Hamilton’s highest awards for teaching were presented on May 6 to four faculty members. Professor of Economics Elizabeth Jensen received the Christian A. Johnson Professorship; Professor of English and Creative Writing Doran Larson was awarded the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Associate Professor of Women’s Studies Anne Lacsamana received the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award; and Assistant Professor of Philosophy Russell Marcus was awarded the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award.
Frank Anechiarico '71, the Maynard-Knox Professor of Government and Law, was presented with the Sidney Wertimer Award by the Student Assembly.
All were honored during the College’s Class & Charter Day celebration, an annual convocation recognizing student and faculty excellence during the preceding academic year.
Jensen is co-author of Industrial Organization: Theory and Practice, a leading industrial organization textbook developed in part from her experiences teaching students at Hamilton. Her recent work investigates the predictors of academic success in college, student course choice, and the determinants of students’ interest in economics.
With Associate Professor of Economics Steve Wu, Jensen published an article, “Early Decision and College Performance,” in the August 2010 issue of the Economics of Education Review. Jensen and Professor of Economics Ann Owen wrote an article titled “Social Learning and Course Choice” that was published in International Review of Economics Education (IREE) in 2008.
Jensen was the recipient of Hamilton’s Class of 1962 Outstanding Teaching award, given every five years to an outstanding tenured faculty member in recognition of distinguished teaching. She earned her bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. from M.I.T. and joined the Hamilton College faculty in 1983.
A student who nominated Jensen for the award wrote, “She has an unparalleled way of explaining material in clear and comprehensive manner. This is obviously rooted in her incredible understanding of the subject matter, but is made possible by her passion for teaching.” Another noted, “Professor Jensen exemplifies the qualities I value in a professor: passion for the material, excellent organization and fairness in all aspects of a course.”
A third student commented, “I wasn’t sure -- given her research experiences and tenured status -- how enthusiastic she would be about teaching an intro. course to many non-majors. But her enthusiasm for the material was infectious.”
The Christian A. Johnson Professorship for Excellence in Teaching was created in 1990 through the generosity of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and the extended Hamilton community. This endowed chair which recognizes exceptional commitment and interest in undergraduate education represents one of the College's most prestigious honors.
Doran Larson, Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Doran Larson teaches courses in prison writing, the history of the novel, 20th-century American literature, and creative writing. Since November of 2006, he has taught a creative writing course inside a maximum-security state prison. Larson published an essay “Writing Behind the Wall” in The Chronicle of Higher Education (August, 2010) detailing his experiences in teaching at the prison and the related class he teaches at Hamilton, “20th Century American Prison Writing.”
Larson's essays on prison writing and prison issues have been published or are forthcoming in College Literature, Radical Teacher and English Language Notes. He is the author of two novels, The Big Deal (1985), and Marginalia ( 1997). Larson’s stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Boulevard, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Alaska Quarterly Review and Best American Short Stories. The Iowa Review published his novella, Syzygy, in 1998. He has also published travel writing, magazine features and paid op-eds.
Most recently Larson published a short story, “What You Don’t Know,” in the winter issue of Short Story; his essay “Politics by Other Means: Legal Poetics, Prison Narrative, was published in the “Juris-Dictions” issue of the University of Colorado-Boulder’s English Language Notes (2011); and his essay “Toward a Prison Poetics” appeared in the summer 2010 edition of College Literature.
A student nominator wrote, “Professor Larson has done incredible research and writing on mass incarceration in this country, but he has not done this work from the ivory tower of academia. The time and energy he puts into his creative writing course at Attica State Prison is nothing short of astounding. His dedication is inspiring.” Another student noted “(Larson) respects his students and their intellect and is always ready to learn from them.”
Speaking of the Prison Writing course, another student wrote “Professor Larson gave us something qualitatively different, something academically astounding and unlike any academic experience we’ve ever had.”
Larson is the 11th recipient of the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 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.
Anne Lacsamana joined the Hamilton faculty in 2005. Specializing in global feminist theory, her research focuses on U.S.-Philippine relations, with particular attention to the Philippine women’s movement. For the 2008-2009 academic year, Lacsamana was awarded an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to complete work on her manuscript Revolutionizing Feminism: The Philippine Women’s Movement in the Age of Terror. She is the co-editor of Women and Globalization (Humanity Press, 2004) and has published articles and book reviews in journals such as Nature, Society and Thought, Socialist Review, Critical Asian Studies and Amerasia.
In April 2011 Lacsamana published her essay “Empire on Trial: The Subic Rape Case and the Struggle for Philippine Women’s Liberation” in a special issue (Invisible Battlegrounds: Feminist Resistance in the Global Age of War and Imperialism) of Works and Days. She received her Ph.D. in American culture studies from Bowling Green State University.
A student who nominated Lacsamana wrote, “After every class I have always left more inspired, engaged and provoked to change the way our world currently is." A second student said, “She truly epitomizes a Hamilton professor who genuinely cares about her students and their overall learning experience.” Another wrote, “To me she embodies the role that a professor should play – a patient and engaged adult resource who wants to cultivate her students’ unique talents while also pushing them to be the ultimate critical thinkers.”
The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1988 by members of the class on the occasion of their 25th reunion to recognize one Hamilton faculty member each year who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to and skill in teaching.
Russell Marcus teaches logic and modern philosophy, as well as philosophy of language and philosophy of mathematics, his main area of research.
Recently he published two articles in the spring 2010 issue of the American Philosophical Association’s Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy and published an article on the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP). In "The Indispensability Argument in the Philosophy of Mathematics," Russell discusses the problem of justifying the mathematical beliefs that motivate the indispensability argument. He also published a book review in The APA Newsletters (Fall 2010). Marcus reviewed The Ontological Argument from Descartes to Hegel, by Kevin J. Harrelson (Amherst NY: Humanity Books, 2009).
In addition to working on our knowledge of mathematics and Descartes’ epistemology, Marcus has published articles on philosophical pedagogy. He also spends some time thinking about, and teaching a course on, the role of intuitions in philosophy. He received a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College and earned a Ph.D. from City University of New York.
A student who nominated Marcus wrote, “Professor Marcus is an inspiring man whose passion for teaching is undeniable. He is helpful, engaging and challenges students to dig deeper into philosophy.” Another wrote “Professor Marcus’ dedication, love of teaching and enthusiasm make him an exceptional educator. A third added, “ I truly appreciate why I went to a small liberal arts college – to have interactions with people like Professor Marcus who so obviously embody academic passion.”
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.
Frank Anechiarico '71, The Sidney Wertimer Award
Frank Anechiarico '71 studies constitutional law and public administration. He is the co-author (with Eugene Lewis) of Urban America: Politics and Policy (2nd ed., 1983) and the author of Suing the Philadelphia Police: The Case for an Institutional Approach, and Remembering Corruption: The Elusive Lessons of Scandal in New York City.
Anechiarico served as a research fellow of the Center for Research on Crime and Justice at New York University Law School and at NYU Law School. Anechiarico and James Jacobs' book, The Pursuit of Absolute Integrity: How Corruption Control Makes Government Ineffective, was published by University of Chicago Press in 1996.
He has also published in the Public Administration Review and Administration and Society. Anechiarico's latest project is a book on the relationship between ethics and the quality of performance in public management.
The Sidney Wertimer Award is presented by the Student Asssembly to the member of the faculty who exhibits enthusiasm and passion for teaching, support of students' extracurricular endeavors and devotion to Hamilton College. The award was established in memory of Professor of Economics Sidney Wertimer.