UI graduate student earns Excellence in Teaching Award

Braden Krien, a UI doctoral candidate, has earned the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award for his dedication to students.


Elena Alvarez

Graduate Assistant Brady Krien poses for a portrait at the Iowa Memorial Union on Monday, February 25, 2019.

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

Braden Krien came to the University of Iowa determined to make an impact on the world around him.

After his years as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, then earning a master’s at Marquette University, now in his status as a graduate student, the 27-year-old is the first person at the UI to win the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Excellence in Teaching Award.

The association awards one doctoral student and one master’s student who exemplify excellence in teaching and learning from the universities involved in the council. Each award recipient receives a citation and a $750 honorarium presented at the association’s annual meeting. This year’s event will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in St. Louis for the group’s 75th anniversary.

“One of the cool things about Iowa getting this award is that it truly gets to recognize how much support there is for graduate students here at the UI,” Krien said. “Unfortunately, this isn’t always true for all colleges. It is really valuable that Iowa has all these resources for its students.”

Starting early in his undergraduate years, Krien began his work with students as an RA and decided to continue that in the master’s program, where he taught in classroom settings.

Krien said one of the most challenging things he faced was teaching students who, in some cases, were older than him.

Two and a half years ago, Krien arrived at the UI as a doctoral student in the English Department and a master’s student in the School of Library and Information Science. He began teaching a first-year rhetoric class.

After a lot of work with the UI’s various teaching opportunities, Krien is now working in graduate student professional development in the UI Graduate College, assisting graduate students find their career paths.

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“Two big mentors in my life were my parents,” he said. “They were both K-12 teachers, so I was always around that sort of passion.”

Now, Krien will write his dissertation and spend his last two years at the UI working with graduate students and continuing to inspire them to follow their passions, he said.

“I really like working with students,” he said. “I have decided that is what I really want my career to be about. I just want to be in a position where I get to support student careers.”

Jennifer Teitle, an assistant dean in the Graduate College, said she was not surprised at all when she heard about Krien’s accomplishment.

“What makes him unique is that he is willing to try his best at everything he does and is interested in all sorts of opportunities,” Teitle said. “He knows how to make his classes active and really exciting.”

Jean Florman, the director of the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology in the UI Center for Teaching, said Krien has inspired all of the full-time professional staff after working as a teaching fellow.

“Brady has a tremendous amount of energy,” Florman said. “He is dedicated to his scholarly work and teaching — all while maintaining a balance between the two. He is a delight to work with, and we are so fortunate to have him at the UI.”