate school instructors have given their all to instruction, while managing the effects of the pandemic on their own studies and personal lives.  

The 2022 recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Instruction award, Molly Green, is no exception. She was lauded by the faculty she worked with and the students she taught. 

“To me, this is such a cool award because it honors an individual who typically is relatively new to teaching, but they work diligently to learn how to teach,” Kardia said. “And they get through to students with not only a keen intellect, but with compassion and caring. They are not just future leaders, but they are current leaders; and they'll carry these attributes into their next stations of life.”

Justin Heinze, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, was impressed with Green’s interactions and rapport with students.

“Molly was unfailingly devoted to helping students succeed: whether in-class, during office hours, during a content review session, or when a student reached out with a personal concern, students could be confident that Molly would support their development and be a source of information,” Heinze said. “Yet, I also respected Molly’s challenge to students; not simply providing answers but encouraging them to engage with the readings or lecture content and scaffolding their thinking until they were able to reach a satisfactory conclusion.”

Kylie Scott, a junior studying public health, said Green was an integral part of her capstone project, which focused on the relationship between Detroit's urban food environment and increasing obesity rates.

“From the moment I expressed interest in diving into course material from Public Health 200 into this project, Molly demonstrated genuine excitement,” Scott said. “This type of investigation was all new for me, and I faced a steep learning curve. With Molly's guidance, I began analyzing source materials and developing a plan for the semester.” 

Each week, Scott would discuss her findings with Green, who would introduce new tools to help with the research.

“It was clear that her passion for the work was real, and she continued to demonstrate a strong interest in not only my work, but me,” Scott said. “Molly was one of the primary reasons I applied to the School of Public Health during my sophomore year—she was always approachable and available.”

Scott continued to work on her capstone project—even after it finished—because she wanted to “polish it up.”

“I'm so pleased to say that after a rigorous editing and review process, I will be published in the Undergraduate Journal of Public Health this spring,” she said. “Like many students who were taught by Molly, I owe her a debt of gratitude. She helped ignite a passion for public health. She’s the type of instructor who makes students crave learning.”