Hamilton College's highest awards for teaching were presented on May 5 to four faculty members from the philosophy, mathematics, sociology and anthropology departments. They were honored during the college's Class & Charter Day celebration, an annual convocation recognizing student and faculty excellence during the preceding academic year. Richard Werner, Jenny Irons, Michelle LeMasurier and Douglas Raybeck were the faculty honored.
Richard Werner, the John Stewart Kennedy Professor of Philosophy, was awarded the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Assistant Professor of Sociology Jenny Irons received the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; Assistant Professor of Mathematics Michelle LeMasurier was awarded The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award; and Professor of Anthropology Douglas Raybeck received the Sidney Wertimer Award.
Richard Werner, The Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Werner teaches courses in ethics, ancient philosophy and social philosophy. His recent research interests center on issues relating to pragmatic pacificism, justification in ethics, and the ethics of killing (such as, war, abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia). He is the author of articles on ethical realism, pragmatism, just war theory and medical ethics. A past Tennent Caledonian Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and Public Affairs, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, he has also been a recipient of a John Dewey Senior Research Fellowship. Werner received a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and a doctorate from the University of Rochester.
Werner is the seventh recipient of the 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.
In nominating Werner, a student commented, "He is effective and very smart. It's clear that he respects student insight and welcomes challenges to his own thoughts." Another called Werner "an amazing teacher," and said, "he can conduct a discussion and debate points in a manner that is captivating and engaging."
Jenny Irons, the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award
Jenny Irons completed work for her master's degree and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She is the author of an article about women in the Mississippi civil rights movement that appeared in Gender & Society. Her research interests include race, gender, sexuality, social movements and culture. Her current research focuses on the relationship between the state, social movements and race. Irons has presented numerous papers at the American Sociological Association annual meetings.
A student who nominated her for the award wrote "She is a shining example of Hamilton's commitment to oral presentation skills. She engages her students, allowing spirited debates to occur while always keeping the class on subjects."
The John R. Hatch 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.
Michelle LeMasurier, The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award
LeMasurier received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia and joined the Hamilton faculty in 2001. Her areas of interest include differential geometry, geometrical methods in differential equations and singularity theory.
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.
In nominating her for the award, a student wrote "Teachers who can make you learn difficult material and make you feel comfortable talking with them about just about anything are infinitely valuable, and Professor LeMasurier is one of these."
Douglas Raybeck, The Sidney Wertimer Award
A psychological anthropologist, Raybeck's research interests range from nonverbal communication and psycholinguistics to physiological correlates of behavioral dispositions. Most recently he has been working and writing in the area of deviance (behavior that is outside social norms).
He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell, has authored numerous papers and books, including "Deviance" in The Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, and is co-editor of Deviance: Anthropological Perspectives. Also an expert in future studies, Raybeck published a book, Looking Down the Road: A Systems Approach to Future Studies (2000). He studies Malaysian culture and published Mad Dogs, Englishmen and the Errant Anthropologist, a book summarizing his fieldwork in Kelantan, Malaysia. He has been a fellow at the National Institutes of Health, regularly speaks at meetings of the American Anthropological Association and is past-president of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research. He was named the recipient of The Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2003 and awarded the Christian A. Johnson "Excellence in Teaching" Professorship in 1993.
Hamilton's Student Assembly initiated the Wertimer Award in 2005 in memory of the late Sidney Wertimer, professor of economics, emeritus, who died in February, 2005. The award recognizes a faculty member "who is recognized as a mentor and active participant within the Hamilton community."