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Class acts

Faculty award winners reflect on teaching at Dartmouth

David Lagomarsino

John Carey

Theodore Levin

Barrett Rogers

Annabel Martín

Coleen Fox

Ann S. Clark

Ross Virginia

Dorothy Wallace

Charles Braun

Ten faculty members were recently honored for their teaching and scholarship. Seven awards were  presented by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences based on student recommendations and in consultation with the associate deans and others. In addition, the Arts and Sciences Graduate Division recognized three faculty members for their crucial mentoring of graduate students.

"It is a great pleasure to honor members of the faculty whose contributions to making Dartmouth an unparalleled center for learning have been consistently outstanding," said Carol Folt, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences. "The work of these extraordinarily dedicated individuals plays a transformative role in the lives of our students and in the life and vitality of the College."

When asked to reflect on their awards, all of the recipients agreed that their classroom work is enriched by their scholarship and that their student interactions rejuvenate their research.

David Lagomarsino, Associate Professor of History, swept the field with three separate awards and an appointment as the inaugural holder of the Charles Hansen Professorship, created to acknowledge teaching and the advancement of liberal education. (see "Seats of Learning," Dartmouth Life, June 2005)  "It would have been a surprise to receive any one of these," said Lagomarsino, "let alone three in one year. That was overwhelming." In addition to the Jerome Goldstein '54 Award for Distinguished Teaching, based on a vote by the senior class and presented at Class Day, the Student Assembly also named him Outstanding Faculty Adviser and gave him their Profiles in Excellence Teaching Award. Lagomarsino, who teaches courses on early modern Europe with particular emphasis on Spain, previously received the Goldstein Award in 1984 and, in 1980, the John M. Manley Huntington Award for Newly Tenured Faculty. 

There were three recipients of the Huntington Awards this year. Professor of Government John Carey and Professor and Chair of Music Theodore Levin each received Huntington Awards for Recently Promoted Faculty. "I came to Dartmouth two years ago," Carey said. "In that time the liveliness of the intellectual community has surpassed my highest expectations." Carey studies comparative and American politics, democratic institutions, elections and Latin American politics. Levin, an ethnomusicologist, noted that funding from the Huntington Award and from a Melville and Leila Straus 1960 Faculty Fellowship will enable him to link his research to teaching through upgrading the equipment he uses to document music in the field. "As students become more media-savvy and classroom technology more sophisticated, the bar is raised for instructors who produce their own material," he said. Barrett Rogers, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, received the Huntington Award for Newly-Tenured Faculty. Rogers, whose work involves theoretical and computational plasma physics, said "I can hardly imagine a better occupation. I love both teaching and research and getting an award for the things I love feels like a windfall."

Annabel Martín, Associate Professor of Spanish, received the Karen E. Wetterhahn Memorial Award for Distinguished or Creative Scholarship. "This award means a great deal to me since it was established in honor of the late Professor Wetterhahn, someone who broke new ground for women in academia," she said. Martín studies the links between cultural memory and mass culture, specifically in the context of contemporary Spain. "Being able to make students think about the role culture plays in portrayals of gender, cultural and national identity, drives the courses I teach," she noted.

The Dean of the Faculty Award for Visiting and Adjunct Faculty went to Coleen A. Fox, Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography. Fox teaches and conducts research on political and environmental geography, Southeast Asia and international river basins. "It is truly an honor to receive this award," she said. "The unique nature of the Dartmouth experience derives from a healthy balance of teaching and scholarship."

Ann S. Clark, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Ross Virginia,  Professor of Environmental Studies; and Dorothy Wallace, Professor of Mathematics, received Graduate Faculty Mentoring Awards. The award was created by the Graduate Student Council and the Office of Graduate Studies to recognize the critical role that faculty support plays in the careers of graduate students. "We are grateful to all of the faculty members who were nominated by their students," said Charles Barlowe, Dean of Graduate Studies and Professor of Biochemistry at Dartmouth Medical School. "The letters we received truly spoke of the wonderful mentoring occurring at Dartmouth."

Professor of Chemistry Charles Braun, who retires this year, received the Robert A. Fish 1918 Memorial Prize, which honors a lifetime of outstanding teaching and scholarship. Known for his pioneering work in photoconductivity and energy transfer in molecular materials, Braun came to Dartmouth as a research instructor in 1965. He was appointed assistant professor of Chemistry in 1966, promoted to associate professor in 1971 and to full professor in 1977. In a 1987 essay published in the Aegis, Braun wrote, "I am grateful to have what I consider to be the best job in the world." The Fish Award, according to Folt, "is one of the greatest honors we can confer. It is the capstone to a splendid career and reflects a lifetime of achievement and dedication to students."

"I was excited when the Dean told me that I was the 2005 recipient," said Braun. "All I can say is that 40 years of teaching Dartmouth students has been so exciting and beneficial to me that I can hardly believe it is coming to an end."

By LAUREL STAVIS

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Last Updated: 12/17/08