Hamilton College's highest awards for teaching were presented today to two professors of archaeology, an assistant professor of theatre and dance, and an assistant professor of psychology.
Charlotte Beck and Tom Jones, the Leonard C. Ferguson Professors of Archaeology, won "The Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching;" Mark Cryer, assistant professor of theatre and dance, was named the recipient of "The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award;" and Julie Dunsmore, assistant professor of psychology, received "The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award." The presentations took place today at Hamilton's Class and Charter Day celebration, an annual convocation recognizing student and faculty excellence during the preceding academic year.
Charlotte Beck and G. Tom Jones
The Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Charlotte Beck and Tom Jones are the third recipients of this award, which is given annually to a senior, tenured faculty member. It is presented on the basis of superior teaching and for having a significant and positive impact on students. The fund was established by Helen Lang, the mother of Michael C. Lang, class of 1967.
Beck received her Ph.D. in 1984 from the University of Washington in Seattle. Since coming to Hamilton in 1985 her work has focused on the earliest human occupation of the Great Basin (called Paleoindian). She has spent the past 16 summers in eastern and central Nevada, together with her husband Tom Jones, teaching an archaeological field school and involving her undergraduates in field and lab research. She has published extensively, in such journals as American Antiquity, The Journal of World Prehistory, and Quaternary Research. In addition she has edited two books with G. Tom Jones, Dating in Surface and Exposed Contexts (1994) and most recently, Models for the Millennium: Great Basin Anthropology Today (1999), which presents a set of papers on all aspects of current anthropological and archaeological research in the Great Basin.
G. Tom Jones has conducted fieldwork in Nevada's Great Basin for the past 16 summers, in addition to time spent studying the prehistorical archaeological record of San Juan Island, Washington. Jones earned his Ph.D. and master's from the University of Washington, and joined the Hamilton faculty in 1985. Jones has written extensively for the Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of World Prehistory, Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, and Current Research in the Pleistocene. His research interests include archaeological theory and method, evolutionary theory and hunter-gatherer adaptations to arid environments.
A student who nominated Beck and Jones for the award wrote, "Due to their individual strengths, when Professors Beck and Jones teach together, their interplay creates a particularly challenging, interesting and positive learning environment. Sometimes it feels like an educational force& The bottom line is that Professors Beck and Jones like their students and they like teaching."
Mark Cryer, Theatre and Dance
The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award
Mark Cryer earned a master of fine arts in acting from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, Glasgow, Scotland. He studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Art, London, where he acted in various plays including Othello, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Macbeth. After completing military service with the U.S. Air Force, he worked with the Science Museum of Minnesota's resident acting company, and later with the Children's Theatre Company. He has also acted with the Guthrie Theatre, where he taught acting, and later continued with Steppingstone Theater and Child's Play Theatre. Cryer was tour coordinator at Penumbra Theatre, and has appeared in the feature films Mighty Ducks 2, It Could Happen to You, and The Peace Maker.
In nominating Cryer for the award, a student wrote, "He is a brilliant example of a man whose benevolence shines bright enough to capture his students, his peers and anyone else touching foot upon Hamilton ground& He uses his experiences to as well as a professional and warm social personality to develop a class designed not only to improve one's acting, but one's self-esteem, confidence and friendships with fellow students and teachers."
The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1998 by Alfrederic S. Hatch, a 1958 Hamilton graduate, in memory of his father, who graduated from Hamilton in 1925. It supports an annual prize for a tenure-track faculty member who has been employed by the college for fewer than five years, and who has demonstrated superior teaching, high-quality scholarly research and a significant and positive impact on students.
Julie Dunsmore, Psychology
The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award
The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1988 to recognize one Hamilton faculty member each year who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to teaching.
Dunsmore earned a Ph.D. in developmental psychology and a master's in clinical psychology from Duke University, and a bachelor's from Emory University. She joined the Hamilton College faculty in 1996. Dunsmore is a developmental psychologist who is primarily interested in children's social and emotional development. In particular, she studies how children's self-schema development is influenced by parental emotional expression. She is also interested in children's affective social competence, and in their development of gendered selves. Her research has been published in Psychiatric Annals, Social Development, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and Early Education and Development.
A student who nominated Dunsmore for the teaching award said, "Professor Dunsmore is a superb teacher both in the classroom and in the lab& Largely because of the research work I have done with Professor Dunsmore, I have decided to pursue a career in psychological research and the experience that she has provided for me was invaluable when I applied to graduate school."
Hamilton College is a highly selective residential college offering its 1,650 students a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Students are challenged to think, write and speak critically, creatively and analytically, so that upon graduation they may distinguish themselves in both their professions and their communities.