April 23-May 27, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 8
Back Issues
‘We want to see results!’
Board of Visitors calls for progress on diversity issues
Adams sees program review as an engine of progress
Senate to students: Reject lying and cheating in your midst
Headlines @ U.Va.
U.Va. digital history center reaches out to Virginia schools
It’s Personal: An aspiring group of teachers makes learning meaningful
Casteen: Budget stalemate won’t close University
Wise leadership
WHTJ marks Brown anniversary
Feast for the soul: Sufi devotional music of Pakistan
Talk to cover Health System’s master plan
Bowen urges ‘class-based affirmative action’
2004 University of Virginia Teaching Awards

It’s Personal
An inspiring group of teachers makes learning meaningful

By Robert Brickhouse

Demonstrating the University’s commitment to teaching excellence, the exemplary work of classroom teachers will be highlighted April
28 with the presentation of various awards at the University’s annual “In Celebration of Teaching” banquet.

Graduate students win teaching awards

The All-University Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards and School of Medicine Resident Award recognize
promising future instructors with $1,000 prizes for overall teaching excellence.

• Sandy Alexandre, English
• Linda E. Aucoin, Biology
• Daniel L. Bowring, Physics
• Mandi Burnette, Psychology
• Ronda Chollock, English
• Sarah Cox, Spanish, Italian &
• Jacqueline Couti, French
• Daniel Disalvo, Politics
• Anthony S. Drago, Civil
• Ryan Emanuel, Environmental
• Maria D. Fitzpatrick, Economics
• Margaret Grubiak,
Architectural History
• Randall D. Helmstutler,
• Sara Kajder, Curry School
of Education
• Ilka Kressner, Spanish, Italian,
& Portuguese
• Brian Marinas, Classics
• Charles Molhock, Electrical &
Computer Engineering
n Wendy Morris, Psychology
n Christopher M. Nichols, History
n Sarah Painitz, German
n Hannah L. Phelps, Philosophy
n Gordon B. Steffey, Religious
n Andrea Stevens, English
n Barbara E. Tawney, Systems &
Informational Engineering
n Catherine A. Tyler, Economics
n Virginia C. Wiley, Resident,
Family Medicine

Chosen from numerous nominations, each backed by heart-felt testimonials from students and colleagues, the honorees and their wide-ranging work inspire the whole University, said Marva Barnett, chairwoman of the faculty teaching awards committee and director of the Teaching Resource Center.

“Many of the winners this year make teaching contributions that extend beyond the classroom: by helping students feel comfortable in their courses, they make them more able to learn; by mentoring colleagues as well as students, they inspire learning at all levels,” she said.

Invariably described as demanding, caring and committed to students’ learning, the award-winners include junior and senior professors and graduate teaching assistants from throughout the University.

Several faculty members who have won other major teaching awards in the past few months also will be recognized. These include associate psychology professor Jonathan Haidt, who won the SCHEV/TIAA-CREF
Outstanding Faculty Award — the annual statewide award for excellent teaching from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia — and two others who will hold distinguished teaching professorships supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Brian Balogh, Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professor of History, and Mark Edmundson, Daniels Family Distinguished Teaching Professor of English.

The nomination material for each of these award winners includes statements of their teaching philosophies and principles, which are excerpted on pages 6 and 7.

A $2,500 prize goes to faculty members who have shown unusual concern for students and made significant contributions to University life for at least a decade.

Bascom DeaverBascom Deaver
Professor of Physics

“A practice I have adopted over the years is to try to be available to talk to students when they want to talk. Many questions can be answered or problems solved in only a few minutes, so instead of scheduling regular office hours, since I am usually in the office or lab, my practice is to have students come by, and I will stop what I am doing and talk to them immediately. If we need more time, we agree on a time to meet.

I find that students need to realize that there is a broad spectrum of talents, that each has unique talents and one is more skilled in a given area than another; that while in earlier stages of their lives there were pressures for conformity, now they should recognize the great values of diversity.”

Judith SandsJudith K. Sands
Associate Professor of Nursing

“I am unapologetic about challenging students to care as much as I do about the nursing profession and to push themselves to accept nothing but their best. ... Passion and excellence are balanced by caring, which is one of the core values of nursing. I don’t believe that I can effectively teach caring in the classroom as an essential tool of nursing without consciously adopting caring behavior in my interactions with the students. ... I also try to give life to this value by maintaining an open-door policy and making myself physically accessible for walk-in conferences, career counseling, tutoring and other course assistance, and just providing a compassionate ear for students struggling with non-academic issues in their lives.”

Seven Society awards graduate teaching assistants

The Seven Society held its Seventh Annual Awards Banquet April 12, honoring the 12 graduate teaching assistants who were finalists for the society’s Graduate Fellowship for Superb Teaching, a $7,000 award to recognize a graduate teaching assistant who embodies the highest ideals of teaching at the University.

Michael Smith in the mathematics department won the fellowship. Two other fellowships, at $5,000 each, were awarded: the 2004 Dr. Frank
Finger Graduate Fellowship went to Lisa Stewart, anthropology department; the 2004 Class of 1985 Graduate Fellowship
for Creative Teaching, to Christopher Jackson, English department.
Other finalists: Daniel Bowring, physics; Christopher L. Burdett, politics; James Devin Herod, environmental sciences; Ryan Leone, English; Brian C. Marinas, classics; Paul Moran, classics; Sara Pfaff, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese; Peter Slade, religious studies; and Jeanine K. Stefanucci, psychology.

An assistant professor who demonstrates skill in teaching is awarded $1,000, plus $1,500 in additional support for a semester-long research project.

Stacey SinclairStacey Sinclair

“Combining the goal of encouraging students to think about sensitive topics in new ways with the goal of having fun is challenging, but I have come to rely on three strategies: 1. Tell stories. Each class is structured so that it tells a story. Allowing the material to unfold in this manner requires students to continually recall information learned earlier and creates an organizational framework. ... 2. Keep students engaged. Class is a success when the students become so engrossed in debating each other that I only need to interject when the discussion goes off track. ... 3. Listen to the students. I think that seriously considering students’ perspectives is an important part of being an effective teacher. I encourage students to ask questions and share relevant insights as much as possible.”

This endowed two-year professorship, partly supported by athletic bowl earnings,
honors excellent teaching.

Cassandra FraserCassandra Fraser
Associate Professor of Chemistry

“Regardless of why they are there, I try to respect my students for who they are and to provide them with an educational experience that is valuable and memorable. Meaningful learning involves thrilling moments when students are empowered and presented with new opportunities, but there are also times that are tremendously frustrating and disappointing, even times when they are troubled by what they discover about themselves, and the world around them. ... I try to be there for my students in both kinds of times — to celebrate their successes, share in their victories and often simply take delight in them and their uniqueness.”

Nine faculty members will receive a $1,000 prize for excellent undergraduate teaching.

Lawrie BalfourLawrie Balfour
Assistant Professor of Politics

“My primary aim as a teacher is to enable students to ask better questions. ... By raising provocative questions about the nature and demands of political life and [by] challenging students to reflect critically on their answers, I attempt to help them understand how classical, modern and contemporary political arguments bear on their own
commitments and the conditions of their lives. ... I ask students to recognize how even perennial questions resonate differently in different times and places. This often means tangling with controversies about race, gender, sexuality, religion, nation and class, and learning to
articulate positions that are both honest and respectful.”

John BeanJohn Bean
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

“Teaching is my second career. My first career was as a researcher and research manager at a huge industrial laboratory. … I have had the opportunity to see how well my own education ‘worked’ for me in the real world, to judge what was of greater or lesser value. … I increasingly make a very strong distinction between information and understanding, and direct my energies and passion at conveying the latter. … That is why in my new Introduction to Engineering class, students focus on active experiences of case studies, presentations, discussions and debates, and ultimately on a minimally structured “throw them in the deep end” semester-long team project.”

R. Edward FreemanR. Edward Freeman
Darden School Olsson Professor of Business Administration

“The relationships among the students and between faculty and students are fully human relationships. Intellect, reason, emotion and spirit all play a part in the unfolding classroom drama. Part of my role as a teacher is to be cognizant of the resulting complexity. ... Over the years, I have found that caring deeply about the students and trusting them to do the right thing with each other are principles that serve us well. ... Teaching is a process that is fundamentally ethical in nature. Integrity, caring, respect and trust are central ingredients to effectiveness.”

William GuilfordWilliam H. Guilford
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

“I firmly believe that technology will not fundamentally alter the efficacy of educational techniques. In the headlong rush to implement technology in the classroom, it is too often forgotten that computers cannot replace organized material, an enthusiastic teacher, classroom presence and hands-on experience. I believe that computer-based materials should be treated, as often as possible, as supplementss and enhancements to the classroom experience, not as replacements. ... That said, all my lectures are multimedia-based and supported by comprehensive Web sites, yet designed to encourage class attendance.”

Ann Baile HamricAnn Baile Hamric
Associate Professor of Nursing

“A good teacher saves students time and makes them think. I endeavor to do both in my classes. ... My greatest experience as a teacher in the classroom is watching students think and seeing them make connections: between concepts and their experiences; between theory and practice; and among experiences in a way that allows them to see beyond their frame of vision to a larger picture. ... I want to create the spark of discovery in students in order to grow their understanding into a passion for the subject.”

Sandra IliescuSanda Iliescu
Assistant Professor of Architecture and Art

“I teach for the same reason I make art and write: because I enjoy learning. By learning I mean extending and sharing one’s knowledge as well as proposing and testing new ideas. ... My work with students is an open-ended, experimental collaboration. Students read and critique my writing just as I respond to their assignments. They discuss my paintings and drawings just as I probe and interpret theirs. ... Perhaps the greatest lesson of such teaching experiences is that art is as much about shared ideas and relationships between people as it is about transcendent aesthetic objects.”

Robert G. KellyRobert G. Kelly
Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

“Analogies are powerful tools. It has been said that learning is simply remembering what we already know. ... Students learn best by doing. Outside the class the most powerful learning experience a student can have is his own research project. ... Learning is a two-way street. Students can sometimes see an aspect of the subject at hand that has eluded the teacher. ... Good preparation gives me freedom during class. ... Teachers can rely on each other for guidance. My colleagues serve as sounding boards for ideas and provide critical moral support.”

Elizabeth K. MeyerElizabeth K. Meyer
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

“ My teaching encourages students to be creative risk-takers ... [in learning how] to shape the landscape medium, how that shaping is inextricable from its cultural and biophysical contexts. … I’m committed to fostering an environment where students can dream, think and make within an atmosphere of collective respect and success. In my courses, I share my enthusiasm for, as well as knowledge of, my subject. This combination affords students a supportive and informed platform upon which they can take risks leading to creativity and invention.”

Michael WormingtonMichael Wormington
Associate Professor of Biology

“At the outset I impress upon my
students that paradoxically, despite the wealth of information they will encounter, never before are those educated in the life sciences faced with the rapidity with which their basic knowledge becomes obsolete. As such, I emphasize problem-solving and critical-thinking skills so they can readily discard outdated or erroneous concepts in order to accommodate new findings as they materialize. ... I stress the human connection of biology in various applied contexts. Never before has biology had such profound and immediate consequences on society.”




© Copyright 2004 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

UVa Home Page UVa Events Calendar Top News UVa Home Page