Hamilton College's highest awards for teaching were presented on Friday to three faculty members from the philosophy and government departments. They were honored during the College's Class & Charter Day celebration on May 7, an annual convocation recognizing student and faculty excellence.
Professor of Philosophy Robert Simon was awarded the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Assistant Professor of Philosophy Marianne Janack received the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; and Assistant Professor of Government Rob Martin was awarded The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Robert Simon, the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Simon, who joined the Hamilton faculty in 1968, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. A past Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, he has also served as president of the Philosophic Society for the Study of Sport. He was the beloved coach of the men's varsity golf team from 1986-2000 and is the author of Fair Play (Westview Press) on sports and social values. Simon is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and sits on the editorial board for the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport.
Simon is the fifth recipient of the Lang Prize, 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 Simon for the award, a student wrote, "He played a major role in my progress as a writer as well as a critical reader and thinker. I rarely had a class that did not truly touch me, that did not make me stop and think about my own life's actions and path …. Students were challenged to not just know what they were reading and writing about, but to adopt a belief, live it, defend it and have a passion about it."
Marianne Janack, The John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award
Janack received her Ph.D. from Syracuse University. Before coming to Hamilton in 2001, she was a fellow at the Pembroke Center at Brown University. She teaches classes in philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, feminist philosophy, and logic. Her most recent articles include "Dilemmas of Objectivity" (Social Epistemology) and "Changing the Subject of Epistemology and Psychology: William James' Psychology without borders" (Metaphilosophy). She is presently writing a book on experience and rationality and a volume on Richard Rorty for the Penn State University Press series "Re-reading the Canon."
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.
In nominating Janack for the award a student wrote, "She represents the standard of teaching and dedication to students that Hamilton College strives to obtain …. Her contagious enthusiasm for philosophy makes learning a pleasure, and she makes you want to work hard for her as well as for yourself."
Robert Martin, The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award
Martin, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, came to Hamilton in 1997. He teaches political theory and his interests include American political thought, democratic theory, early modern political thought, philosophy of social science and constitutional law. His recent book, The Free and Open Press: The Founding of American Democratic Press Liberty, was published by NYU Press. Martin's work has appeared in History of Political Thought and Political Research Quarterly. Recently, he has written book reviews that appeared in the American Political Science Review and The Review of Politics. Researching early American theories of free speech, Martin was a summer fellow at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., and he was a presenter at the Alexander Hamilton Conference at the College in 2003.
The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1988 to recognize each year one Hamilton faculty member who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to teaching. In nominating him for the award, a student wrote, "His classes are always very engaging, and he forces all of his students to think critically about both the issue at hand and their own views and thoughts."