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Eight U.Va. Faculty Receive Harrison Teaching Awards

Dec. 2, 1999 -- Thanks to a University of Virginia alumnus who believes in rewarding exceptional teaching and academic leadership, eight U.Va. professors have been awarded annual Harrison Fund Awards. Four of the award winners each will receive a stipend of $10,000, while the remaining four professors each will receive $5,000 for their innovative team-teaching venture.

The awards, begun three years ago, are a result of the generosity of David A. Harrison III of Hopewell, a retired investment banker and a long-time benefactor of the U.Va. library, the schools of medicine and law, and the departments of archaeology and athletics.

In announcing the 1999 Harrison Awards, President John T. Casteen III noted the importance of a program that provides tangible rewards for exemplary teaching.

"David Harrison asked us to select three of the University's very best teachers," Casteen said. "But the field of nominations had such depth that we could not stop there. Thanks to Mr. Harrison’s generosity, we were able to extend the awards this year to additional well-deserved faculty. We have singled out eight professors whose work symbolizes the commitment to teaching that distinguishes U.Va. from its peers."

The awards recognize a wide range of contributions to academic life, and extend across disciplines and schools.

Recipients include:

  • Heather Warren -- the Harrison Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Warren is an assistant professor in Religious Studies.
  • Daniel Bluestone, Robin Dripps, Reuben Rainey, and Daphne Spain -- Harrison Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. The four share the award for an innovative team-taught course titled, "Quest for Order," in the School of Architecture. Bluestone is a professor of architectural history, Dripps is a professor of architecture, Rainey is a professor of landscape architecture, and Spain is a professor of urban and environmental planning.
  • Robert Bruner -- Harrison Award for Overall Teaching Excellence. Bruner is a professor in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.
  • Robert D. Abbot -- Harrison Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in the Health System. Abbot is a professor of biostatistics and professor of statistics in the Departments of Health Evaluation Sciences and Statistics in the School of Medicine.
  • Brian Wispelwey, M.D. -- Harrison Award for Overall Teaching Excellence in the Health System. Wispelwey is a professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine.

The Harrison Awards are given to instructional faculty who, in the previous academic year, demonstrated extraordinary excellence, creativity, and commitment in the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge in the classroom. The introduction of research and scholarship into the learning environment also were considered in reviewing candidates.

Nominations were made by University vice presidents to President Casteen. They reflected the opinions of the nominees’ peers, as well as their students. Together they painted pictures of truly gifted teachers, whose work in the classroom has the ability to transform the lives of their students.

In 1996, Harrison funded one-time bonuses to dozens of U.Va. faculty as a precursor to the Board of Visitors' comprehensive plan to make faculty salaries competitive in the national labor market. The following year the Harrison Awards were given to five teaching faculty and five administrative faculty members whose work helped sustain the University’s national stature. Last year, the awards were given to a dozen faculty members for outstanding mentoring of University students.

For more information on the awards or the recipients, contact Carol Wood, director of News Services, (804) 924-6189.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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