Arch. Teaching Assistant Wins Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award

Architecture Graduate Teaching Assistant Donovan Linsey recently received the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award from the University of Oklahoma Graduate College. He was honored at the Graduate Awards Ceremony on April 28th. Donovan, who is currently a Masters in Architecture student, has been teaching a section of the first-year architecture design studios (ARCH 1155 and 1255) this academic year.

It is rare for a graduate student to teach a section of first-year studios, but according to Dr. Stephanie Pilat, the Director of the Division of Architecture, “Last year [Linsey] served as an assistant to the faculty in these courses. His dedication and enthusiasm proved so exceptional that we allowed him to teach his own sections of these studios this year.”  

Linsey’s role as a first-year studio instructor is incredibly important, as he is these architecture students’ first professional mentor. First-year studio is most architecture students’ first experience with the field of architecture and the unique learning format of studio. Having an enthusiastic, experienced, and supportive instructor is incredibly important for students.  

The Dean of Graduate College, Randy Hewes (left), and Donovan Linsey (right) pictured at the Graduate Awards Ceremony

Many of his students wrote in support of Donovan for the Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Emily Haas wrote, “He is a caring and kind professor who genuinely teaches to see the success of his students. Mr. Linsey goes above and beyond to make sure his students have every tool they need to succeed. […] He is also incredibly invested in his student’s journey through architecture and is honest about the challenges that students will face over the course of their Architecture education. This allows students to be prepared for the things to come in the next few years and creates realistic expectations for their future.”  

Another student, Kendall Kleoppel, wrote, “Mr. Linsey approaches education in a new light, focusing on learning and growth of each individual student, pushing each student to their personal best whilst understanding the importance of creating an environment in which students feel supported and are excited and eager to learn. As a student I know I can learn, try, fail, and grow under his teaching in a way that drives me to my highest potential instead of encouraging me to ‘do what I have to to get the grade’.” 

Linsey has continuously gone above and beyond for his students. In the fall semester, he designed and led a walking tour of Norman in order to help make up for missed field trips due to the pandemic. This walking tour included several Norman landmarks in order to allow students to develop a heightened awareness of how their own experiences of these sites was shaped by the design of the environment. You can read more about the tour here.  

Outside of the classroom, Linsey has been eager to collaborate with other instructors to help improve the experience of first-year architecture students. He has also researched how to incorporate Building Information Modelling (BIM) into design curricula. Dr. Pilat writes, “This intense work allowed our curriculum development to make a huge leap forward in terms of BIM.”  

Congratulations to Donovan Linsey on this well-deserved recognition! The Gibbs College of Architecture is thankful to have such a dedicated graduate student and instructor.