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Saluting Teaching Excellence


Three faculty members were named recipients of Hamilton’s highest awards for teaching in the 2019-20 academic year. Dean of Faculty Suzanne Keen announced the honors at the May faculty meeting.

Winslow Chair of Modern Science and Professor of Geosciences David Bailey was honored with the Samuel and Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures Junqing “Jessie” Jia received the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; and Associate Professor of Government Gbemende Johnson was honored with the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award.

In addition, Chair and Professor of Anthropology Chaise LaDousa was awarded the Christian A. Johnson Professorship for Excellence in Teaching at Class & Charter Day on May 11. Also, Keen announced that Hamilton’s Student Assembly named Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies Marcelo Carosi as the recipient of the Sidney Wertimer Award.  

Award descriptions and a list of previous recipients can be found on the Dean of Faculty site.

David Bailey
David Bailey

Dave Bailey’s research focuses on the history of igneous and tectonic activity in the northeastern United States and on the mineralogy of New York State. He is a recipient of National Science Foundation ILI and CCLI grants and is a research associate of the New York State Museum.

Dean Keen shared excerpts of nominations received by students that illustrate how Bailey has “changed the academic trajectories and lives of students.”

One nominator wrote, “On Accepted Students’ Day, I visited Hamilton with my mind already set on a career in tech theatre.” But then the student encountered Bailey “who opened my eyes to the wonder of a whole new world of discovery. The way he described minerals as if they were his own children was so endearing and compelling, I wanted to gain a glimpse of the amazing way Dave is able to view the world … The way he jumped in and began enthusiastically scrawling on the chalkboard and throwing around models to the students made me feel like we were in a war room preparing to strategize how to solve the world’s problems — it was everything I wanted in an education.”

Keen noted how Bailey trains students to use sophisticated scientific equipment to pursue their research questions, packs them off on field trips, and coaches the shy, the underprepared, and the colorblind (for as it transpires, the study of those beloved minerals involves appreciating their colors!). Bailey also oversees the XRF lab and delights elementary school children on field trips by triggering a man-made erupting volcano in the parking lot.

Junqing (Jessie) Jia
Junqing (Jessie) Jia Photo

Jessie Jia’s research focuses on understanding foreign language learning motivation and creating motivating experiences in the classroom and beyond to transform students into lifelong, self-motivated, and effective learners. Her current projects include designing gamified mobile application for foreign language learning.

One nominator noted that Jia “exemplifies passion for work and commitment to teaching.”

Keen said, “Indeed, this not-yet-tenured professor has helped an entire language program learn and adopt best practices in contemporary language pedagogy, for which faculty as well as students are deeply grateful.”

Gbemende Johnson
Gbemende Johnson

Gbemende Johnson’s interests include American institutions, judicial politics, and executive branch politics. She also studies race and politics and political theory. Her current research explores transparency litigation in federal courts and the way in which politicization affects the rulemaking process.

In describing Johnson, Keen said she is “An enthusiastic, compassionate and skilled educator, (who) supports student clubs and organizations, pitches in for the summer opportunity program, and shows up.”

Keen shared remarks from a student nominator who wrote, “I was really shy and struggled to participate and voice my opinions during class. … [Johnson] encouraged me to share my opinion and participate in class discussions, always stated the importance of marginalized voices, and [conveyed] how my experience mattered.”

 Chaise LaDousa
Chaise LaDousa

Chaise LaDousa, who also serves as director of education studies, has conducted field research for more than 25 years in North India studying languages and the role they play in education and India’s rapidly changing political economy.

Another project has focused on the importance of fun in expressive culture in institutions of higher education in the United States. LaDousa is author of Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky: Education, Language and Social Class in Contemporary India (2014) and Signs of Play: Faith, Race, and Sex in a College Town (2011).

In 2018, LaDousa was named co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, a position he will hold until 2021. Also in 2018, he edited Language and Schooling in India and Sri Lanka: Language Medium Matters, a special issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language.  In 2017, LaDousa and Ana Baldrige ’12 published an article in Ethos, the journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, based on Balrdrige’s senior project.

Marcelo Carosi
Marcelo Carosi 

Carosi, the recipient of Student Assembly’s Sidney Wertimer Award, was cited “for his inspired teaching, his involvement in student clubs, his brilliance, enthusiasm, and kindness.” The award was initiated in 2005 in memory of the late Sidney Wertimer, professor of economics emeritus. It honors a faculty member “who is recognized as a mentor and active participant within the Hamilton community.”

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