Hamilton College's highest awards for teaching were presented on Friday to faculty members from the philosophy, physics, economics, sociology and Spanish departments.
Sidney Wertimer Professor of Sociology Daniel Chambliss was awarded "The Christian A. Johnson Professorship for Excellence in Teaching"; Professor of Economics Elizabeth Jensen received "The Class of 1962 Outstanding Teaching Award"; Gordon Jones, assistant professor of physics, was named the recipient of "The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award"; Kirk Pillow, assistant professor of philosophy, received "The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award"; and Susan Sanchez-Casal, associate professor of Spanish and associate professor of women's studies, won "The Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching." 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.
Daniel Chambliss, Sociology
The Christian A. Johnson Professorship for Excellence in Teaching
This award recognizes a senior professor who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and interest in undergraduate education, and is one of the College's most prestigious honors. The recipient is appointed to this endowed chair for three years and is provided an annual stipend in support of teaching and professional development activities.
A member of the Hamilton faculty since 1981, Chambliss earned a master's and Ph.D. from Yale University. His research interests are formal organizations, social psychology and ethical problems in healthcare as they relate to nursing. Chambliss' 1996 book, Beyond Caring: Hospitals, Nurses and the Social Organization of Ethics, won the Eliot Freidson Prize in 1998 for the best book in the preceding two years in medical sociology from the American Sociological Association. He is also the winner of the ASA's Theory Prize for his work on organizational excellence. Chambliss also wrote Champions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers, which was named the 1991 Book of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
He recently completed a four-day tour as the Harry Lyman Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; his duties included delivering a series of public lectures on topics including organizational performance, ethics in health care, and sociological careers; and meeting with a variety of faculty and student groups. Chambliss is also the project director of the Mellon Foundation Assessment Project at Hamilton College, which is assessing students' learning in a liberal arts setting over a three-year period.
In nominating Chambliss for the award, a student described him as "an exemplary scholar and teacher that eloquently brings charisma and acumen to the classroom, making for a wonderful educational experience."
Elizabeth J. Jensen
The Class of 1962 Outstanding Teaching Award
This award was established in 1987 by members of the class of 1962 on the occasion of their 25th reunion. This is awarded every five years to an outstanding tenured faculty member in recognition of distinguished teaching.
Jensen earned her bachelor's from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. from M.I.T., and joined the Hamilton College faculty in 1983. She is co-author of Industrial Organization: Theory and Practice, a textbook developed in part from experiences teaching students at Hamilton College. Jensen is co-author of "Why Are Women Such Reluctant Economists? Evidence from Liberal Arts Colleges," which was presented at the American Economic Association Annual Meeting and was later published in American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (May 2000). Her recent work investigates the determinants of students' interest in economics. Jensen teaches courses in industrial organization, American economic history, and microeconomic theory.
In nominating Jensen for the award, a student wrote that she "thoroughly examines the topic and encourages students to scrutinize the ideas and theories presented in the text. In her industrial organization class, she links topics to real world situations, a connection that is critically important if the aim of study is to prepare students for future interaction within the real world." Another nominator referred to, "Her legendary availability and accessibility to students and her continued willingness to innovate in and experiment with teaching methods."
Gordon L. Jones, Physics
The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award
Gordon Jones earned his master's degree and doctorate in nuclear physics from Princeton University and now concentrates his research on making polarized gas and using neutrons to examine magnetic materials and the decay of neutrons. Among the several useful implications of his research, Jones' studies contribute to the understanding of time reversal symmetry and weak interactions in nuclei, as well as lung imagining in the medical field.
Among his published papers are "Neutron Polarizers Based on Polarized He" in NIMA and "New Limit On the D Coefficient in Polarized Neutron Decay" in the Physics Review Council. Prior to coming to Hamilton in 1999, Jones worked as a National Research Council post-doctoral research fellow for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and a visiting research scientist at Indiana University. At Hamilton he has received a department of education grant worth $86,000, in collaboration with Indiana University and NIST, and two undergraduate research grants.
In nominating Jones for the award, a student wrote, "When you learn physics with Professor Jones, physics becomes not only cool but interesting and accessible as well…He has shown me what truly great teaching is and has forever changed my view of the physical universe."
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.
Kirk Pillow, Philosophy
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.
Pillow teaches courses on Kant, philosophy of art, and philosophy and literature. His interests focus on contemporary debates about the aesthetic dimension of human understanding and interpretation. Pillow is the author of Sublime Understanding: Aesthetic Reflection in Kant and Hegel (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), as well as articles on Kant's views on metaphor and Hegel's theory of imagination which have appeared in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism and the Owl of Minerva.
Pillow came to Hamilton in 1996 as an adjunct instructor, and served as visiting assistant professor before being named assistant professor in the philosophy department in 2000. He earned a Ph.D. and master's degree from Northwestern University. His recent research concerns forgery in the arts.
A student who nominated Pillow for the award said, "His teaching style incorporates pathways to success for every student that is willing to make the effort to understand the key concepts of philosophy. …he challenges and enlightens his students in the classroom…and is also involved in important aspects of Hamilton's community outside the classroom."
Susan Sanchez-Casal, Romance Languages and Women's Studies
The Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Sanchez-Casal is the fourth recipient 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.
Sanchez-Casal, who joined the Hamilton faculty in 1992, earned a Ph.D. and master's from the University of California, Riverside. Her teaching and research in Latin American, U.S. Latino and women's studies is framed by literary and politico-historical analysis, feminist theory and anti-racist pedagogies. Her published essays include "Teaching in the Borderlands: Latino Studies and the Multicultural Paradigm," "I Am (Not) Like You: Ideologies of Selfhood in I, Rigoberta Menchu…," "Testimony as Writing: Criticism, Representation, Reception ," and "In a Neighborhood of Another Color: Latino/a Struggles for Home." She is the co-editor, with Amie Macdonald, of the critical anthology, Feminist Pedagogies for the 21st Century: Teaching About Power and Difference (forthcoming, Palgrave, St. Martin's Press)
A student who nominated Sanchez-Casal for the award wrote, "Casal, through her passionate and captivating lectures, continuously inspires students towards social change and changes their perspectives on the world and our society."