Award for Excellence in Teaching

Tag: Award for Excellence in Teaching

Lawrence University Cites Brandenberger, Carr, Barrett for Scholarship, Teaching Excellence

Physicist John Brandenberg was honored as the first recipient of Lawrence University’s new Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity Award Sunday, June 11 at the college’s 157th commencement. Brandenberger was one of three faculty members recognized during graduation ceremonies.

Karen Carr, professor of religious studies, was presented Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually for outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Faith Barrett, assistant professor of English, received the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

The new Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity Award recognizes professional accomplishment in scholarship or creative activity. The award is intended to symbolize the importance of excellence in scholarly and creative work for advancing the mission of Lawrence University, with preference given to those who have demonstrated sustained programs of excellent work for a number of years and whose work exemplifies the ideals of the teacher-scholar.

Brandenberger, the Alice G. Chapman Professor of Physics and a member of the Lawrence faculty since 1968, previously was recognized in 1995 with the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

A specialist in laser spectroscopy and time-resolved flourescence spectroscopy, Brandenberger has played a leading role in earning national recognition for Lawrence’s physics department as one of the country’s best undergraduate programs. His research on atomic structure has been supported by grants from the Research Corporation, the National Science Foundation, NASA, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the General Electric Foundation and the Keck Foundation. In 1999, Brandenberger became the first physicist in Lawrence history to be elected a Fellow in the American Physical Society for his contributions to physics education in America.

In presenting him with the inaugural new award, Lawrence President Jill Beck cited the “imagination and energy” Brandenberger brings to the classroom and the laboratory.

“For generations of Lawrence students, you have provided a model for the conduct of scientific investigation in the context of a liberal education,” said Beck. “Your success as a scholar has shown in dramatic fashion that high quality research can be done at an undergraduate institution and can serve as an important part of students’ education. Your creative, intelligent and forceful advocacy for scholarly work is truly remarkable.”

A native of Danville, Ill., Brandenberger is a graduate of Carleton College, which honored him with its Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in physics at Brown University.

Carr, who joined the faculty in 1987, becomes just the seventh person to be recognized with both the Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Young Teacher Award in the 32-year history of the awards.

A scholar on the history of Christianity and 19th- and 20th-century religious thought, Carr is the author of two books, “The Banaliization of Nihilism” and “The Sense of Anti Rationalism: The Religious Thought of Zhuangzi and Kierkegaard,” a comparative study of religious epistemology.

“Your success at teaching students the nature of early Christianity and the complexities of such thinkers as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard made it clear that you have a special ability to take the most difficult ideas and make them come alive, without ever oversimplifying them,” Beck said in presenting Carr her award. “If the mark of a good liberal education is being able to use knowledge to understand what is vital for the human experience, you have clearly been successful with your students.”

Carr, who grew up near Buffalo, N.Y., earned her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in religious studies at Stanford University.

Barrett joined the English department in 2003. A specialist in 19th-century American literature, much of Barrett’s scholarly research has centered around poetry of the Civil War era. She served as co-editor of “Words for the Hour,” a 2005 anthology of American Civil War poetry. She also has two books in progress, “‘To fight aloud is very brave”: American Poets and the Civil War,” which examines works of both popular poets as well as unpublished poems written by soldiers, and “Letters to the World: Emily Dickinson and the Lyric Address.”

Beck credited Barrett for “creating a sense of excitement” about poetry and literature in her classes.

“Students praise your ability to challenge them and to help them reach new levels of accomplishment in both writing and critical analysis,” said Beck. “It is clear that a great deal of your success comes from your individualized learning style that is based on a high level of rich interactions with students. Your teaching has established a balance between attempting to cover a set of important points and allowing students to take responsibility for their own learning.”

Originally from Hartford, Conn., Barrett earned her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Swarthmore College and holds a MFA degree in poetry from the University of Iowa. She also earned a master’s degree and her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jazz Director, Spanish Professor Cited by Lawrence University for Teaching Excellence

Fred Sturm was honored a second time for his teaching prowess and assistant professor of Spanish Rosa Tapia was recognized for her classroom contributions as a junior faculty member Sunday, June 12 at Lawrence University’s 156th commencement.

Sturm, director of jazz and improvisational music, was presented Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually to a faculty member for outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Tapia was cited with the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

Sturm, who received Lawrence’s Young Teacher Award in 1983, is one of only five faculty members to earn both teaching honors. Last month, he was appointed to the Kimberly-Clark Professorship in Music.

A 1973 Lawrence graduate who directed the college’s first student-designed jazz ensemble as a 19-year-old sophomore, Sturm returned to his alma mater in 1977 as a member of the conservatory of music faculty. He left in 1991 to teach at his other alma mater, the Eastman School of Music in New York, where he earned a master’s degree in music composition in 1984, then returned to Lawrence in 2002.

Sturm’s jazz compositions and arrangements have been performed by Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis and Clark Terry, among others, and have been issued on numerous record labels, including Concord Jazz, RCA and Warner Brothers Records. He earned a Grammy Award nomination in 1988 and was named the 2003 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP/IAJE Commission In Honor of Quincy Jones, a prize granted annually to one established jazz composer of international prominence.

“Your jazz ensembles have received national recognition for outstanding performance from Downbeat magazine and your jazz composition and arranging students, following in their mentor’s footsteps, are also national award winners,” Lawrence President Jill Beck told Sturm in presenting his award. “Your own compositions and arrangements are acclaimed worldwide. For these accomplishments and your enduring dedication to jazz education at Lawrence and worldwide, we are pleased to honor you.”

Tapia joined the Lawrence Spanish department in 2002 with research interests in Spanish Peninsular and Latin American literature as well as the use of technology applications in foreign language education. Before coming to Lawrence, Tapia taught in the Spanish department at Penn State University, earning that institution’s outstanding teaching award for graduate students, one of only five given university-wide.

In honoring her, Beck said Tapia had “won the hearts and minds” of many students.

“Students say you inspired them to do their best work in your class. They recognize and applaud the high standards you set and express enthusiastic appreciation for the effort you expend to help them reach those goals,” said Beck. “Your colleagues, too, express gratitude for your willingness to share teaching strategies, especially those related to uses of instructional technology in the classroom.”

A native of Ubeda, Spain, Tapia earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the Universidad de Granada, a master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Delaware and her Ph.D. in Spanish at Penn State University.

Lawrence University Art Historian, Chemist Recognized for Teaching Excellence

Art historian Carol Lawton was cited with an unprecedented third teaching award and chemist Karen Nordell was recognized for her teaching prowess among junior faculty Sunday, June 13 at Lawrence University’s 155th commencement.

Lawton, professor of art history, received Lawrence’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually to a faculty member for outstanding performance in the teaching process, including the quest to ensure students reach their full development as individuals, human beings and future leaders of society.

Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, was presented the Young Teacher Award in recognition of demonstrated excellence in the classroom and the promise of continued growth.

The recipient of the college’s Young Teacher Award in 1982 and the Freshman Studies Teaching Award in 1998, Lawton is Lawrence’s only faculty member ever recognized with all three teaching honors.

A specialist in ancient Greek sculpture, Lawton joined the Lawrence art department in 1980. She has made numerous research trips to Greece to work with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, where she is pursuing study on Greek and Roman votive reliefs excavated from the Athenian Agora, the center of civic activity of ancient Athens.

She is the author of the book, “Attic Document Reliefs of the Classical and Hellenistic Periods,” (Oxford University Press, 1995) and has received research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the J. Paul Getty Trust. She serves as curator of Lawrence’s Ottilia Buerger Collection of ancient and Byzantine coins.

In presenting the award, Lawrence President Richard Warch cited Lawton’s faculty colleagues, who describe her teaching as “solid,” “demanding,” “tough-minded” and “characterized by an unremitting emphasis on precision and consistently high standards.”

“Art history majors credit you with igniting their passion for the subject and non majors relish the ways in which your courses broaden their educational horizons,” Warch said. “Your love of stone and how beautiful it can become in the hands of a Greek sculptor led you to carve out a niche for yourself in ancient art history. Your research with Greek and Roman votive reliefs emphasize not only the beauty of the objects themselves, but what the objects tell us about the culture, religion and politics of their period.”

A native of Oakland, Md., Lawton earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Vassar College and her Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University.

Nordell, who joined the Lawrence chemistry department in 2000, is a specialist in materials chemistry, specifically nanoscale science, which focuses on the manipulation of matter at the smallest level, literally atom-by-atom.

In 2002, with the help of a grant from the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, Nordell co-founded the outreach program PRYSM — Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Math. The program matches women students at Lawrence who are majoring in one of the sciences or mathematics with eighth-grade girls from Appleton’s Roosevelt Middle School. The Lawrence students serve as mentors and role models to their younger counterparts, providing tutoring assistance, conducting experiences and leading occasional field trips of scientific interest.

Warch cited Nordell’s “infectious enthusiasm” and her “genuine interest in her students” in recognizing her.

“They {students} admire and appreciate the limitless energy and passion for teaching you bring to all you do, praise expressed not only by chemistry majors but by the scientifically challenged as well,” Warch said. “Through your work with Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Math, known to us as PRYSM, and Girls Exploring Math and Science,
referred to as GEMS, you, your students and your colleague Eugenie Hunsicker have provided important role models for young girls in their early encounters with these disciplines.”

A graduate of Appleton East High School, Nordell earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in chemistry at Iowa State University.