Teaching Philosophy in Practice

UK GradTeach Live!, modeled after the Three-Minute Thesis competition (3MT), recognizes the importance of teaching at UK by celebrating and showcasing the central role graduate teaching assistants have in the university’s instructional mission. We invite you, as a current or former graduate teaching assistant, to showcase your teaching philosophy and instructional skills to the university community. This is an excellent opportunity to practice talking about your teaching engagingly for job interviews and to rehearse for teaching demonstrations. The central challenge is to do so in a way that engages and holds the attention of your audience just as you engage your students. You will have 3 minutes and 1 slide to engage the audience in your pedagogical grounding/teaching philosophy and present a concrete example of what that philosophy looks like in the in-person, virtual, or hybrid classroom or lab.


Monetary prizes, totaling over $1,700, are sponsored by The Graduate Student Congress and will be awarded to the first place, second place, third place, and people’s choice award winners!

  • First Place: $750

  • Second Place: $500

  • Third Place: $250

  • People's Choice: $250

Rules & Judging Criteria

Click here for a printable rubric with rules and judging criteria.
  • The competition is limited to graduate students who are currently, or have recently been, teaching assistants or in primary instructor roles. This includes recitation and lab leaders, instructors teaching from a common syllabus, and instructors teaching their own course in the department.

  • Participants must focus their presentation on teaching in a classroom or lab at the college level

  • One static presentation slide is allowed. (No slide animation, sound, or video is permitted.)

  • Additional props (costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, models, etc.) are permitted.

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum; competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.

  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts the presentation through movement or speech.

  • The decision of the judges is final.

Registration, Dates, & Deadlines

Registration: Please register here. We are extending our registration deadline to 8am on Wednesday, February 7, 2024. Registration is not required to participate, but it helps us plan the event.

Preparatory Workshop via Zoom: Communicating Your Teaching Philosophy - 12pm on Friday, February 2, 2024
This virtual workshop provided more information on GradTeach Live!, including tips and guidelines for crafting and giving your presentation.

Entry Submission Deadline: Please submit your slide and video here by 8am on Wednesday, February 14, 2024
You do not have to be registered to submit, but please provide all of your information with your submission so we can contact you. Below are some submission recommendations:

  • Upload a video of no more than 100MB, preferably in MP4 format.
  • We recommend you use your university Zoom account to record yourself. Share your slide during the presentation so that we can see you and your slide. Ideally, set the speaker thumbnail to large.
  • No video editing is required! As long as the presentation itself is within the three minute requirement, you do not need to edit the beginning or end of the video.
  • Please upload your slide as a PDF. You can easily save a PDF from PowerPoint and Google Slides.

UK GradTeach Live! In-Person Finals: 5pm on Thursday, February 29, 2024
Participants with the top submissions will be asked to present live and in-person at this showcase and final event. The event will feature people’s choice voting and an announcement of winners.


Left to Right: Nadia Sesay, Cassy Jane Werking, and Motunrayo Oladele


First Place Winner: Nadia Sesay, Communication, "A Universal Design Approach to Developing Confident Public Speakers"

Second Place & People's Choice Winner: Motunrayo Oladele, Chemistry, "Cultivating Engaging Learning Spaces in Chemistry Laboratory"

Third Place Winner: Cassy Jane Werking, History, "From Soldiers' Pets to Stanley Cups: Humanizing History and the College Experience in the Classroom"



First Place Winner: Daria Goncharova, English, "Dream Teams: Teaching Effective Communication Through Group Contract and Reflection"

Second Place Winner: Ray Celeste Tanner, Communication, "A Question a Day"

Third Place & People's Choice Winner: Jovita Ogechi Darazinwa, Chemistry, "Leading with the Human Element in Chemistry Labs"


First Place Winner: Rasheed Flowers, Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, "Creating Leaders in the Field of Sports Management"

Second Place Winner: Erica Jacquay, Veterinary Science, "Peer Mentors: Student-Led Learning in Introductory Equine Classes"

Third Place Winner: Megan Buland, Forestry and Natural Resources, "Building a Bridge: Emphasizing Conceptual Learning and Creativity in the Ecological Sciences"

People's Choice Winner: Jack Swab, Geography, "Questioning Assumptions, Creating Community"


First Place Winner: Kelly Grenier, Political Science, "Teaching Politics Through Art"

Second Place & People's Choice Award Winner: Cassy Jane Werking, History, "Our History Together Starts Here: Grounding the Teaching of American History in Local Lexington History"

Third Place Winner: Priya Karna, Chemistry, "Revolving Physical Chemistry Around Real-Life Applications"


Competition cancelled due to COVID-19.


Note: The rules of the original GradTeach Live! allowed presenters up to 5 minutes and 3 slides. Audience feedback led us to switch subsequent competitions to 3 minutes and 1 slide.

First Place Winner: Jannell McConnell Parsons, English, "Centering Student Agency: Target Public Audiences and Oral Histories in Appalachia"

Second Place Winner: Sarah Butterbaugh, Family Sciences, "Memes and Theory: Bringing Theory into Context"

Third Place Winner: Luc Dunoyer, Biology, "Increasing Critical Thinking by Teaching Ecology"

People's Choice: Kanthi Nuti, Chemistry, "Play of Molecular Isomers in Chemistry