May 6 - June 3, 2005
Vol. 35, Issue 8
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
Leitao named 'Hoos first African-American head coach
Flagship universities must pursue excellence and access
Outstanding Contribution Award winners announced
Digest
Two-time university president rekindles love of teaching and scholarship
100 years since U.Va.'s first presidential inauguration
2005 Teaching Awards
Championing the 'F-word'
Well, well... Students' health tops University's concerns
Loud and clear; Gausvik says he's listening
Lyder blazes a busy trail at Nursing School
Researchers, environment win big in pollution cases
Documentary 'Rising Up' examines civil rights movement
Spring procurement vendor fair June 1
Iris: 25 and hitting its stride
 

 

To Teach is to Learn
This year’s outstanding faculty award-winners contend that teaching is more than what you bring in — it’s what you take out

By Katherine Ward

American librarian and museum director John Cotton Dana once said, “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”

At a dinner at the Rotunda on April 28, the University honored its great teachers — teachers who have dedicated their lives to learning, illustrating and inspiring. Chosen from countless nominations, submitted by students and colleagues, the honorees’ reaches are wide: each day, they touch members of the U.Va. community and beyond. And each agrees that one of the most important parts of teaching is unyielding — that it is a learning process. To teach at the University is to learn, each and every day from students and professors, and to grow and evolve into an educator, motivator and friend.

“As I put together these comments about the remarkable work our colleagues are doing, I was awed by realizing yet again what exceptional knowledge, teaching and learning go on day to day, hour to hour, here at U.Va.,” said Marva Barnett, director of the Teaching Resource Center, which organizes the awards.

To grasp the effect these teachers have upon the community, comments from the award-winners, their colleagues and students follow.

All-University Teaching Award
Nine faculty members receive a $1,000 prize for excellent undergraduate teaching

Eugene CorbettDr. Eugene C. Corbett Jr.
Bernard B. and Anne L. Brodie Associate Professor
Of Internal Medicine

Teaching Statement • I have come to appreciate the unique importance of being learner-centered in my teaching activities. … I try to remain aware that there is both a learner and a teacher in all of us. I believe that these reciprocal tasks comprise the intellectual process, which enables our own continuing personal growth and development, and our ability to contribute the same in others. I also strive to understand and nurture this capability in our academic process.

His Nominees Said …
• I still consider Eugene a mentor and a role model from whom I am continuously learning more about what it means to be a great teacher. He is widely respected and loved by his patients and his students for his hard work, knowledge of care, availability and genuine concern.
– Dr. V. L. Brashers, associate professor of nursing and attending physician in Internal Medicine

• Dr. Corbett has taught me how to think through the diagnosis and reach an answer on my own.
– Troy Mohler, current student

John HarrisonJohn C. Harrison
David Lurton Massie, Jr., Professor of Law

Teaching Statement • Designing a day in class, let alone an entire course … presents the challenge … of assessing what students already know and, what is more difficult, figuring out the order in which to present the material when there really is no truly logical order in that everything to some extent presumes knowledge of everything else.

His Nominees Said …
• His brilliance and his devotion to the education of his students are beyond question. He possesses the talents of a great teacher: the capacity for lucid exposition, rigorous analysis, penetrating observation, encyclopedic breadth of knowledge, sophisticated depth of understanding, spontaneous wit, generosity of spirit and compassion for those experiencing their initial encounters with the “mysterious science of the law.”

You will find him in his office every day and nearly every evening and weekend – at all hours – reading, learning, preparing lectures, talking with students, refining his craft. For John, the life of the mind and the transmission of learning are truly a consuming vocation.
– Barry Cushman, Percy Brown, Jr. Professor of Law and History

• Professor Harrison never told me the answer to his question; he showed me how to reach that answer on my own.
– Olivia Wang, current student

William JacksonWilliam E. Jackson
associate professor of Germanic languages and literatures

Teaching Statement • The learning process became very challenging and very broadening in ways that I could have never foreseen. … If I did not need to make a living, I would gladly teach without pay.

His Nominees Said …
• In my 40-odd years of teaching, I have never encountered an individual who succeeds anywhere near as well as Bill Jackson at teaching the WHOLE student, at putting class work and expectation into context for each student, so that it becomes a genuinely significant factor in the student’s actual life. All of us, I assume, hope for this kind of result, but Bill Jackson is unique in that he achieves it regularly.
– Benjamin Bennett, Willam R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of German

• In the classroom, Professor Jackson always encouraged and praised participation. .. His love and energy for the subject was so extremely evident and contagious. Smiles and laughter became a constant during lecture. He made learning about fairytales fun, interesting and intellectual. … Almost three years after our first meeting as teacher and student, I still feel that I am learning from him.
– Jean Jiao, former student

Meg KeeleyDr. Meg Graham Keeley
associate professor of pediatrics

Teaching Statement
• Most pediatricians consider it a privilege that parents grant us the trust to care for their children. I feel much the same way about the privilege of participating in the education and training of future physicians. It is exciting to watch a student master a clinical skill and fulfilling to help them understand what it is like to be a sick child and a worried parent. ... I have been impressed that the “best” teachers have a greater understanding of their learners and a dedication to the idea that their role extends well beyond the classroom or the clinic. This is what guides my own teaching efforts.

Her Nominees Said …
• I have been professionally associated with Meg for over 10 years. Her approach to the education of medical students … is as fresh and enthusiastic now as it was a decade ago.
– Dr. Eugene C. Corbett, Jr., Bernard B. and Anne L. Brodie Associate Professor of Internal Medicine

• Dr. Keeley took four medical students afraid of “breaking a baby,” and inspired them to learn everything they could about … pediatric medicine. … Teachers like Dr. Keeley are the ones who enable medical students to
become the next generation of doctors.
– Paul M. McIntosh, president, Class of 2005 Medical School

John LachJohn Lach
assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering

Teaching Statement • Perhaps a bit like a personal trainer, I often tell my students that if they adopt a positive, enthusiastic attitude about the material, they will learn to “love the burn” of solving challenging engineering problems. Indeed, a teacher’s responsibility is to not only disseminate course material but to create an air of enthusiasm surrounding that material. I love electrical engineering, so it is easy for me to share my genuine enthusiasm. … In turn, my students tell me that my enthusiasm is contagious and that they find it easy to get excited about the material in my courses. … This feedback … strengthens my resolve to never become complacent in the classroom, but to always continue learning how to better instruct and inspire my students.

His Nominees Said …
• His introspective self-analysis, interest in pedagogical theory, willingness to put in any necessary time and commitment to educational excellence have helped him evolve into an outstanding teacher. ... John truly cares about all of his students, and it shows.
– Lloyd R. Harriott, Virginia Microelectronics Consortium Professor and chairman of electrical and computer
engineering

• Dr. Lach works twice as hard as his hardest-working students, putting everything he has into finding the best possible way to teach the concepts of a difficult course. ... With a kind of contagious enthusiasm, he proceeded to single-handedly raise the bar for all educators to follow.
– Benjamin Sachs, former student

Ralph MinehartRalph C. Minehart
professor of physics

Teaching Statement • Teaching is enjoyable and rewarding; its extensions of one’s life into the indefinite future is incomparable. I hope that I convey to the students my enthusiasm for physics and my satisfaction with a life-long commitment to science, along with my faith that their own lives will be enriched from their studies.

His Nominees Said …
• He conveys to the students that he has never lost either his enthusiasm for physics or his appreciation of its intellectual beauty. Ralph ensures that the students understand that there is nothing magical or mysterious about physics; it’s just a logical sequence of simple steps.
– Thomas F. Gallagher, chairman and Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics

• Professor Minehart ingeniously taught my classmates and me to grasp a fundamental of quantum theory, and this will be the most important base for all of us who … continue doing physics. He thus far has played the most important role in our physics careers. He is a great teacher and deserves our respect.
– Jirakan Nunkaew, former student

Fernando OpereFernando Opéré
professor of Spanish

Teaching Statement • I have always felt a special emotion from the moment I step into the classroom. What a tremendous responsibility! How does one incite and continue that journey, fulfilling everybody’s expectations? How does one go on that trip of knowledge without losing any of the travelers? … A teacher must inform. A teacher must create the ideal environment for learning. A teacher has to raise questions whose answers incite a process of thinking. A teacher must listen and discuss. But most of all, a teacher has to motivate.

His Nominees Said …
• The celebration of this January of 25 years of Spanish theatre at our university was the most eloquent testimony to the profound effect and lasting legacy of Fernando’s teaching. Observing Alumni Hall packed with alumni who had come from many different states for this event, and hearing their speeches, I was struck by the evidence that Fernando had touched most positively and lastingly many lives. … What Fernando has created is exceptional, extremely diplomatic effort. We can be extremely proud of our program. This is the practice of teaching taken to the highest degree.
– Randolph D. Pope, Commonwealth Professor of Spanish and Chairman of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese

• SPAN 342 was unlike any class I had ever taken in high school or in college so far, and I loved it. I truly believe that a teacher’s passion for his subject and his ability to share that excitement with their students are what matter the most, and Opéré is the epitome of academic curiosity and enthusiasm.
– Rebecca Menges, former student

William QuandtWilliam B. Quandt
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Professor Of Politics and Vice Provost for International Affairs

Teaching Statement • We are always selective in the facts we choose to focus on, and so we should try to be self-aware about our frames of reference. I also believe that there is no such thing as a “correct” theory. Depending on what questions we are trying to answer, we need to adjust the lens through which we are looking.

His Nominees Said …
• Bill is the rare scholar who has also been an effective public servant. This ability to reconcile the worlds of ideas and practice makes his classes especially stimulating and thought-provoking. … In this capacity he developed a series of international programs that are dramatically enriching the intellectual life and personal growth of our students. Bill is thus at the very center of U.Va.’s educational mission, it’s need to make our students aware of the world and America’s place in it.
– Sidney M. Milkis, James Hart Professor of Politics and chairman, Department of Politics

• Professor Quandt’s credibility and humor, along with his general aura of calm and reassurance, allow him to deal successfully with the special challenges of teaching about the Middle East.
– Katherine Blue Carroll, former student

Howard SingermanHoward Singerman
associate professor of art history

Teaching Statement • I have long been committed to teaching [modern and contemporary art], at whatever level, on its own terms and with the complexity it demands. I refuse to talk down to either the art or my students, and I find this pays off. ... I think that is what I want most: for my students to come away with a sense of the seriousness and the stakes of contemporary artistic practice.

His Nominees Said …
• Howard has a talent for synthesis; he is adept at guiding beginners and advanced students through large historical problems as well as fine theoretical points. … Howard speaks as both a historian and a critic with personal knowledge of the world of contemporary art. He presents strong viewpoints — viewpoints that guide the students through the material at hand — with a light touch.
– Matthew Affron, associate professor of art history

• In addition to solidifying my decision to major in art history, his class turned the study of art history for me into a soulful enterprise — about people and their desire to create, about art and politics and about our continually changing world.
– Margaret Owen Guggenheimer, former student

Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Fellowship
Two-year appointment, which includes up to 2/9ths salary and $2,000 research fund annually

Jose FuentesJosé D. Fuentes
associate professor of environmental sciences

Teaching Statement • I wish to inspire younger generations to greet science as enthusiastically as I do. I have attained some proficiency in teaching because I seek to make course material not just accessible but also intriguing. I believe that students should be led to uncover new knowledge, at least in part, on their own.

His Nominees Said …
• Teaching awards are often the product of an individual being good at a particular facet of the educational life of our university: teaching a class that is inspirational year-in and year-out, or serving as a mentor to a segment of our student body. José has developed all the facets of his professional life. He is a teacher, mentor, colleague and role model, all at once.
– H. H. Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of Environmental Sciences

• From day one, José Fuentes treated me less as a neophytic student than as an intelligent friend and colleague; a clever equal from whom he could learn much about teaching if not science. This spirit of open-mindedness and inclusion has made all the difference in my academic life.
– Jeffrey M. Sigler, former student

Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award
A $2,500 award goes to a faculty member who has shown unusual concern for students and made significant contributions to University life for at least a decade.

John ArrasJohn D. Arras
Porterfield Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Professor of Philosophy

Teaching Statement • Teaching without passion for one’s subject matter is a crime (or at least a serious tort) against the young. ... If you don’t care deeply about your students both as thinkers and as persons, you’re in the wrong profession.

His Nominees Said …
• One hears considerable hype about the “synergy” of teaching and research, but John in his unpretentious, low-tech, Bull Durham way combines the two activities effortlessly with no need for neologism.
– Mitchell S. Green, associate professor of philosophy

• John is a masterful teacher. He brings himself and his vast knowledge base to each teaching encounter, with a philosopher’s ability to challenge, reflect, debate and thoroughly dissect the topic at hand.
– Ann B. Hamric, associate professor of nursing and faculty affiliate, Center for Biomedical Ethics

• Professor Arras is a kind, homey, completely down-to-earth guy who often shows up to class wearing a cowboy hat, corduroys and a trench coat. He has a wonderful (tastefully) bawdy and (uncynically) sarcastic sense of humor, and can go toe-to-toe with any class clown. He takes students seriously, is utterly without pretension, and as a result is the most approachable – and most approached – professor that I’ve ever met.
– Benjamin Krohmal, former student

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
TIAA-CREF Outstanding Faculty Awards
A $5,000 stipend went to 12 honorees statewide

R Edward FreemanR. Edward Freeman
Elis and Signe Olsson Professor of Business Administration, co-director of the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics and professor of religious ethics

Teaching Statement • 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. … I see myself as a student of ethics, trying to learn and improve, alongside my student colleagues. … Teaching is a process that is fundamentally ethical in nature. Integrity, caring, respect and trust are central ingredients to effectiveness. Teaching students is at once a terrifying responsibility and an incredibly empowering way of life. My students ignite a fire in me to try and help them develop their lives to make a difference in the world. To be honest, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

His Nominees Said …
• Quite simply, Ed is a phenomenon. … Just talking to him is an education. As dean, one hopes for what Ed lives – being an exceptional teacher, scholar and colleague.
– Robert S. Harris, Dean, Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration and C. Stewart Sheppard Professor of Business Administration

• What sets Professor Freeman apart, in my mind, is that he does all this by forcing even the most hardened business students to approach a private self-evaluation with determination. You cannot escape reflection if you have Ed as a professor who long outlasts his classroom
assignments and whose impact grows over time. I cannot think of any more distinguishing characteristic in someone who motivates, listens and edifies in the name of teaching.
– Courtney Zierden, former student, MBA 1994

Alumni Board of Trustees Teaching Award
One outstanding teacher each year receives a $2,500 award, one semester of research leave at full pay and a $1,500 research award.

Paul KershawPaul Kershaw
assistant professor of history

Teaching Statement • University teaching in its more public forms is often about talking but I would add that just as important is an awareness of when one should be silent and listen to what every individual student has to say, and to listen well.

His Nominees Said …
• Kershaw is simply a remarkable teacher, of big classes and of small. He inspires in his many (and voluble) students a massive interest in early medieval history as well as a true devotion to the historical enterprise and, without intending to, to himself. Perhaps the most singular strength of Paul’s teaching is his ability to connect equally well to students of extremely different abilities and levels of motivation.
– Elizabeth A. Meyer, former student

• I have never been so intellectually challenged or learned so much, both about the subject but also about how to be an academic. I have never been as proud of a paper as I was for the one that I wrote for that class.”
– Christopher Riedel, former student

• … I rely daily on the things he taught me. Above all he is devoted to helping students achieve their best, and he believes in students even before they believe in themselves. Without his inspiration, guidance and encouragement I would not, and could not, be pursuing the career that I am.
– Kelly Lyn Gibson, former student

Horace W. Goldsmith NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship
One winner is chosen who enables profound research on teaching, while providing opportunities to think innovatively and integrate new ideas, for a $2,000 award and another $2,000 to hire a teaching assistant.

William McDonaldWilliam McDonald
professor of Germanic languages and literatures

Teaching Statement • My students are not only educating themselves. They are educating me, communicating ideas through language drawn from their own Internet “textbooks.” We are learning together in perfect partnership. With a light heart.

His Nominees Said …
• Bill is one of those rare individuals who excels at both research and teaching. … I have learned much about teaching from observing him in the classroom, from watching him interact with students outside of the classroom, and from conversations with him.
– Dudley Doane, director of Center for American English Language and Culture

• Bill overcame student inhibitions – or did not even allow them to arise – by putting on the “fool’s cap” himself. By coming in with a sense of humor and self-irony, he enabled everyone to laugh and relax. Once he had the audience “in his hand,” so to speak, he could induce – or seduce – them into speaking the foreign language almost without their awareness. … This approach of leading students along with humor and gentle irony proved to be highly rewarding and infinitely renewable. … A “born teacher” may be a cliché, but Prof. McDonald comes the closest to that accolade that I have ever seen.
– Beth Bjorklund, associate professor of German

Graduate Student Teaching Awards

University Teaching Fellows:
• Alev Erisir, Psychology
• Ellen V. Fuller, Studies in Women & Gender; Asian & Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures
• Nilanga Liyanage, Physics
• Christian W. McMillan, History
• Margarita Nafpaktitis, Slavic Languages and Literatures
• Hyekyun Rhee, Nursing
• Dorothy A. Schafer, Biology

All-University Outstanding Graduate
Teaching Assistant Awards
• Andrea C. Bobotis, English
• Michael J. Janik, Chemical Engineering
• Scott L. Matthews, History

Resident Teaching Award
• Dr. Carol Boersma, Department of Pediatric Medicine

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.

Seven Society Graduate Fellowship
for Superb Teaching
A $7,000 award recognizes a graduate teaching assistant who embodies the highest ideals of teaching at U.Va.
Jesse J. Sabatini, Chemistry

The 2005 Dr. Frank Finger Graduate Fellowship
A $5,000 award
Jonathan Readey, English

2005 Class of 1985 Graduate Fellowship for Creative Teaching
A $5,000 award
Gavin Thomas Garner, Mechanical Engineering



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