Teaching Awards Presented to Balkan, Kuharic, Murtaugh and Thompson

Rebecca Murtaugh, Erol Balkan and Katherine Kuharic.
Rebecca Murtaugh, Erol Balkan and Katherine Kuharic.

Hamilton College's highest awards for teaching were presented on May 8 to four faculty members. Professor of Economics Erol Balkan was awarded the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Katherine Kuharic, the Kevin W. Kennedy Associate Professor of Art, received the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award; Assistant Professor of Art Rebecca Murtaugh was honored with the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; and Dave Thompson, director of the Fitness and Dance Center and Wellness Programs and professor of physical education, was awarded the Jerome Gottlieb '64 Fellowship for Exemplary Coaching.

In addition, Professor of Anthropology Bonnie Urciuoli received the Sidney Wertimer Award from Hamilton's Student Assembly. All were honored during the College's Class & Charter Day celebration, an annual convocation recognizing student and faculty excellence during the preceding academic year.

Erol BalkanErol Balkan, the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Erol Balkan earned a Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton and joined the Hamilton faculty in 1987. His current research focuses on the formation of middle classes through education and financial liberalization in developing countries. This spring semester he served as resident faculty director for the Hamilton program in New York City, "Global Financial Networks." Balkan also co-authored, with Henry Rutz, the book Reproducing Class: Education, Neoliberalism, and the Rise of the New Middle Class in Istanbul, published in January by Berghahn Books.

Balkan has received several awards and grants for his work, including the International Development Research Center Grant in 1996 to study the effects of short term capital flows on the Turkish economy. He teaches economic development and international finance at Hamilton and has lectured as a visiting professor at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and most recently at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. Balkan received the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award in 1991.

In nominating Balkan for the Lang Prize, a student wrote "His desire to better the lives of his students by broadening their horizons culturally, academically and socially is unparalleled." Another participant in this semester's New York Program wrote, "he puts in a lot of effort into reaching out to alumni and trying to create these great opportunities for us to explore city life." Another noted, "I think he has made a life-time commitment to his teaching, research and to his students."

Balkan is the ninth recipient of the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 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.

Katherine KuharicKatherine Kuharic, The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award
Katherine Kuharic is the first Kevin Kennedy Associate Professor of Art at Hamilton. She completed her BFA in painting and drawing at Carnegie Mellon University, then studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been exhibited in numerous group shows in the U.S, and abroad. Kuharic has had 14 solo exhibitions, including seven at P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York, which represents her work. Currently, her work is on display at McKenzie Fine Art, NY.

Previously she was associate professor and coordinator of the painting program at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Kuharic has also held positions at the School of Visual Arts, the New School, Parsons and the Yale University School of Art.

A student who nominated her for the award wrote "She has gone above and beyond in ensuring that art seniors have resources and inspiration. I largely credit a reinvigoration of the art department at Hamilton to her organization, effort and enthusiasm." Added another, "She spearheaded a trip for art majors to New York City that was astounding in its depth and quality. I will remember it as one of the most unique educational experiences I've had at Hamilton."

The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award was established in 1988 by members of the class on the occasion of their 25th reunion to recognize one Hamilton faculty member each year who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to and skill in teaching.

Rebecca MurtaughRebecca Murtaugh, The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award
Rebecca Murtaugh came to Hamilton in 2004 and her areas of specialization are sculpture, ceramics and installation art. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor's degree from the Pennsylvania State University. Her work has been exhibited nationally in solo and group exhibitions in New York City, Philadelphia, the District of Columbia, Cleveland, Baltimore, Richmond and San Francisco. Murtaugh's work has been published in The New York Times, Artworld Digest and Shamenet Magazine.

A student who nominated Murtaugh wrote, "She brings an enormous amount of contagious energy to every class… She goes out of her way to be sure her students have the knowledge and skills they need to not only meet but also exceed requirements for her assignments." A student said, "she fosters an environment of curiosity-driven learning."

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.

Dave Thompson
Dave Thompson (right) shakes hands with Acting Dean of Faculty Patrick Reynolds

Dave Thompson, the Jerome Gottlieb '64 Fellowship for Exemplary Coaching 
Dave Thompson first came to Hamilton in 1983 as a visiting instructor of physical education. He earned a bachelor's degree from Colgate University and a master's degree from Syracuse University. At Hamilton he served as head coach of men's and women's swimming from 1983-2002. Thompson was also director of athletics and chair of the department of physical education for four years. He is currently a professor of physical education and director of the Charlean and Wayland Blood Fitness and Dance Center, director of Campus Wellness, and directs intramurals and club sports. Thompson has received numerous coaching honors and led several swimming and diving teams to New York State Women's Collegiate Athletic Association and Upper New York State Collegiate Swimming Association championships and to competing in NCAA men's and women's swimming championship meets.

The Jerome Gottlieb '64 Fellowship for Exemplary Coaching was established by Thomas J. Schwarz '66. It is awarded to a member of the coaching staff who exhibits the characteristics exemplified by Jerry Gottlieb - that of a dedicated teacher, exceptional mentor and role model.

Bonnie UrciuoliBonnie Urciuoli, The Sidney Wertimer Award
Bonnie Urciuoli came to Hamilton in 1988. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her areas of interest are linguistic and cultural anthropology, specializing in race, class, and language ideology in U.S. culture. Her book, Exposing Prejudice: Puerto Rican Experiences of Language, Race, and Class, was published in 1996; it was awarded the 1997 Gustavus Myers Center Award for the study of human rights in North America. She is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the Linguistic Society of American, the American Ethnological Society, and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology.

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."


Class & Charter Day 2009


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