Spots of sunshine: Students pen thank-you notes to teachers

Call it old-school: Give students a blank sheet of paper, a pen and a chance to send a handwritten note of appreciation directly to their instructors, and they’ll take up the opportunity.

Stephanie Guedet (left) and Sarah MacDonald of CETL watch as a student writes a note.

Just before finals in December, more than 150 students stopped to scribble notes — anonymously — to their teachers, sharing how much their instructors supported them and went above and beyond in the classroom.

Staff and student workers with UWM’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning set up tables at the Golda Meir Library, Student Union and Bolton Hall, giving students the opportunity to write the notes. And the team is working on plans now to do it again in spring semester.

UWM students shout out their teachers

“Lots of students were excited to say thank you to their teachers. This is a testament to the great teaching happening at UWM,” said Sarah Riforgiate, interim director of CETL.

The team gathered the notes, scanned each one and emailed them individually to instructors.

“It was so wonderful at the end of the semester, when everyone’s so tired. Teachers and their department chairs received these great shout-outs,” Riforgiate said. “It was exciting to call out excellent teachers.”

The CETL team plans to set up shop in a few spots again this spring; look for the tables at the library, Student Union and other locations. To find out more or to get involved, email Riforgiate at

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