Hamilton College’s highest awards for teaching were presented to four faculty members by Interim Dean of Faculty Margaret Gentry during the May 1 faculty meeting.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Katheryn Doran was awarded the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Assistant Professor of Government Kira Jumet was honored with the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; Assistant Professor of Biology Andrea Townsend received the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award; and Professor of Physical Education and Head Coach of Women’s Soccer Colette Gilligan was awarded the Jerome Gottlieb ’64 Fellowship for Exemplary Coaching.
Award descriptions and a list of previous recipients can be found on the Dean of Faculty site.
In addition, Student Assembly President Nadav Konforty ’20 presented the Sidney Wertimer Award to Professor of Geosciences Cindy Domack.
Lang Prize recipient Katheryn Doran studies and teaches courses on American philosophy, contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, environmental ethics, and philosophy and film.
A student who nominated her wrote, “She gets on your case in a very parent-like way so that although she might seem very confrontational, you know she is just training you to become a better student and thinker.”
Another student said she “has taught one of -- perhaps the most --perspective-changing class I have taken at Hamilton. Certainly the topic is a part of it, but her teaching has made the lessons unforgettable, lessons that keep me up at night, that I talk to others about, that I read books on just this past spring break because it travels in my thoughts well beyond classroom walls.”
Gentry called the students’ words “A wonderful tribute to her impact on the students she teaches.”
Hatch Award winner Kira Jumet’s research focuses on protest mobilization leading up to and during the 2011 and 2013 Egyptian uprisings, including the relationship between emotions and protest participation. Jumet recently authored Contesting the Repressive State: Why Ordinary Egyptians Protested During the Arab Spring, published by Oxford University Press. This semester she directed Hamilton's Program in Washington, D.C.
“Kira is described by students as dynamic, engaging, accessible, knowledgeable and connected in her field,” said Gentry. She said students appreciate the variety of formats in Jumet’s classes that engage them in active learning such as problem-solving, mock negotiations, conducting interviews with the staff at the state department, and drafting policy proposals.
One student nominator wrote, “Meetings with Kira … make one thing clear: while she will not hold your hand, she will ceaselessly encourage you to take the reins of your assignments and critically think about how to approach them. I have walked away many times from her office with an increased sense of vigor and a greater faith in my ability to get the work expected of me done.”
Class of ’63 Awardee Andrea Townsend’s research focuses on understanding how land-use changes affect the behavior, health, and populations of wild birds. In recent work, Townsend examined how urbanization promotes transmission of West Nile virus and food-borne pathogens in crows.
Gentry said “Students describe (Townsend) as able to present large amounts of information in a clear manner; as passionate about her field; as approachable, accessible, engaging and dedicated; and as someone who teaches students how to think for themselves, and discover uncharted territory in the field of ecology.’”
A student nominator wrote, “It is a rare experience to be a part of a 9 a.m. class that is always filled with students eager to participate and engage with the material. It’s her own passion for the subject, openness and patience for any questions, and humor when teaching that creates an atmosphere conducive to learning.
“She genuinely cares about her students and their success and provides her time and resources to ensure that they have all they need to grow and thrive. Students ...respect her immensely.”
Gottlieb Fellowship recipient Colette Gilligan is called “an outstanding colleague, mentor, and friend and a consistent source of inspiration to her teams and colleagues” by her department, said Gentry.
Gilligan has a stellar coaching record, exemplary teaching, and serves the department as senior athlete Wall of Fame coordinator, has served on countless campus and departmental committees and was the chief driver behind the Emerson Lobby renovation. Gentry said, “An outspoken champion of equity and fairness, she can always be counted on to speak her mind.”
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.”
In presenting the award, SA President Konforty quoted students’ comments. “She is an awesome professor because she is so passionate about what she’s teaching and this passion inspires her students to become engaged in geology. Her courses are engaging and include lots of hands-on lab exercises that are really helpful for us more fidgety learners.
“She is a light on this campus and is perhaps one of the most passionate and bright people I have ever met,” a student wrote. “A cheeky phrase to describe her would be that ‘she rocks,’ Konforty concluded.