The School of Arts and Sciences announces the following winners of its 2022 Teaching Awards:
Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching
This year’s recipients of SAS’s highest teaching honor are English teacher Toni Bowers and political science teacher Rudra Sil. Established in 1983, the Ira H. Abrams Prize recognizes intellectually stimulating and exceptionally coherent teaching. The award honors faculty who exemplify high standards of integrity and fairness, have a strong commitment to learning, and are open to new ideas.
Since arriving at Penn in 1991, Dr. Bowers has taught generations of Penn students, sharing with them his deep knowledge and passion for 18th century British fiction and drama. According to her colleagues, Dr. Bowers is a masterful teacher who both models and communicates a deep excitement about other worlds and other times; the kind of teacher who can change the course of a student’s life through example and encouragement. The department chair notes that Dr. Bowers’ legacy as a teacher is evidenced by her mentorship of several other famous teachers in her department, including another Abrams Prize winner.
Dr. Sil’s valuable contributions to teaching and mentorship range from his leadership of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Affairs to his stellar teaching of Russian and comparative politics, his acclaimed undergraduate and graduate seminars, and his long history. mentoring of graduates and graduates. undergraduate research. A faculty colleague exclaimed, “There is, in short, no dimension of teaching – conducting seminars, lecturing, supervising undergraduate and graduate theses, administering departments and universities – in which Rudy Sil has not excelled, consistently and repeatedly, for more than two years. decades.”
Dennis M. DeTurck Award for Innovation in Teaching
This award, named after Professor of Leadership Robert A. Fox and former Dean of the College of SAS Dennis DeTurck, recognizes outstanding creativity and innovation in teaching. The 2022 recipient is Grace Sanders Johnson, Assistant Professor of African Studies. Dr. Sanders Johnson brings to her teaching extraordinary creativity and a penchant for interdisciplinarity and a spirit of collaboration. A student describes the inventive structure of her ‘Ships: Modalities of Black Freedom and Escape’ course – which included theory, sewing, fabric dyeing, photography, obtaining a sailing license and sailing – as “a journey where I bonded with peers and harnessed the course’s various devices to re-imagine freedom as an art form.
Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Research Mentorship
This award, which recognizes faculty members who have excelled in nurturing the desires and abilities of undergraduate students to conduct meaningful research, is awarded to Mechthild “Mecky” Pohlschröder, Professor of Biology. For many years, Dr. Pohlschröder has worked to improve the engagement of a diverse group of biology and STEM students, and she recently founded the Penn Freshmen Exposure to Research in Biological Sciences (PennFERBS) program, which aims to achieve educational equity through the integration, establishment and retention of students traditionally underrepresented in laboratory research.
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Assistant Professor
This award recognizes a junior faculty member who demonstrates unusual promise as an educator. The 2022 laureate is Sukaina Hirji, Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Colleagues and students describe Dr. Hirji as an educator who has thought deeply about how to foster a meaningful and inclusive approach to teaching philosophy, who strives to break down barriers of access to philosophy for women and students of color through careful scaffolding that allows philosophy students of all backgrounds to feel confident in their classroom.
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Affiliated Faculty
Robert Johnson, associate professor of physics and astronomy, and Rupa Pillai, associate professor of Asian American studies, are the recipients of this award, which recognizes the contributions to undergraduate teaching made by the school’s associate professors .
Dr. Johnson’s students praise his ability to connect with them, especially during the pandemic, with “a sense of enthusiasm and caring that was invaluable to me, a student who was typically isolated from campus and my other peers. and teachers,” says one, while another explains that “Dr. Johnson managed to make the course very appropriate and responsive to difficult circumstances while making it rigorous, challenging and enjoyable.
In addition to bringing his cutting-edge research – including new mapping and digital access methodologies – into the classroom, Dr. Pillai creates “an intellectually rich and warm space for students to advance and test their ideas” , according to a faculty colleague who observed her class. Dr. Pillai’s students agree, including one who says, “His course gave me the confidence to stand up for myself and others like me.
College of Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Programs
The recipient of this award, which recognizes teaching excellence in LPS undergraduate programs, is Sukalpa Basu, a lecturer and advisor in the post-baccalaureate pre-health program. Highlighting Dr. Basu’s strong dedication to making his engaging physics and calculus classes accessible to all learners, one student said, “My last physics class was in high school over ten years ago, and I couldn’t never imagined that physics could be so simple and understandable. I give full thanks to Dr. Basu for providing me and all of his students with the tools we need to study the physical world.
College of Liberal and Professional Studies Award for Distinguished Teaching in Professional Graduate Programs
The recipient of this award, which recognizes teaching excellence in LPS graduate programs, is Associate Professor of Practice Lauren Russell, who teaches three core courses for the Fels Master of Public Administration program. Institute of Government. Dr. Russell is commended for her pivotal contributions to the Fels curriculum and curriculum, and for her dedication to helping students succeed. According to the Director of the Fels Institute, Dr. Russell “exemplifies the qualities of a master teacher…this is reflected in his thoughtful planning, his communication with students, his clear and compelling teaching, and his timely and effective feedback to students. .”
Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students
This award recognizes graduate students for teaching that is intellectually rigorous and has a significant impact on undergraduate students. This year’s winners are:
- Nana Adjeiwaa-ManuSociology
- Francesca BolfoHistory of art
- Erin BuschMusic
- Joseph CoppolaEnglish
- Devin DanielsEnglish
- Abigail DymPolitical science
- Angelina EimannsbergerComparative literature
- Christopher FritschiChemistry
- Julien GouldMath
- Alicia MeyerEnglish