Teaching Awards Presented to Buchman, Dykstra, Rosenstein, Vasantkumar and Kloidt
Hamilton’s highest awards for teaching were presented on May 4 to five faculty members at the Class & Charter Day ceremony.
Associate Professor of Chemistry Ian Rosenstein was awarded the Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching; Luce Junior Professor of Asian Studies and Anthropology Christopher Vasantkumar received the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award; Assistant Professor of Mathematics Andrew Dykstra was awarded the John R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Award; Associate Professor of Music Heather Buchman received the Class of 1962 Outstanding Teaching Award; and Patty Kloidt, women’s lacrosse head coach, was awarded the Jerome Gottlieb '64 Fellowship for Exemplary Coaching.
Victoria Allen, lecturer in education studies, was presented with the Sidney Wertimer Award by the 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.
Ian Rosenstein, The Samuel & Helen Lang Prize for Excellence in Teaching
Ian Rosenstein is the 12th 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.
Two themes are central to current research projects in Rosenstein’s lab: addition reactions of carbon centered radicals and the chemistry of small ring systems. Of particular interest is the chemistry of the cyclopropylcarbinyl radical.
Rosenstein holds a Ph.D. from Duke University. He has published articles in Tetrahedron Letters, Synthetic Communications and the Journal of Chemical Education and has received grants from several agencies such as the American Chemical Society/ Petroleum Research Fund and the National Science Foundation. Rosenstein is a member of the American Chemical Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon, the Council on Undergraduate Research, and Sigma Xi.
A student who nominated him for the award wrote, “Professor Rosenstein is a great teacher because he goes beyond the necessary expectations as a professor to help students and make sure that they understand the material … he creates an engaging atmosphere that challenges students to think at a very advanced levels and improve their skills as chemists often about topics that are at a graduate level.”
Another said, “Professor Rosenstein exemplifies everything that a Hamilton professor stands for. He is engaging during lecture, accessible to all his students, an excellent mentor both in and out of the classroom, and an inspiring and ingenious research advisor.
“(His) incredible patience and enthusiasm for chemistry have inspired my own love for the subject. When I drove up the hill for the first time four years ago, I expected that my college experience would be shaped by triumphs on the lacrosse field and long-lasting friendships. While my experiences playing lacrosse and the great friends that I have made during my four years at Hamilton have certainly made a profound impact on my college experience, at Hamilton I discovered an entirely new love that has given me confidence, enthusiasm, and direction in a way that I never thought possible. For me the discovery and exploration of the discipline of chemistry has been the most defining experience of my college career. I attribute my love of chemistry … to the patient guidance and careful instruction of Professor Rosenstein.”
Christopher Vasantkumar, The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award
Christopher Vasantkumar, Luce Junior Professor of Asian Studies and Anthropology, received The Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award. It 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.
Vasantkumar joined the Hamilton faculty in 2006. He holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton and a master's and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2002, he has conducted ethnographic field research in multiethnic communities in northwest China as well as among the Tibetan populations of Himachal Pradesh, India. His research interests center on the place of Tibetans and other ethnic minorities in national and trans-national envisionings of China and Chineseness as well as on the intersection between Chinese discourses of minzu (“ethnicity”) and global imaginings of race, nation and indigeneity.
This year he authored a chapter in Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation, and Identity of China's Majority, (the University of California Press). Vasantkumar's chapter, “Han at Minzu’s Edges: What Critical Han Studies Can Learn from China’s ‘Little Tibet,’” compares recent social scientific work on whiteness in minority majority areas in the U.S. with his own ethnographic research into the lives of Han Chinese in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, Northwest China.
A student who nominated him wrote, “His encouragement and advice is not always easy but in the end the student always improves. On day one in a small higher-level class where I was much younger than the other students he almost dared me to stay on and learn from the small four-person class environment. In the course we completed graduate level readings and discussions and I evolved from being a timid and hesitant student, unsure how to comprehend the complex readings, into a student willing to struggle and tirelessly work to understand the material and then argue and discuss the nuances of every reading. He teaches every student that studying is not effortless but is always worth it.”
Andrew Dykstra, The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award
Andrew Dykstra earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College. Before joining the Hamilton faculty, he spent two years as the Yates Postdoctoral Fellow at Colorado State University. Dykstra’s research is in dynamical systems and he is especially interested in symbolic dynamics and ergodic theory. He coaches Hamilton’s Mathletics team.
A student nominator wrote, “Through two upper-level mathematics courses and a summer mathematics research project at Hamilton, he has undoubtedly played a critical role in shaping my intellectual development. In doing so, Professor Dykstra has demonstrated that he is an asset to the Hamilton faculty as well as the greater Hamilton community. His dedication to his students, dynamic teaching style, and passion for mathematics illustrate the incredible impact he has already had on Hamilton after only three years.”
Another student referred to Dykstra as “an innovator in the department,” for the new course Partial Differential Equations.
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 significant and positive impact on students.
Heather Buchman, The Class of 1962 Outstanding Teaching Award
Heather Buchman, director of the orchestra and the chamber music program at Hamilton College, is also an internationally recognized solo trombonist.
She completed professional studies in conducting at the Juilliard School. Buchman earned a M.M. in orchestral conducting from the University of Michigan and a B. Mus. degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. Buchman served as principal trombonist of the San Diego Symphony from 1988 to 1997. As a Mellon Curricular Leader at Hamilton Buchman is doing work on the role of creativity and aesthetic fluency in the liberal arts.
A student who nominated her wrote, “Heather has brought the Hamilton College Orchestra to an unprecedented level of talent and finesse in its recent performances; the orchestra that I joined my freshman year could not have fathomed playing Stravinsky's Petrushka, Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, or Sibelius’ 5th Symphony — and yet, we pulled off both within the past year. The Brass Ensemble, too, has made significant improvements.”
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.
Patty Kloidt, The Jerome Gottlieb '64 Fellowship for Exemplary Coaching
Patty Kloidt is in her 10th year as the head women’s lacrosse coach at Hamilton College. Kloidt guided the program to its first NCAA Division III title in 2008, and her record is 131-33 (.799 winning percentage) at Hamilton. The Continentals have reached the postseason every year, including the NCAA championship each of the last five seasons, under Kloidt.
Kloidt led the team to Liberty League regular season titles in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011, and five consecutive league championship crowns from 2007 to 2011.
Kloidt was voted the Division III coach of the year by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) after leading Hamilton to the national title in 2008. She earned New York Region coach of the year honors in 2007 and 2009. Kloidt and her assistants have been voted the Liberty League’s coaching staff of the year four times. Kloidt’s program excels academically as well. Twelve players made the league's all-academic team, and Liz Rave '10 and Sarah Bray '11 were voted to the academic all-district women’s at-large team for the College Division by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Kloidt spent four years as Le Moyne College's head coach before coming to Hamilton. In 2009, she served as an assistant coach for Canada's Senior team that won a bronze medal at the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA) World Cup in Prague, Czech Republic.
Kloidt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Penn State University, where was a four-year varsity letter winner in lacrosse and received Division I all-region honors in 1994. She went on to earn her master’s degree in exercise and sport studies from Smith College in 1998.
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.